Mathsconf16 – my reflection

Yesterday I attended mathsconf16 at The High School of Glasgow, courtesy of La Salle. I was really looking forward to the day and it did not disappoint. I’m going to try to summarise the day but am sure I won’t do it justice in words.

After an introduction from Mark McCourt @EmathsUK the keynote speech was given by Craig Barton. This was the first time I’d heard Craig speak in person and he sounds exactly like he does on his podcast. Craig spoke about variation theory and how to apply this in class. What interested me most was the idea of reflect, expect, check. I have never done this in a formal way and liked the idea of giving pupils a sheet to record their findings. Continue reading


The week that was (no. 7 & 8)

I missed no. 7 last week due to family commitments so thought I’d combine two weeks together. It’s been a strange two weeks. I missed a few days for the funeral of my grandad and found it quite challenging to be motivated and enthusiastic because of this. However, lessons had to be taught and I tried to do the best I could.

So here’s what my classes have been up to.

  • S2 Block 4 assessment, converting between fractions, decimals and percentages
  • S3 the straight line and fractions
  • N5 Unit 1 assessments and the straight line
  • Advanced Higher integration by parts and first order differential equations

New strategy of the week

When teaching straight line I have always focussed on identifying the gradient and y intercept from the equation of the line, some rearranging required. However, I felt that this became very procedural and pupils only thought of the y intercept as the number at the end rather than relating to the graph. This year I decided to teach gradient and y intercept separately and include the x intercept. We spent a whole lesson on the x and y intercept but rather than do it by rearranging equations we did it by substituting in y = 0 or x = 0 and then writing the coordinate. I am hoping that when we come to working with graphs of quadratics that these pupils will be able to transfer this skill to find y intercept and roots of quadratics more easily.

Moment of the week Continue reading

The week that was (no. 6)

Why is it that just as I feel I am finally making progress with one class, another class starts to fall apart? I have focussed recently on getting my N5 classes into a good working routine and now another class has gone backwards. On the surface they seem to be working away but as I go round the room some are not doing anything, some getting everything wrong and only a few are actually being successful. I am not sure that many of the pupils are making much progress at all. I think I need to go back to the drawing board with them and implement some new strategies.

What have my classes been doing this week? Continue reading

The week that was (no.5)

This week has been a relatively positive week despite being completely exhausted and feeling that my brain wasn’t switched on most of the time.

Here’s what my classes have been doing this week:

  • S2: SDT and Distance Time graphs
  • S3: Equation of a Line and Trigonometry
  • N5: Arcs and Sectors and Volume of Solids
  • AH: Integration using partial fractions and by substitution

Resource of the Week

One of my favourite tasks to do is a sorting task. My S2 class had been working on speed, distance and time calculations but hadn’t yet spent time choosing which formula to use from the question. I collated a selection of word questions and gave them to the pupils in pairs to sort into three categories – Distance Speed Time. Once they had sorted the questions they then answered them. Continue reading

Straight Line Investigation – a bit of a fail

I am going to share a series of lessons that I had with my S3 class this week. I have four 50 minute periods per week with my S3s, who are the middle set out of three. There are 25 pupils in the class with a broad range of maths skills and confidence.

Straight line investigation

The aim of the investigation was for my pupils to consider the relationship between the equation of a line and the gradient and y intercept.

I created a sheet which had 4 questions: Continue reading

The week that was (no. 3)

Week 3 of this year is over already. I’m always amazed how quickly school life settles into a routine after the summer holidays. This week my classes have been working on:

  • S2 Time and Speed Distance Time
  • S3 The Straight Line
  • N5 Algebraic Fractions and Completing the Square
  • AH Parametric Differentiation and Related Rates

This week has brought cake, pancakes, laughs, tears and even more cake. Continue reading