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...


How to build confidence as a mathematics NQT

For many teachers, their year as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) is the most challenging of their career. For some, their first teaching role represents their first ‘real’ full-time job. Others, with more experience outside of teaching, can still struggle with the intensive workload of their new role in the classroom.In my first year of teaching,...


Becoming more adventurous in the mathematics classroom

I have met a wide variety of mathematics teachers throughout my teaching career, all with their own distinct style. Some stick in the memory, for different reasons, whilst others influenced the way I teach.One teacher, let’s call him Graham, was supremely organised. Lessons were planned to the minute, resources laid out on the desk, seating plan...


“When will I ever need to use maths?”

It is the clichéd question every mathematics teacher dreads. In my own teaching I usually answer in a variety of ways, often alluding to the skills required in the world of work. Apart from my own role as a teacher of mathematics, I could usually think of a few examples but soon ran dry of other career choices which used the specific topic at...


Problem solving in mathematics: not such a new thing after all!

Problem solving is a key requirement of the new mathematics curriculum. The assessment objectives for the new mathematics GCSE states that a quarter of the marks at foundation level are awarded for students demonstrating their ability to solve problems, for the higher GCSE paper, the requirement is 30%.But as we all know, problem solving in...


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...


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...


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...


Perfect problem solving with Bojagi

As a mathematics teacher, I like to start the term with some basic number skills with my KS3 groups. This choice is grounded in solid reasoning: check the pupils have got a grasp of the basics before moving on to another topic. Prime factor trees make great display work, and Pascal’s Triangle can have the ‘wow’ factor. But how else can that start-...



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