This week – no.5

This week was a slightly short week with us having Friday off as part of our February break. Although I did have reports due, a PT meeting on Wednesday morning, a staff meeting after work on Wednesday and study club after school on Thursday so I was kept busy and it felt like I had worked a full week.

Here’s what my classes were doing this week.

S2 – this week we were focussing on expanding single brackets. As a review from last week I set this as the starter.

brackets start

I was interested to see what answers the class came up with for Q5. Most came up with 4(5x – 3) which bodes well for when we look at factorising although I was hoping that someone might come up with a total unexpected answer. We then explored how to expand brackets and simplify. As I thought, most understood the concept but did make errors with negative numbers. Some completed this settler task from


whilst others worked on these problems from Don Steward.

These problems from Don Steward provided a great level of challenge for those who were confident with the basic problems.

S3 – we completed our work with substitution with this lovely challenge from CIMT.


It did take a while for most of the class to buy into the activity and to have the confidence that they could actually produce solutions. We then moved onto expanding single brackets. The pupils would have done this in S2 but they struggle to recall most previous work so we are having a recap. The focus for the rest of the week was simply expanding single brackets and this was probably their favourite task of the week.

brackets match

They had to match the question to the answer at the bottom. I deliberately left some blank for the class to fill in themselves. A copy of the sheet can be found here.

N5 – we were solving trigonometric equations this week. We started by looking at the graphs and exploring why there was more than one answer when solving something like sinx = 0.5. The class then practiced solving equations with positive and negative values before moving on to solving equations that required rearranging first. I know it can be controversial but I did use the CAST diagram as a method for finding the required angles. Hopefully though the class understood how it relates to the graphs of the trig functions. One activity we used was my Red Amber Green task cards. A copy can be found here.

This task allowed all pupils to work on an appropriate level of question with some completing more green questions whilst others completed only red questions.

Higher – we started looking at the equation of a circle. The first task the pupils completed was this sheet from

This provided a perfect introduction using the equation of a circle. We also looked at the general form for the equation of a circle and spent a few periods solving exam style questions. I did make a bad mistake though. After going through an example of intersecting lines and circles I set the class a few questions from the textbook without really checking the questions first. The first problem ended up being far trickier than the example I had done and meant that those weaker pupils really struggled and lost all confidence with the work they were doing. I usually check the questions first but had completely forgotten in this instance.

S1 Numeracy – this was a lovely little task this week. We explored digital roots.

The pupils engaged well with it and were very keen to share any patterns they found. It also provided great discussion with the circle diagrams as to why some had the same design.


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