This week – no.6

Monday was a holiday as part of our February break then on Tuesday it was back to work. I always find shorter teaching weeks odd as they feel longer somehow. I had a visit to one of our local primary schools to meet the p7s. I always enjoy seeing primary classes as they are so different to high school classes. One interesting part was that many of the pupils were reluctant to explain how they got an answer, claiming they guessed rather than be willing to talk through their method. Something to watch out for with our new S1s in August.

So here’s what my classes have been doing:

S2 – we were continuing our work with single brackets. To introduce solving equations with a bracket I showed this example with two solutions.

equation bracket

The class spent a few minutes considering how each solution worked and then discussed which method was best. It was interesting to discuss when the second option was better than the first. The class then worked their way through this worksheet.

As a final task involving brackets the class worked on this set of questions from Don Steward.

I really love the way the questions allow a self-check whilst giving a different twist to simply expanding brackets.

S3 – we continued our algebra block with combining expanding a single bracket with simplification. As expected the main issue seemed to be with simplifying involving negative numbers. We then moved on to the theorem of Pythagoras. The class met this in S2 but are revisiting as part of the S3 course. Rather than jumping straight into the theorem we started off exploring areas. After watching a video showing Pythagoras’ theorem with water (link here), we discussed problems like this:

The pupils quickly spotted how to work out the missing length of the triangle using the area of the squares but did need a recap on finding the square root. We then worked through this sheet which I adapted from one I found on TES.

It was great. All the pupils were engaged and accurately completing all the problems. I’ll be interested to see how this initial task transfers to using the theorem of Pythagoras in a more formal way.

N5 – we were working on percentages this week. We quickly looked at appreciation/depreciation and reverse percentages so that most of the time could be spent on mixed practice. I put together a sheet of exam questions and pupils had to decide on what type of question it was before answering.

Higher – we spent a period reviewing solving trigonometric equations as this had been performed poorly in the prelim and we finished our work on the circle. This included finding the equation of a tangent and intersecting circles.

S1 numeracy – this week we worked on this sheet from CIMT.


The pupils really engaged with the darts theme and loved that we had a real dart board to look at. To finish the lesson I took the pupils through the 1089 problem. The pupils were amazed when I asked a pupil to pick up a piece of paper at the back of the room with 1089 written on it.

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