Holiday Time

Looking back over some previous posts, I thought I would check and update some holiday-themed posts.

An Italian holiday included a visit to the wonderful National Cinema Museum in Turin – see the Mathematics in the Movies post.

Milan Cathedral – photo by Sophie Young

Visiting Milan and wandering around the lovely Cathedral (one of the largest in Europe) I was struck by the geometry all around!

Some interesting sites on Mathematics and architecture:

From Maths Careers, see Interesting Buildings Based on Mathematics and from Tripbase, 9 Most Mathematically Interesting Buildings in the World.

The Tripbase article includes the cathedral in Barcelona Designed by Antoni Gaudi. 

Barcelona - Cathedral
Barcelona – Cathedral – photo by David Young

For some further reading Plus Magazine has an article on Perfect buildings: the maths of modern architecture by Marianne Freiberger.

WolframAlpha can be used for information on buildings. Note the different types of queries possible – simply type in the name of a building for information, for example, see Eiffel Tower or enter two buildings for a comparison. It is also possible to look up properties of buildingsdid you know that the Empire State Building has 102 floors?!

A great resource on TES for when we get back to school is Laura Wilson’s Plans and Elevations, a PowerPoint of images showing the plans and elevations of some famous buildings.

Holiday Pictures

All photographs by David Young, taken in the attic space of the Casa Milà Barcelona a building designed by Antoni Gaudí, constructed between 1906 and 1910.

cosh x Desmos image

Imaginary Exhibition


I do like to keep my eye open for mathematical pictures (Tetrahedral Numbers on Mathisfun), hence:

Neuwied Schloss cannons Photograph by David Young
Neuwied Schloss Cannons –  Photograph by David Young

PhET Simulations – Algebra

Algebra - Area model

Area Algebra Model – PhET Simulations

A new simulation in the excellent HTML5 collection – from PhET Interactive Simulations, we have Area Model Algebra, this is very simple to use. Rectangles of various sizes can be built showing the relationship between multiplication and area.

Also new in the collection, I like both Area Model Decimals and the Equality Explorer series.

Area Model - Decimals - PhET Simulations

Area Model Decimals – PhET Simulations

Equality Explorer - PhET SIMS

Equality Explorer – PhET Simulations


The ability to display or hide the variable and to take snapshots means working can be clearly shown.

Equality Explorer 2 - PhET SIMS

Equality Explorer – PhET Simulations

I have included a PhET Simulations page in the Lesson Planning series which notes several favourites I have used many times in the classroom.


ATM Resources

From the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, comes a wonderful range of resources.
15000 Thank YouPublications include activities for students of all ages. As a thank you for reaching 15000+ Twitter followers ATM have created a FREE open access 43-page resource document. This offers a brilliant collection of ideas and activities.

Looking at the contents we see ideas for the youngest students through to Advanced Level students.

ATM aims to develop a creative and thinking approach in mathematics learners which is evident from its publications. Many free Open Resources are provided on ATM’s website and all publications can be found in the shop.

ATM Thank You Contents

I do like explorations with Geoboards, so headed for Pentagon Areas by Geoff Faux (page 9).

Pentagon Areas

Pentagon Areas – Geoff Faux

I can stay with square dot grids and try Overlaps from Preparing for GCSE Problem Solving.

I do like ATM publications and have successfully tried many of the ideas in the classroom over a long teaching career. I used Points of Departure in the 80s and I’m still using it today!

Do explore this collection and also the Open Resources. For many more problems to explore, try Question of the Week for example.

For some discussion on two problems from Eight Days a Week, have a look at this Twitter chat. (#beingmathematical)

We have much to explore! Thank you ATM!

End of term…

The end of term approaches, so time for the usual complete check and update for the End of Term Activities page.

I will, as usual, be using this great Summer Relay from Chris Smith; students can have a more informal lesson but still do some useful maths! See the complete set Relays from Chris Smith. 

If your students have their own devices, don’t forget all the excellent free apps available. Note MEI’s Sumaze for example, or from Naoki Inaba we have Area Maze.

For many more ideas including pencil and paper games, see the updated End of term activities page.


Nrich – Sprouts

Area Maze

Area Maze

Perhaps try some of Clarissa Grandi’s wonderful, fully resourced mathematical Art lessons.

Artful Maths

Clarissa Grandi – Artful Maths

For more end of term activities, see the End of Term Activities page.