Category Archives: Teaching Ideas

Hidden Figures

I have just watched the film Hidden Figures. It tells the story of three African American women mathematicians at NASA—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson—who were instrumental in “doing the math” that allowed John Glenn to be the first American … Continue reading

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Maths Warmups

Many Math Blogs have good ideas for starting a Maths lesson. For example: WODB Would You Rather Always, Sometimes, Never Transum Solve My Maths When I started teaching Maths (37 years ago!) my mentors impressed on me the importance of … Continue reading

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2016 Bring It On

As usual during the summer holidays I get sick of gardening and housework and can’t wait to get back to school. Fortunately, I have 90 Mathematics teaching blogs in my RSS reader. These give me plenty of inspiration, as well as … Continue reading

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Hulk Smash!

How important is a “hook” into a lesson? Imagine this: A teacher runs across the room, jumps in the air and falls to the ground with his fists punching the floor, yelling “hulk smash”. For greater effect he would have … Continue reading

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If Solving Simultaneous Equations with Matrices is the Headache…

I really struggle to think of catchy headings – so I stole this one from Dan Meyer! My Year 10’s are currently learning Matrices – operations, determinants, inverse matrices, etc. Because this group of students “loves” forming groups and solving … Continue reading

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Emotional Blackmail Backfires

I tried a new strategy to try to motivate my Year 9 Maths class. It went like this: 1. Friday morning. I meet my year 9’s at the door. As usual there are stragglers. 2. I tell the class that … Continue reading

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Spaced Practice and Mathematics

There is plenty of support for the notion that spaced practice will help consolidate information into long term memory. For example John Hattie’s work where it ranks 12th in his table of effect sizes with a value of 0.71.   So … Continue reading

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SWPB and Yu-Gi-Oh Cards

Schools are generally much more positive environments than they used to be. Our school community (including students, teachers, parents, principal class, cleaners and visitors) has many opportunities for positive, constructive interaction. 6:1 Our aim is a ratio of six positives … Continue reading

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Garden Design

I love watching students get absorbed in a creative design task. As a Maths teacher this is satisfying for a number of reasons: 1. A rich task naturally differentiates; their are multiple entry and exit points 2. Creating is on … Continue reading

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You can have your Maths Cake and eat it too!

My year 8’s are just finishing a unit on ratio. Their assignment included working out ingredients needed to make a “Harriet Hedgehog” and a “Calculator” cake. You can check out the assignment at hermathness. I added an extra ingredient (excuse … Continue reading

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