# Opinions

### How to succeed as a non-specialist teacher of mathematics

It may seem a little strange to some people, but as a head of a large mathematics department, I actually looked forward to that time of the year when the timetable had to be constructed.It was like a giant Sudoku puzzle that would takes days, even weeks, to solve. It was a long, tricky process, but I loved it when eventually it all pulled...### The twelve resources of ChristMATHS

The National STEM Learning Centre and Network's Christmas present to you is a collection of the best Christmas-themed mathematics resources to get your students really thinking about mathematics in the festive period. 1. The 12 days of ChristmasHow many presents did ‘my true love’ give altogether in the song? How many French Hens? These, and...### Leading from the front: confessions of a head of mathematics

A clear, strategic approach is essential to becoming a successful head of department.I was once asked by my head teacher what my aspirations for the mathematics department were. I was a bit taken aback. Was he asking how many students will get GCSE grades A* to C? Or maybe what the A level results will look like? I must have looked a little...### Top six resources for primary teachers over Christmas

It’s that time of year again and as we hurtle towards the end of term, I have put together a few ideas to support learning in primary mathematics, science and design and technology in the run-up to Christmas:1. Plan a class partyIn this problem solving activity, children choose and carry out a range of calculations in order to plan a...### Is there a maths for science or is all maths the same?

What is the difference between a histogram and a bar chart? Does a line of best-fit have to be straight or can it be curved? Do all axes have to start at zero? Is it OK to concertina axes on a graph? Is it ever OK to use a ‘calculation triangle’?Ask these questions to a teacher of mathematics and to a teacher of science and you are unlikely...### Back to school: the first lesson

Inevitably, as the summer holidays draw to an end it is time to get busy planning for the upcoming year. As the ‘Back to school’ stationary sales reach their zenith, I’ve been thinking about my first lesson back with a new class.Thinking back to when I was a student, there are only a few first lessons that stand out. In one, the teacher refused to...### Mastery in primary mathematics

The government announced in July that is providing £41m of funding over the next four years to help schools adopt a ‘mastery’ approach to maths teaching. This means that more than 8,000 primary schools in England will be able to join the specialist training programme run through Maths Hubs. So what is mastery? and what might it mean for your...### Water: a calculated resource in mathematics

There are many water-based problems to be found in mathematics classrooms. How many times have you posed questions about filling up water containers, and then matching them with a depth-time graph?Then there is the well-known problem below:Two friends who have an eight-quart jug of water wish to share it evenly. They also have two empty jars...### The problem with problem solving

I believe Albert Einstein was once asked “If you have one hour to save the world, how would you spend that hour?”He replied, “I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it.”When asking 20 mathematics teachers to define problem solving you are likely to get 21 different definitions. In its recent report...### Using GIFs to teach secondary mathematics

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is never truer than when attempting to explain a concept in the mathematics classroom.STEM Associate Joe Bayfield recently asked:“Do you insert GIFs into your PowerPoints?”He argued that GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format- a moving image) can be a powerful tool in science lessons to...## Pages

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