1001 Math Problems 'Taught right, every maths pupil could be a Countdown winner' In 1997, James Martin, a quietly unassuming Oxford maths PhD, entered television gameshow folklore with his stunning solution to a maths problem on Countdown. The challenge: make 952 using the numbers 100, 75, 50, 25, 3 and 6. You may use the four standard operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Oh, and you have 30 seconds. James' solution has made it on to YouTube – well worth four minutes of your time: The clip is television gold. We’re all thinking the same thing. Most people can get to 954 easily enough: 106 x 3 = 318 318 x 3 = 954 The brilliance of James’s solution is in how he negotiates the excess of 2: 100 + 6 = 106 106 x 3 = 318 318 x 75 = 23,850 (this is where Carol loses the plot – numbers this high are very rarely seen on the show) 23,850 - 50 = 23,800 (Carol is completely hysterical by now) 23,800 / 25 = 952 Looks pretty remarkable, right? If you watch the clip closely, you’ll notice that James does not actually know the value of 318 x 75.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Challenge from Will Shortz and NPR On Sunday morning, Nancy Swank tweeted me a link to a puzzle on NPR's website. This shouldn't come as a surprise because Nancy is the entire reason why NPR spent an entire day in my classroom in 2014. I followed the link and started reading the puzzle. Within about a minute, I knew I HAD to do this puzzle with my students this week. Here's the link to the puzzle from NPR so you can check it out yourself. I'm naming this puzzle the "5-4-3-2-1 Challenge." In the same style as my 2016 Challenge Posters, I made a set of 5-4-3-2-1 Challenge Posters. Since the challenge is to find as many numbers from 1 to 40 as possible, I designed the posters to hold the solutions to 10 numbers each. To help students solve this puzzle, I decided to design a template for students to slide into their dry erase pockets. The cheapest way to get dry erase pockets for your classroom is to search Amazon for "shop ticket holders (affiliate link)." So, I came up with this:
Maths Starter / Pos Mathemateg MondayLlun TuesdayMawrth WednesdayMercher ThursdayIau FridayGwener SaturdaySadwrn SundaySul 1MonLlun 2TueMaw 3WedMer 4ThuIau 5FriGwe 6SatSad 7SunSul 8MonLlun 9TueMaw 10WedMer 11ThuIau 12FriGwe 13SatSad 14SunSul 15MonLlun 16TueMaw 17WedMer 18ThuIau 19FriGwe 20SatSad 21SunSul 22MonLlun 23TueMaw 24WedMer 25ThuIau 26FriGwe 27SatSad 28SunSul Maths Starter / Pos Mathemateg MondayLlun TuesdayMawrth WednesdayMercher ThursdayIau FridayGwener SaturdaySadwrn SundaySul 1MonLlun 2TueMaw 3WedMer 4ThuIau 5FriGwe 6SatSad 7SunSul 8MonLlun 9TueMaw 10WedMer 11ThuIau 12FriGwe 13SatSad 14SunSul 15MonLlun 16TueMaw 17WedMer 18ThuIau 19FriGwe 20SatSad 21SunSul 22MonLlun 23TueMaw 24WedMer 25ThuIau 26FriGwe 27SatSad 28SunSul
Maths Starter / Pos Mathemateg MondayLlun TuesdayMawrth WednesdayMercher ThursdayIau FridayGwener SaturdaySadwrn SundaySul 1MonLlun 2TueMaw 3WedMer 4ThuIau 5FriGwe 6SatSad 7SunSul 8MonLlun 9TueMaw 10WedMer 11ThuIau 12FriGwe 13SatSad 14SunSul 15MonLlun 16TueMaw 17WedMer 18ThuIau 19FriGwe 20SatSad 21SunSul 22MonLlun 23TueMaw 24WedMer 25ThuIau 26FriGwe 27SatSad 28SunSul BrainBashers : Puzzles and Brain Teasers 5 Maths Gems #38 Hello and welcome to my 38th gems post. This is where I share five teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter. As teachers start making plans and preparing resources for September, there's been a flurry of inspiring ideas on Twitter - I can barely keep up! 1. Tessellation It's quite rare that there's exciting news in the world of mathematics, but we've recently seen the discovery of a new type of tessellating pentagon. I like teaching tessellation - it follows nicely from polygon angles. I've never seen tessellation animations before so thanks to @MathsMastery for sharing these, I'll use them the next time I teach tessellation. 2. There's been lots of tweets and posts about displays this week. I also like this growth mindset display from English teacher Rebecca Foster (@TLPMrsF) which is similar to the mindset display that I first wrote about in Gems 3, but would fit on a smaller noticeboard. 3. 4. 5. Lesley Hall (@lhmaths) created a great set of exit tickets that can be found here.
MathsMuggle: Starter Activity - Expression of the Day I have been using Number of the Day (see separate blog here) for some time and found it to be a useful way of regular revisiting a range of basic number skills. I began wondering whether it would be possible to use a similar resource to practise basic algebra skills. The result is Expression of the Day. I haven't had the chance to use this very much yet so it may well get adapted in the coming weeks and months. However, the picture below gives an indication of the kind of questions I might pose to students. As with Number of the Day, the possibilities for differentiation here are almost limitless.
MathsMuggle: Starter activity - Number of the Day I should start this post by explaining that this isn't my idea and I'm afraid that I have no clue where the original idea came from. If you know, I'd be interested to hear from you. My version of Number of the Day has been adapted from something that a colleague showed me about 5 years ago. I find this to be a very effective starter activity for a Maths lesson. The teacher can choose to include all of the questions or just some by ticking the small boxes. For me, the real strength of this activity is the almost endless differentiation. If you'd like to try this starter out for yourself, you can find the PowerPoint file here.
5 Maths Gems #31 Hello and welcome to my 31st gems post. This is where I share some of the best teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter. 1. Ratio tables The new GCSE is going to have an increased focus on proportional reasoning. I enjoyed @MissNorledge's post about using ratio tables for non-calculator conversions. It's a logical way to structure thinking. Miss Norledge helpfully provides a 'Master the Basics' worksheet on ratio tables. This approach can be used for any kind of conversion. 2. 3. I really like the look of Alexander Cameron's (@AlexandeCameron) diagnostic assessments. For more information about Alexander's assessments see his TeachMeet presentation. 4. 5. Thank you to @MrPontinMaths for sharing this and an associated worksheet - 'The Hot Dog Buns Dilemma'. Update If you haven't seen my Pret homework website then do have a look. Did you see the Venn Diagram Subject Knowledge Check I produced ? I'll leave you with this mathematical limerick, shared by @MrBenWard.
5 Maths Gems #30 Hi and welcome to my 30th gems post. This is where I share some of the best teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter. 1. Construction Comics Back in Gems 4 I featured Paul Collins' (@mrprcollins) brilliant comic resources for teaching constructions. In his post he suggests some opportunities to use these resources in the classroom. I haven't taught constructions this year so I've not yet had a chance to use these resources, or the awesome Euclid the Game (featured in Gems 21). I loved the work shared by my namesake Mrs Morgan (@em0rgan) on Twitter this week. 2. Thanks to @OxfordEdMaths for sharing a set of excellent A level assessments for C1 - C4, D1, D2, FP1, FP2, M1, M2, S1 and S2. Speaking of A level resources, do check out the website 0a explains: Calculus (with pics and gifs) -thanks to @mathhombre and @solvemymaths for sharing this. 3. 4. 5. I've seen some lovely activities and questions on Twitter this week. @MathedUp shared this 'Negative numbers code-breaker activity with a twist'.
5 Maths Gems #29 Hello and welcome to my 29th Maths Gems. This is where I share five teaching ideas and resources I've seen on Twitter. 1. Nix the Tricks Videos I've long been a fan of the book Nix the Tricks - I think it should be compulsory reading for all trainee maths teachers. 2. 3. When I teach Year 12 students to use a quadrant when solving trigonometric equations, they (just about!) 4. The website MathsPad has lots of free resources and the rest are available for a small subscription charge. 5. I'm very impressed by the dedication of Chris Smith (@aap03102) and his colleagues who gave up a weekend to run a maths camp for their Sixth Form students. Update I have one more week with my Year 11s and 12s before they start Study Leave. I'm a Year 11 form tutor so there's a lot going on this week (including plenty of cake eating!). If you missed #mathschat on Wednesday then do check out the summary. Events Two days later, on Saturday 27th June, I'm presenting at the MEI Conference in Bath.
5 Maths Gems #28 Hello and welcome to my 28th gems post. This is where I share five teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter. 1. Math Snacks I spotted a tweet from @fawnpnguyen about the website mathsnacks.com. The website's tagline is 'Smart educational animations, mini-games, and interactive tools that help mid-school learners better understand math concepts'. The other animations are also worth a look. 2. Adam Creen (@adamcreen) had a great idea for a related lesson - he produced a Mulholland Graphs activity in which students were asked to produce corrected graphs. 3. Both websites are fantastic for a resourceaholic like me and I look forward to seeing them grow. 4. We now need to teach 'Fibonacci type sequences, quadratic sequences and simple geometric progressions... and other sequences'. I want to start adding resources for new GCSE topics to my libraries so do let me know if you make or find something good.5. #mathsTLP (Twitter Lesson Planning) continues to go really well (read my post about it here).