Supermoon Lunar Eclipse September 27th / September 28th

NASA activity tableThe rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse on September 27th / September 28th reminds me of the extensive Mathematics resources available from NASA. The eclipse might inspire you to do a little Lunar Math!

The total eclipse will last one hour and 12 minutes, and will be visible to North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific.

The moon will start going into partial eclipse at 12.07am in the UK. The eclipse will then become total from 1.11am until 2.23am. The eclipse will end entirely at 4.27am. – photographs of the Supermoon eclipse

Top Tools for Learning 2015

Jane Hart has now published her Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015 list, appropriately using Slideshare, one of my own favourites (these presentations are all uploaded to Slideshare) and I see is number 20 in the list of top tools:

I wrote about my own selection recently, it was very hard to choose 10. I thought it would be interesting to see where they came in the list.

Tool   (CY votes) Place in Top 100 2015
Evernote  10
WordPress  8
Google (search)  3
Twitter  1
Slideshare  20
PowerPoint  5
Excel  56
Diigo  42
WolframAlpha  –
Desmos  –

So I am not alone in my choices for most of my favourites; I did not really expect WolframAlpha or Desmos to appear in this particular list but they still get my vote! WolframAlpha is useful for so many subjects – not just Mathematics.

I found it interesting looking at the list, seeing Screencast-O-Matic back in the list at number 27 reminded me to try it again; I downloaded the recorder and it certainly works very easily – now this is not the most exciting video in the world – just a test, but it took just a very short time to record and upload to YouTube:

I have included Screencastomatic is my recommendations for Writing Mathematics Online.

Other reminders for me in this list:

Wallwisher - quadrilaterals


Padlet (29), formerly Wallwisher is such a good idea and I have not used this for a while; Wordle and the other various word cloud generators are another example. Tools to try with Year 7 I think.



Piktochart is a new entry in the list and provides an easy way to create infographics.

Scroll down Jane Hart’s page to see new entries and the big movers up the list.

Long Division & Multiplication – Formal Methods

The UK National Curriculum now specifies that:
Pupils should be taught to:

Year 6 (UK KS2 age 10-11)

  • multiply multi-digit numbers up to 4 digits by a two-digit whole number using the formal written method of long multiplication
  • divide numbers up to 4 digits by a two-digit whole number using the formal written method of long division, and interpret remainders as whole number remainders, fractions, or by rounding, as appropriate for the context
  • divide numbers up to 4 digits by a two-digit number using the formal written method of short division where appropriate, interpreting remainders according to the context

Appendix 1 of the KS2 document includes the examples below and states that “the examples of formal written methods for all four operations illustrate the range of methods that could be taught. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, nor is it intended to show progression in formal written methods. For example, the exact position of intermediate calculations (superscript and subscript digits) will vary depending on the method and format used. For multiplication, some pupils may include an addition symbol when adding partial products. For division, some pupils may include a subtraction symbol when subtracting multiples of the divisor.

NC Formal Long Multiplication
NC Formal Long Multiplication
NC Formal Short & Long Division
NC Formal Short & Long Division

And at KS3 (UK age 11-14) we are reminded that students should be able to “use the four operations, including formal written methods, applied to integers, decimals, proper and improper fractions, and mixed numbers, all both positive and negative”.

The Mathematics documents can all be found on this page.

Mathsonline long multiplication
From MathsOnline, comes a clear step by step demonstration of long multiplication, (uses html). Each step is clearly explained. Long Division is also very clearly illustrated and for your older students we can extend to Algebraic Long Division. Refreshing the page generates a new example each time.
Mathisfun Long DivisionMathisfun explains long division very clearly and additionally offers questions and worksheets. Similar resources are available for Long Multiplication and for Algebraic long division. 

Mathisfun Algebraic Long Division
CIMT Long Multiplication & Division
CIMT Long Multiplication & Division

For examples, exercises and problems try the ever reliable CIMT’s GCSE chapter 6 on the Number System – see Section 6.4.


Thoughts this week …

A compilation post this week.

I am really pleased with my introduction of RAG123 for marking. I will write more fully on this in future but certainly Year 7 seem to have got the idea – 10 minutes into a lesson after discussing some examples –  a little voice – “can we RAG123 that?”

Factorisation - box methodResponding to a query on using the box method I realised an additional example was needed where a common factor could be taken out first. The updated post can be found here; additionally if you just want to direct students to the resource – the slideshow only can be found on Mathematics for Students.


Android App

Desmos on Android

Desmos on Android has had a major upgrade and you can now access your account with all your saved graphs and also create new graphs. Press the three lines in the top left corner to sign in, sync up, and take all of your graphs on the go. (Post on Desmos Apps on Mathematics for Students)

Join the dotsOn the subject of Desmos did you know you can join the dots?!

Corbett's Conundrums

Corbett’s Conundrums

I will be introducing several classes to Mr Corbett’s 5 a day this week, these work so well to keep topics in mind – and note too the 5 a day resources for A Level. A brilliant resource. I’m not sure when Mr Corbett goes to sleep – see also Corbett’s Conundrums!





Some useful notes and tips for students who might need some revision of previous work whilst studying their new courses can be found on Mathematics for Students – Transition Time.

Top 100 ToolsJane Hart of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies is accepting votes from educators for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2016. This list is based on contributions from learning professionals around the world. Voting is open now and will close on Friday 30th September 2016; Jane will reveal the 2016 Top 100 Tools list on Monday 3rd October 2016.

Check out the Top Tools for Learning 10th Anniversary.

Having written several of these compilation posts which I hope are a selection of Maths goodies – I have created a new category – under Mathematical Miscellany you can find all such posts – all have been checked to make sure they are still relevant and up to date.

A Classroom Toolkit

Thinking about some of the daily tools I like to have to hand………..

Calculating FinancesTop of the everyday tools list has to be Desmos and Wolfram Alpha; there are also numerous calculators and resources available; this collection is on Mathematics for students which means students can use anything themselves at home having seen it demonstrated in class. I also like to display definitions, the Reference page on Mathematics for students has very useful dictionaries and glossaries.

An annual job for me is setting up my homework blog. I always put homework details online as well as explaining it in class. I use a blog (which doesn’t turn up in web searches) with a page for each class. I find publishing the details online for students makes me think about explaining it carefully and I can also give any links to resources which may help. None of my students can ever say to me that they didn’t know what the homework was!

I want to easily lay my hands on any of my resources so Evernote is ready to go with a notebook for each class where I can put any resources or ideas / random thoughts using my phone or computer. I was reminded of the wonders of Evernote search recently – I will be looking at Surds with Year 10 – a search on surds in Evernote rapidly returned every resource I had ever created. It also returned any document, specifications for example with the word Surds in it. I want to make sure I tag notes really well this year to make things even simpler to find.

I also us my own blogs! For example I can remind myself of all the Starters I like, Problems & Activities or ways to end lessons, find Rich Tasks….the list goes on! You can see the various page tabs near the top of the blog. Certainly – however you do it, make sure you can rapidly find anything you need so you can really concentrate on thinking about your students’ learning; see Lesson Planning.

Mike Hadden - Random Student

Mike Hadden – Random Student

If you want to make sure that you include all students in your class then some kind of system for choosing students is very useful, for a simple and very effective low-tech way then read Harry Fetcher-Wood’s excellent post and make some lolly sticks cards! Harry’s post includes discussion on the fact that this can be contentious; I think the key is to use this technique when appropriate and be very clear that it is OK to be unsure but good to contribute in some way. I let students know that a suitable response includes a question back to me. Another offline option is to use one of Mike Hadden’s many excellent spreadsheets – look at the ‘Other’ section for the Random Student spreadsheet. You can easily create a spreadsheet for each class.

Random Name Selector - Primary Technology

Random Name Selector – Primary Technology

For an online option this random name selector by John Mclear on Primary Technology will randomly select a name from a list you can easily input. Once you have input a list of names you can then save the list as a link. It is possible to remove a name from the list once it has been chosen.

You can save a list of names so have easy access to lists of all your classes by just having the link somewhere easy to access. Random Name Selector and Countdown Timer Random Name Selector and Countdown Timer has numerous flash templates which allow teachers to create diagrams, activities and games. As with the previous random name selector the resource on also allows you to save a list of your own for easy access later. ClassTools also has an excellent countdown timer which gives you a choice of soundtracks of varying lengths; this is a Flash resource an alternative HTML5 timer where you can add a video and save a link to your customised timer is also available.

stationeryYou may need some specialist paper – coordinate grids, isometric or polar paper for example. See For (Online) Stationery Geeks! I always have a set of whiteboard flipcharts to hand where I already have pages with coordinate grids and any other stationery / background I want.

Whiteboard toolsFor online options check some of the whiteboard tools in the Writing Mathematics Online post including  the interactive whiteboard manipulative from Glencoe  (I came across this in a Google search). Note all the backgrounds and manipulatives available.

For demonstrating ruler and compass constructions look at Bruno Reddy’s lovely Geometry toolbox which can be found on the teachers’ section of his excellent site.

For some fun with crayons try this Crayola colouring application or amuse your students with the writing repeater!

Name card

I will be using my name cards again this year as I found that these really helped me learn the names of my students – collecting the cards at the end of the lesson is a further chance to fix the student names in your head!