Archive for the ‘Topical’ 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.


The AV referendum – FREE Maths activity to download!

The Alternative Vote referendum will soon be upon us…  

Exciting for some, dull for others – and a rich source of Maths questions for GCSE classes. 

Download our very own alternative Alternative Vote referendum.  It’s a role play allowing your class to mock up their own referendum, learn about the two different voting systems, and explore the maths behind them.  It’s also a bit of fun and we guarantee it will bring a smile to your students’ faces.

It's about policy not personality... Click to download AV referendum Maths activity.

Here are the Teacher Notes to accompany it…

Click to download Teacher Notes.

The Maths includes percentages, representing data and bias.  The last two topics often perform badly in exams, so don’t lose this opportunity to set your students down the right path!

We’ve also prepared a worksheet and ballot papers for your class. 

Oh, and please tell us how the alternative AV referendum plays out in class?  Which candidate wins under AV?  Which under FPTP?

Here’s what you told us

Last month we conducted a survey of our subscribers to find out what you really think!  After 18 months of blogging, we were curious…

Q. If the blog stopped tomorrow, which of these statements would best describe your attitude? (Tick only one)


Well, that was a relief.  No-one ticked the “Happy – all the email updates annoy me” box.  We’ll do our best to keep it that way.  Thank you for your support.

Q. How long did you read the blog before you subscribed to it? (Tick only one)


This result took us by surprise.  We had no idea the decision to subscribe was taken so quickly.

Q. Before you started this survey, who did you think writes and produces the blog? (Tick all that apply)

This response made us smile.  We can say definitively that we are Longman, which is part of Pearson Education.  Either of those would have been correct, so a majority of you were on the right track.  We are not part of AQA and definitely not Nelson Thornes (greatly though we esteem those organisations)!

Q. If we were to cut down the types of activities we were going to provide on the blog to just four, which of the following types would you want to keep? (Tick four only)

Harder to read this slide, so here’s a summary: the most votes went to “GCSE new-style practice questions and papers”.  We hear you – we’ll keep them coming and make sure we offer all the support we can through the Summer exam season. 

Our topical resources came in as next most popular.  Collectively, there were 42 votes for our topical lesson plans and activities relating to:

  • “…major sporting events” – for example, our World Cup posters last year – 16 votes
  • “…major non-sporting events”, for example our General Election activity last year – 15 votes 
  • “…annual festivals, e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Bonfire Night”, for example our Sherlock Holmes competition last Autumn, episodes of which related to these festivals – 11 votes 

We’ll keep this stuff coming as far as time and tide allow.  For example, to mark the passing of the 500 day milestone and the availability of tickets for sale, we’ll shortly be publishing an Olympics poster.

There was also enthusiasm for the sample pages from our published resources, with 12 votes.  Again, we’ll keep these coming.  The least votes went to our video resources and news updates on AQA specifications and policy.

We asked you to tell us what other kinds of resources you would like to see.  Your answers centred around three types: (i) more exam questions/papers/feedback, (ii) more puzzles, (iii) interactives. 

We hear you.  We’ll do our best.

Q. What are your other sources of topical resources for use in school? (Tick all that apply)

Space doesn’t allow for all the questions, and we promised to keep all individual responses confidential.  But we do want to say a  big  T H A N K   Y O U  to everyone who took part.  Some of your additional feedback was very encouraging: you made especially kind comments about our Middle sets Student Book, about our Sherlock Holmes competition, and about our other free resources.  

Finally, some of you expressed concern that we might start charging for the content on the blog (we asked a few hypothetical question around this).  Don’t be, because we won’t.

With best wishes,

The Maths Team at Longman

Countdown to 2012: your FREE Olympic maths poster!

500 days to go to the big event (actually, 489 days as we write)…

Here’s your free classroom poster, with a map of all the London venues and some Maths activities built in.  These are at GCSE Grade D/C, and Functional Maths Level 2 – covering ratio,  map scales, and distance-speed-time:

Practise some Olympic maths, and help Boris find his bearings... Click to download.

January AQA Functional Maths exam approaching – download FREE practice paper!

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

First of all, welcome back to all our subscribers and readers!  The school year is well and truly underway – we hope you all had a refreshing break, before mayhem was unleashed again?

Here’s something early on the agenda this year: the January sitting of the AQA Functional Maths exam. Don’t let your students be caught out on 26th January: the new Functional Maths exams have proved tricky for the unprepared.

Download a free Level 2 Practice paper:

FREE AQA Functional Maths Practice Exam Paper Level 2. Click to download.

This paper includes all the data sheets at the back in a handily compiled “Data Book”, as will happen in the exam:


Since we at Longman always strive to be helpful, click here for one page of guidance on pre-release of data sheets.  And click here for the mark scheme.

Additional practical papers and  practice questions and guidance and lesson plans – in fact all the tools a teacher needs to teach AQA Functional Maths – can be found at this link.

A very Merry Christmas to all our Subscribers and Readers!

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Season's Greetings from the Maths team at Longman! (Picture shows Broad Street, Oxford. Click to enlarge.)

Here’s a photo we took last Saturday on Broad Street, Oxford, in the midst of a heavy snowfall. Our offices are not (sadly) in this shot – we’re a couple of miles up the road.

Thanks for being part of our blog through 2010.  We’ll be back with you, and blogging again, in early January. Until then, have a lovely Christmas break and our very best wishes for 2011!

The Maths Publishing team at Longman

Sherlock Holmes Christmas Maths Challenge: Episode 6 Solution

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Congratulations to the winners of the 6th and Final Episode of our Sherlock Holmes Maths Competition

Year 10 Set 1 from Canon Palmer School in Essex (Teacher: Ms R Gorschia)

They correctly worked out where Holmes and Watson must rush to defuse Moriarty’s devilish doomsday device…

"Hurry Watson - the weapon's about to fire!" Click to download PDF.


Here’s the full solution to all the clues in Episode 6:

Clue 1: David Boreanz (the actor on the top left of the newspaper clipping) plays the character “Angel” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spin-off series Angel.

Clue 2: The exhibition advertised is at the Laing Gallery, which is in Newcastle.  The artist mentioned, Anthony Gormley, is the artist who designed the Angel of the North.

Clue 3: The main news story refers to Carville Power Station being reopened.  Carville Power Station is in Wallsend, near Newcastle.  The article mentions the power station could provide 25 MW of power: more than the 18 MW required by Moriarty’s EMP in episode 5.

Clue 4: The special offers at the bottom of the newspaper advertised Dan Brown books.  Dan Brown wrote a book called “Angels and Demons”.  Also advertised was a signed Alan Shearer shirt.  Alan Shearer played most of his career at Newcastle United, and a large Alan Shearer shirt was famously draped across the Angel of the North soon after its construction.

Clue 5: Click here to find the full crossword solution.  The full solution provides the number 1201533365.  If you visit the you will find a picture of the Angel of the North.

Clue 6: The first entry in the lonely hearts column refers to looking in maths books for clues.  In Holmes’s case notes he mentions using the Longman AQA GCSE Mathematics Middle Sets book as a clue.  Each pair of numbers in the lonely hearts column refers to a word in this book.  The first number is a page number and the second number is a word number.  So for example the first word is the 13th word on page 242.  The six words spell out WEAPON IN HEAVENLY IMAGE IN GATESHEAD.  A reference to the location of the Angel of the North.

Clue 7: The third lonely hearts advert is from Moriarty!  He asks Holmes to include the code 26435 in his text message when responding.  If you enter these digits in to a text message with predictive text messaging on it will spell out the word ANGEL.

Clue 8: The fourth lonely hearts advert is for an “Outdoorsy Type”.  This advert refers to the Angel of the North, which is constructed from steel and is 12 years old.

Click here for the full solution to Episode 6 in Word format. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this competition – many thanks for taking part, and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!