Solving Equations

When I looked at the course outline for my S3 class and saw the next topic was solving equations and inequations, I was not excited.

Not because I hate the topic but this is my third year teaching this class and I have exhausted all my activities and games and know that the class are quite competent when solving linear equations.

Earlier in the year, the class learned about expanding double brackets so I decided to have them solve equations involving double brackets.

After a few lessons working through questions independently I began to spot that some pupils were having difficulties identifying where they had made an error in order to correct any mistakes.

So here is the lesson from today: Continue reading

How to be a better teacher?

This week has been a particularly tough week with my S2 class. There are 28 pupils in the class and there is a group of 8 pupils who dominate the class with low level poor behaviour and general disruption.

Normally I feel like I can handle this but on Monday it all came to a head. The group of pupils would not settle and it was impossible to start the lesson. Two pupils were sent out of class but the rest were so disruptive. At the end of the lesson I felt exhausted. Reflecting on the lesson my biggest regret was that the other 20 pupils in the class, who are so well behaved, were let down by me. I wasn’t giving them the lesson, the time and attention they deserved.

What to do about this? Continue reading

Reality Check

I read a blog post this week about “Why Twitter isn’t representative of teaching but Secret Teacher isn’t either”

It really got me thinking. When I read through my Twitter feed there are many tweets about great lessons, activities and positivity. And while there are some about workload and stress, the majority leans to the positive side. On the other hand, I am constantly hearing negative stories about teachers and teaching in the press.

So what is true for me?

I have been teaching for almost 12 years now and I feel that this year has been one of the toughest yet. Continue reading

Simultaneous Equations War

My S3 class have been learning how to solve simultaneous equations by elimination this week.

I set this problem for the class:


While this is not the most realistic of problems, it allowed the pupils to consider solutions in a familiar context. There were a few different methods used. Most tried trial and error but a few started with 20 chickens 80 legs and 1 pig 4 legs then adjusted the number of chickens until there were 30 heads.

After practicing the mechanics of solving simultaneous equations by elimination a few in the class were asking if next lesson we could do something more fun.

I wanted to provide an activity that would allow pupils to work together in a fun way that still allowed each pupil to practice solving simultaneous equations as an individual.

So I declared WAR! Continue reading

The Straight Line

In Higher maths, pupils have to be able to find the equation of altitudes, medians and perpendicular bisectors. Previously I have taught each different type of line over three different lessons then spending some time on mixed questions afterwards.

However, this term I have been trying to build in more interleaved practice into my lessons, where appropriate. So rather than teach my pupils about the three types of line separately, we tackled them altogether.

Here is my lesson:

It started with the pupils drawing a triangle and marking on an altitude, median and perpendicular bisector and annotating the diagram with the properties of each line. Continue reading