What are manipulatives and how can they be used in mathematics lessons?

I use interlocking cubes (sometimes known as multilink cubes) in a fairly conventional way - to teach plans, elevations, isometric drawing and volume. Every mathematics department I have ever worked in has had boxes full of them and I am a firm believer that every department in the country owns a set of dice, dominoes and multilink cubes.More...


What do your A level mathematics lessons look like?

When studying for my A levels, especially in mathematics, lessons usually followed a set routine. New information and examples were written up on the board to be copied down, then using the methods presented at the beginning of the lesson, the class set about attempting to solve a series of similar problems from the textbook. Often, this...


As subject leaders, how do you support your colleagues in their individual professional development?

As a mathematics subject leader, I often wonder about the most effective ways to offer support to individual colleagues which will have long term impact. My current favoured approach is to use collaborative projects, based on the Japanese Lesson Model, where teachers are able to plan, teach and evaluate as a team, whilst focusing on their own...


Ideas to make revising mathematics engaging

What did the early Easter mean to you? Time after the break to complete those last couple of topics or an opportunity to start revision sessions early?I am always on the lookout for new ideas to break up the monotony of completing past examination papers. It comes as quite a relief, in a strange kind of way, when we find a common problem or...


Looking for mathematics resources to support your design and technology lessons?

The draft design and technology GCSE subject content document states "Through their work in design and technology students must apply relevant knowledge, skills and understanding from key stage 3 and 4 courses in the sciences and mathematics" and includes specific links to mathematical skills including handling data, graphs, geometry and...


Using games to teach mathematics

Some of the most engaging learning in my classroom comes when playing mathematical games. Concepts fundamental to the lesson are explored while students find playing games both motivating and enjoyable. Often this creates a more relaxed manner, although that depends on how competitive the students in the class are!When introducing a game, I often...


Proportional reasoning

Shoppers "fail to spot cheapest deals"‘Best buy’ questions in mathematics are not new; they have been a staple of GCSE exams for years- so should we be surprised to hear the news that “shoppers fail to spot cheapest deals”?Last week the Money Advice Service revealed that three quarters of customers are overspending at the supermarket thanks to the...


How does the Mastery Approach help progress in mathematics?

How do we know when a child has really understood a new mathematics concept? Is it when they can show a whole page of ticks? Or when they can answer related word problems? Or is it when they get the question right in a test?As an SLE for primary mathematics, I have the luxury of regularly visiting schools in my local area to support in the...


The challenges and benefits of attending mathematics specific CPD

As a head of a large mathematics department, each week I received a huge mail bag, both physical and electronic, much of which contained information about the latest ‘not to be missed’ CPD opportunity. Whilst I intended to read through them all and pass the details to the relevant member of the department, in reality, the majority ended up in a...


How can we develop pupils’ explanations in mathematics?

In my 12 year old son’s eyes I am a failing parent. Why? Because, despite spending many hours standing on the side of a football pitch, I still can’t explain the offside rule. I’ve had it explained to me on many an occasion, even once with the use of Lego figures for concrete modelling, but I still just don’t get it, let alone apply my...



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