Non-Calculator Skills Part 1

Here are a sample of questions from National 5 exam papers that my current S3 class could face next year.

Now these questions are not that tricky and most would manage them easily with a calculator. However, these questions appear in the non-calculator section of the exam. This is where many pupils trip up. I am always amazed how after such a focus on non calculator skills in S1-3, once we start focussing on algebra, trigonometry, quadratics etc the pupils seem to forget all about written calculations. Continue reading

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Teaching Angles – Part 2

In my last post I wrote about my week of lessons about angles with my S1 class. You can read about it here.

The next focus of our angles work was angles in triangles. We spent a lesson looking at calculating missing angles in scalene, right and isosceles triangles. Most of the questions I set were from a school textbook but for extension I used these sheets from Don Steward. Continue reading

Teaching Angles

Over the past week I have been teaching angles to my S1 class. We are still working on angles but I thought I would share a few of the different ways we have been learning about angles so far.

After a quick discussion about their prior knowledge we took a note about the different types of angles. These covered acute, right, obtuse, straight, reflex and full turn.

I then set the class this challenge: Continue reading

Lesson Fail No. 1

Blog posts I have written previously have focussed on resources I have made, examples of pupil work, activities that were successful and anything else related to teaching and learning (including classroom decorating). The same could be said for Twitter – positive messages to share great things happening in my classroom.

However, not every day is a great day. There are lessons which go wrong for many reasons. Days when I feel like I’m right back at the start and feel completely lost.

It is important to share the lessons that didn’t go to plan, to share days where I’ve struggled just to make it to the end of the day. Teaching is hard. Teaching is demanding. Teaching is learning.  Continue reading

Common Mistakes Wall

mistake 1I was listening to Mr Barton’s Podcast with Doug Lemov as I was driving home this afternoon. If you haven’t listened to this podcast or others then you should as they are the best CPD out there and are so informative and interesting. Here is the link to the podcasts.

During this podcast the issue of common misconceptions that pupils have and how to address them in class arose. Continue reading

Maths Game – 1 to 100 grid

I recently shared on Twitter about a maths game I had played with my Higher class. We were practicing differentiating using the chain rule. This is a game I read about on Twitter previously but cannot remember where from. 

Here is how the game works:

On the whiteboard I put up a 1 to 100 grid as shown below and choose one of the numbers as the winning number, which is written on a piece of paper and hidden away. 


I have a set of questions and answers prepared in advance (and all numbered to help marking).

The pupils, who were working in pairs, take a question and work out the solution. They bring me the solution for checking. If it is correct they get to select a number on the 1 to 100 grid. Then they take another question.

If the pupils answer incorrectly, they take the question back to re try. If still incorrect I will provide a hint.

This continues until all the numbers are taken.


The winning number is then revealed and a small prize awarded to the winners. 

I like this game as the more questions each pair answers correctly the higher the chance of choosing the winning number and I get to check every single question completed by the class. This allows me to see all the common errors and misconceptions. 

This game works well with a relatively small class as it can get quite hectic. I will definitely be using it again. 

It can be used for any topic at all. Here’s an example.