Archive for the ‘area and volume’ Category

FREE Olympic GCSE Maths lesson – archery and circles

Actually it’s a Paralympic Maths lesson: teach area and circumference of circles in the context of Paralympic Archery. 

Bull’s eye! A KS4 Maths lesson taken from Cisco’s Out of the blocks – Maths and Science series 2012. Click to download (5MB, so be patient…)

Like what you see?  More lessons like this are freely available on ActiveTeach – no login required.


Sherlock Holmes Episode 1 solution…

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Our thanks to everyone who’s taken part in Episode 1 of our Sherlock Holmes competition: The Mystery of the Devil’s Eye!

In Episode 1, Holmes and Watson are called to Harrods by a frantic Inspector Lestrade: the world’s largest Ruby, the Devil’s Eye, has been stolen and he doesn’t know where to go next.  There are just a few cryptic clues that only a master of deduction, and mathematics, could solve…


Are Holmes and Watson being led around by the nose? Click to download updated map.


Our congratulations to this week’s winners: CLASS 10 Set 3 from Sutton Grammar School in Surrey.

Here’s their answer:

If you work out the volume of the ruby; (area of rectangle + area of trapezium) x length

((10 x 3.5) + (7 x 2.5)) x 11 = 577.5 cubic cm.

The Mass is density x volume;     so 4 x 577.5 = 2310 g

If we split the answer 2310 in to 2 parts we got the co-ordinate (23, 10)


{and the thief keeps talking about eyes at the start of the note}

[We also worked out the thief got through Door B;   if you draw the lasers as lines on the graph, all the doors are blocked except B]

We’ll be sending the winners a Sherlock Holmes DVD and a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes in the post! 



And remember, you can join this competition at any time.  There will be six Episodes in total, with a prize to the winner of each one.  You can keep up-to-date with all details of the competition on this page of our blog.

FREE to enter: Help Sherlock Holmes solve the case and win a Prize in the process!

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Quick reminder to teachers: we’ve just launched Episode 1 of our Sherlock Holmes competition, and now’s your chance to help him solve his latest case!

We’re offering a free BBC Sherlock Holmes DVD (the 2010 series) plus a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes to the winner.  Enter on your behalf or with your Maths class – your choice. 

Read Holmes’ case notes and solve the clues:

Episode 1: Help Holmes and Watson solve their first clues, and work out where they must go next! Click to download PDF.

And here’s their map of London: where must Holmes and Watson go next?

Holmes' Handy Map App. Click to download PDF.

Send your solution, along with an explanation of how you worked it out, either by emailing  Or by leaving a comment on this post.

The winner will be chosen at random from all correct answers received by 5pm next Tuesday, 28th September.

Good luck!

Episode 1: Sherlock Holmes Competition – FREE AO3 Maths resource to download

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Episode 1: “Smash ‘n’ Grab”

Solve the mathematical clues in this detective story with your students, and help Holmes and Watson to track down the thief of the World’s largest ruby!

This Autumn term, we’re running a fortnightly competition to give AQA GCSE Maths classes some FREE practice of AO2 and AO3 questions.  Each Episode is presented as a two-page entry from Holmes’ own case notes:

Episode 1: Help Holmes and Watson solve their first clues, and work out where they must go next. Click to download PDF.

And here’s the accompanying worksheet:

Watson's Worksheet. Click to download.

How the Competition Works:

1. Download the full Episode, and the Worksheet, by clicking on the 2 images above.  Print these out for your classroom, or project onto your whiteboard.  They contains the narrative of the story with Maths challenges, testing AO3 problem-solving skills. You may find it helpful to use the map of London, which we published in an earlier post.

2. The solution to the Maths challenges is the next location Holmes and Watson must go to.  Submit your solutions, together with an explanation, either by leaving a comment on this post or by sending an email to  Deadline: 5pm on Tuesday 28th September, 2010. 

3. You can send the solution on your own behalf, or on behalf of your GCSE Maths class.  If the latter, please specify the name of the class.  If you have more than one class, you can make more than one entry.

4. The winning solution will be chosen at random from all correct solutions, and published next Wednesday, 29th September.  We will send this prize to the winner: a DVD of the 2010 BBC Sherlock Holmes series and a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes!

5. There will be six episodes in total – teachers can join this competition at any stage.  There’s no need to register and you can send solutions for as many, or as few, of the Episodes as you want.  You can keep up-to-date with every Episode on this dedicated page of our blog.

Full terms and conditions of the competition can be accessed by clicking here

Final Tip: if you’re a Maths teacher and want to take part in this Competition, you’re strongly advised to subscribe to this blog (which, by the way, is cost-free and spam-free).  This means you’ll get all future Episodes emailed straight to your inbox as they’re published.  To subscribe, just enter your school email address in the box top right of your screen.

New subscribers also receive a FREE copy of our AQA GCSE Middle Sets Student Book: essential reading, especially as some of the clues in later Episodes will be hidden inside it…

World Cup Maths: The Curse of the Jabulani

June 25, 2010 2 comments

As the England.v.Germany match approaches, some of you (or your Maths class) may be worrying about the Jabulani football, which has been creating so many headlines at the World Cup

We’ve put together a poster, explaining why this football is so different to other footballs…  And included some questions about the nets of 3D objects.  These should provide a neat activity for a Functional Maths lesson and help bring these complex issues closer to home (AQA Functional Maths spec Level 2: “recognise and use 2D representations of 3D objects”, p.11) –

Is the Jabulani really so evil? Click to download full pdf.

Well, the World Cup may be over for England by Monday…  If so, we promise to stop blogging so intensively about it!

The World Saucer II – origin of the frisbee!

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Ever wondered how they teach circles in the US?

Here’s a set of activities that’s worth looking at. The UCLA Mathematics Project in California supports teachers with courses and resources.

Leeds teacher Lindsay Wilkinson is team manager for the GB Junior Women's squad

Click here for a PDF called ‘Pluto Platters and Flying Saucers’… you might like to go straight to page 11 for the history of the Frisbie Baking Company!

And closer to home there’s a frisbee champion… (more about Lindsay Wilkinson).

Chelsea style in AQA GCSE Maths – Free functional maths activity!

May 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The BBC, as usual, have great coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show (which is, again as usual, a sell-out event). Arguably the Tatton Flower Show (21 to 25 July this year) is better because it’s more accessible (code for ‘not in London’).

For the budding gardeners among your students, our AQA GCSE Mathematics for Middle Sets Student Book includes this Roof garden activity that will tick some boxes with functional maths.

Roof garden functional maths

Click here  to get a PDF of the two-page spread.

Here are the Teacher Notes to go with it. And the answers!

If you’re already familiar with the AQA Functional Maths spec, this is mostly Level 2: area, perimeter and volume; it needs Level 1 ability to construct geometric diagrams and models. Dig in!