Getting confident with place value

I thought I would share a bunch of questions I have been using with my low attaining Year 7 class. These guys are pretty good at the process of column addition and subtraction but were not confident with place value such that they could immediately answer a question like this one:

What number is a thousand more than 17407?

I have been dropping one of these into our starters every lesson for the last couple of weeks and they now “get it”.  The next step is to carry over to the next place value, for example:

What number is eighty more than 1843?

We have also tried subtraction, for example:

What number is 500 less than 1935?

Moving on from this I have been using questions like these:

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 12.04.24

These step up in difficulty quite considerably I think.  I will be using ones like the first few and see how they get on before looking at Qu 7 onwards.

You can access these on this Powerpoint slide. Clicking on the boxes reveals the answer beneath.


Trigonometry of obtuse angles

A simple idea to get students working with trig values of angles greater than 90 and less than 0.  The idea is that they use their calculator (to chose sin or sin-¹) and then work with the symmetry of the graph to find the ordinate required. Download the ppt to click on the boxes to reveal answers one at a time.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 17.13.10.png

A decimal investigation

Inspired by playing the excellent Sumaze! 2 game from MEI, here is an investigation that aims to provide some purposeful practice on decimals. The aim is to provide an accessible entry point for all learners with opportunities for depth through generalisation. This slide presentation steps through it although exactly how you move from one part to the next will, of course, depend on the class.

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 20.24.09.png

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 20.24.34.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-19 at 20.24.49.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-19 at 20.25.14.png

I have included solutions in this spreadsheet although I would be hesitant to display them in this form, as I would prefer that the results are found and discussed as we go along rather than just revealing them at the end.

Area of a triangle

I made these questions to hopefully reinforce the idea of area as the space inside a shape, rather than just the answer you get when you multiply numbers together.  Also I want them to see why the area of the triangle is half the area of the rectangle which it is enclosed within.  I made them using this Geogebra file but then pasted a few to make this worksheet, some with grids then some with just lengths.



A colleague of mine @DrPMaths made this impressive collection of triangles with 3 integer side lengths and an integer height.  Again, they are a great way to check that students are identifying the perpendicular height and multiplying that by the base rather than just multiplying the numbers they are presented with.  There are literally hundreds of them, this is a snapshot from somewhere near the beginning!

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 18.29.21.png


Some vector questions

My Year 11 class are currently learning about vectors, a GCSE topic that can be tricky for some.  I’m mostly using the excellent Powerpoint from Dan Walker but also wrote the following questions which I was quite happy with.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 18.59.14.pngThey start off quite easy but have a nice extension into generalisation (Q4) and then geometric reasoning in Q5.  It was good to see my students being able to tackle 1-4 without resorting to drawing anything.  However, I think a drawing is definitely warranted in Q5 as it highlights how to find the area.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 18.52.43.png

A place to start with straight line graphs

Here is a simple set of slides created using Geogebra.  I would normally just do this directly on Geogebra but as I needed to prepare some slides for our department planning, I thought I would share them. I have added some suggestions for how to run these in the notes section

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 16.05.07.png

I want students to make the connection that if the y-value doesn’t change for a bunch of coordinates (in this base the y-value is always 4) then the line that those coordinates all sit on is y=4.  I’ve even made a little GIF where the point deliberately slides off the the right for a little while.  Gotta love a GIF!

Nov-25-2017 16-17-04


Ideas for better maths teaching