Mathematical Miscellany #1

Just over three years ago I started writing compilation posts, a kind of newsletter-style – a mix of mathematical goodies. I was inspired by Doug Belshaw’s Thoughts This Week – now Thought Shrapnel. It’s been on my blog to-do list to revisit this idea again; how appropriate that Doug’s Thought Shrapnel today includes newsletters he enjoys. I was very happily distracted by some of these great compilation posts this morning and particularly struck by a post from Doug’s first suggestion Austin Kleon – important for any blogger, What to leave out and what to leave in. Some great quotes there including Elmore Leonard’s:

“Try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”

(Wondering which bits you are all skipping here!)

So I decided it was time for a new title for posts of this kind – hence ‘Mathematical Miscellany’. Previous compilation posts can be found under the category (note the drop down menu on the right for categories) Mathematical Miscellany.

In class
With my Year 10 GCSE class I used some ideas from a site I often use: Mudd Math Fun Facts. Squares Ending in 5 and Multiplication by 11 both made excellent starters, we looked at proofs as well as enjoying the mental Maths tricks! You will find more lightning arithmetic suggestions on the site.

OCR Check In Tests

OCR have published some very useful new resources; I have written before on their Check in tests. New tests for Foundation and Higher have been added. The Higher resources include Triangle mensuration, Language of functions and Algebraic expressions; these really are excellent resources and I will definitely be using all of them.

The GCSE New Content pages are updated regularly, note all the further resources at the end of that page, including from the wonderful Just Maths, GCSE questions by topic.


Published this month we have the KS2 Mathematics 2016 teacher assessment exemplification, and also the KS1 version. Clearly teachers of secondary age children need to know what students are covering in Primary school. These documents have been added to the GCSE New Content page.


If you read just one blog post this week – from 2014, but Tom Sherrington’s 10 Silver Arrows: Ideas to penetrate the armour of ingrained practice is as valid now as it was then. I think these ideas are important for any teacher to reflect on – I’m pleased to see 6, a subject I have often written on (see Mini Tests).

Tests are good.

…and finally
It’s coming up to that time of year again, I see Valentines cards in the shops, save your money and send your loved ones (or anybody!) a math-o-gram!

Click on the image and move that slider!
Click on the image and move that slider!

In what happily seems to have become an annual tradition Desmos have provided you with the means to send a math-o-gram to the mathematicians in your life!
Desmos Valentine instructions

Geeky people you could even use the Desmos API …

Valentine’s Day seems an appropriate time to express love for Desmos!

Elsewhere – express your feelings for WolframAlpha!

I Love YOU

Transum Valentine Puzzle
and here’s a logic starter from Transum for Valentine’s Day!

3 comments on “Mathematical Miscellany #1

  1. I had a look at Geogebra once, but what I wanted to do was to create a real construction program based on Euclid’s ruler and compass approach. Having taught systems engineers for a long time I realized that we apply the maths to the world, but so much of school math avoids this. in particular, the coordinate system and the axes are usually given whereas real math would be “Where shall I put the axes, etc”, in order to make the equations simple.
    I am currently reworking an algebra editor program, with emphasis on algebraic structure, which never allows nonsense combinations of symbols. I’ll send you the link when it has reached some stage of “fitness for purpose”.

  2. I love your Desmos flower. I had a go with Desmos for one of my posts, on harmonics and beat frequencies in music. Desmos was quite easy to get the hang of. Here’s the link:

    I also have written a geometrical construction app(program) which runs in a browser. If you think it’s any good maybe you can add it to one of your lists:

    • Howard I can’t take credit for the flower! It’s one of the Desmos supplied suggestion for the cards – I just chose well!
      I like your use of Desmos for harmonics and beat frequencies in Music.
      Your Geometrical Construction looks interesting. I’ll have a further look. Do you use GeoGebra?

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