Mathematical Advent Calendars

Almost December…it’s that time of year again…!

TeachIt Maths Advent Calendar Dec 1
TeachIt Maths Interactive Advent Calendar

And so to the annual update on Mathematical Advent Calendars. On Teachit Maths their Interactive advent calendar is a free sample resource available to everybody. (Remember that the free subscription on this excellent site includes hundreds of high-quality pdf resources.) Teachit Maths describe the resource as an advent calendar in the form of a presentation focusing mainly on mathematics. Suitable for KS3/4. (KS3/4 is UK age 11-16). For each day you will reveal a festive fact, joke, teaching idea, activity or game.

From Andy Lutwyche we have his Christmas Advent Calendar which covers lots of different topics in number, algebra, shape & space and data and gets progressively more difficult as you go on.

Andy Lutwyche Advent Calendar

Also from Andy, try his Advent Calendar – Solving Linear Equations. Students answer the questions (the solutions are 1 to 24) and each answer links to a word; when the words are put in numerical order an entire joke is revealed! And another…for older students, Differentiation Advent Calendar where students are asked to find the gradient of a curve at a given point. Cheesy joke included!

Andy Lutwyche Advent Calendars
Advent Calendars from Andy Lutwyche
Tom Bennison Integration

Staying with a calculus theme, I used Dr Tom Bennison’s Integration a day Advent Calendar last year and will do so again this year – perfect for year 13.


Also on TES you can find an excellent calendar from Mark Dawes.MD Advent Calendar
This is a lovely resource with over 30 problem-solving tasks for use in maths lessons in December. Suitable for starter activities, they span a range of abilities in KS3 and KS4. As well as the calendar the resource includes worksheets for some of the problems and an Excel file showing the difficulty of the tasks.

I do like Mark’s suggestions for use in class, he has given instructions for manipulating the resource so teachers can choose the problem they want for any day!

KS3 Calendar

For a collection of starters aimed at KS3 students try this Christmas Maths Advent Starter Calendar from MrCsMaths. This provides a nice mix of activities.

JCalderwood revision

J Calderwood has provided three Advent Calendars – Advanced Higher, HIgher and N5 Maths for Scottish Students. A great revision resource which could be adapted for different courses.

Transum Advent
From a favourite site, where you can find so many excellent resources, Transum has an Advent Calendar. Behind each door, you will find a Christmaths activity, laugh at a cracker joke and solve a mathematical word puzzle.
(See this post for more on Transum.)

Mathsvent Calendar 1 Dec

Mathsvent Calendar
Try this Mathsvent Calendar from Phil BruceFor December 1st (Saturday – so I think Friday would be a good day to start on the Advent Calendars!) put the baubles in size order along the tinsel starting with the smallest at the bottom.

Very usefully, you can find all 24 puzzles listed by topic. These puzzles are great, extensions are given for many of the problems too.

Nrich 2019 AdventNrich publishes annual Advent Calendars – one for Primary and one for Secondary. Both feature twenty-four activities, one for each day in the run-up to Christmas. Each secondary activity includes an interactive game or puzzle to explore; similarly all the primary tasks include interactives.

As always from Nrich the calendars are attractively presented and we have the benefit of teachers notes and also solution.
In 2018, secondary students and teachers were encouraged to print off dotty grids and circle templates to help with the advent challenges. The Primary advent calendar focused on activities and games using Dice.

Both Nrich and Plus Magazine have published wonderful collections of Advent resources, clearly, for an Advent Calendar, the year does not matter so we have lots of choices! See for example this whole collection of advent calendars on Nrich, note the different themes available – a Sudoku for each day perhaps? Maybe you want to play a game? The 2016 Primary Calendar featured tasks to encourage mathematical habits of mind something we need to encourage in students of all ages.

From Nrich in 2017 we have a calendar for Primary and one for Secondary each containing twenty-four problem-solving activities, one for each day in the run-up to Christmas. The secondary tasks come from the excellent Short Problems collection.

Nrich Short Problems

Fry & Evans

The Indisputable Santa Mathematical Advent Calendar comes from Dr Hannah Fry and Dr Thomas Oléron Evans who throughout December 2016, to accompany the release of their book on the Mathematics of Christmas, tweeted out Christmathsy bits and pieces, one a day, advent calendar style.

Access Maths Christmas Revision

Alternatively how about a Christmas Revision Calendar from Access Maths? Scroll right down this collection of very helpful GCSE Revision Resources for two Christmas Calendars, one for Foundation and one for Higher, also available are Christmas revision activities.

Linear Programming

A happy discovery recently on Transum, Linear Programming which provides a really easy way for teachers to illustrate several Linear Programming problems. Students could try these as an online activity.

Transum Linear Programming

Transum Mathematics – Linear Programming

I am pleased to see that a reminder of Inequalities is the first activity, something I always start with when teaching Linear Programming. Levels 1 to 5 provide 5 different problems providing very typical linear programming problems and we also have Exam Style Questions. The very generous Free model on Transum allows access to the extensive library of resources including checking answers such as illustrated here;  a subscription additionally provides answers to all of the pupil online exercises such as Exam Questions, quizzes and puzzles as well as additional benefits.

Students are required not just to solve these probems but to interpret solutions to such problems; this post on Mathematics for Students looks at using technology to do just that and includes online utilities and instructions on the use of the Excel Solver. Examination questions are used to illustrate the use of these tools.
Excel Solver

LP Vet Graphical Solution

A version of this post is also available for students on Mathematics for Students. Note the excellent notes and examples on Linear Programming available from CIMT, one of a series of chapters on Discrete Mathematics.


A Level Maths Resources

Following on from last week’s post which included some Advanced Level Mathematcs resources, some more this week with updates to some A Level pages.

Edexcel Teaching & Learning Materials

Edexcel frequently publishes new material, keep an eye on new publications by changing the Sort By filter to ‘Latest’. Published in October 2019 we have a new guide to support for AS and A Level Mathematics. On page 5 there is a really useful list of teacher guides, these are so valuable for teachers and on page 7 another great list – sample, exemplar and past assessment materials; these include model answers – a great teaching resource.

Edexcel Teacher Guides

We now have enhanced content guidance which provides further exemplification of specific areas of the subject content.

A new set of mock papers will be published in January 2020 as well as more practice papers focusing on the new elements of content and new question types introduced in the reformed qualification.

Check all the Teaching and Learning materials where you can filter by content type, also Exam Materials and Specification and Sample Assessments which includes the data set for AS and A Level.

The above information is all included on my updated Edexcel page in the A Level series.  Also updated is the page with sources of worked examples to include weekly A level starters by topic for Year 12 and 13 from Edexcel past papers/specimen papers with mark schemes from @mathstiger70; these resources are included in the Maths Emporium from Edexcel and also available in a Dropbox folderThere are also Excel tracking sheets that print a QLA sheet for the student every 6 weeks.

Two more pages which have been updated are the Calculator pages on Casio’s ClassWiz and graphical calculators, including the CG50.


Edexcel Calculator Guide

From Pearson-Edexcel, one of their excellent guides from the Teaching and Learning Materials collection, we have this guide to using calculators when teaching AS and A level Mathematics. This very clear 5 page document lists specification content for AS and A Level Mathematics and provides video tutorials for a Scientific Calculator (Casio ClassWiz) and a Graphics Calculator (Casio CG50). It includes tutorials on both calculators – ideal for students learning to use these calculators.

Mathematical Miscellany #34

A Level Maths and Further Maths Resources
Jack Brown has over 990 teaching videos for the A Level Mathematics specification on his TLMaths site. There are now more videos for the core content for Further Maths, to date, videos for Proof and Matrices are available. These are included on this page for Further Maths teaching resources.

Desmos New Features
Keep an eye on new features from Desmos, we now have for example, Spearman’s rank coefficient. The data in this example comes from the exam paper, 
MEI S2 January 2006, question 3. Remember that Desmos has many useful and easy to use Statistical functions.
Normal Distribution

MEI Calculator Tasks
For resources using technology for A Level Maths and Further Maths, MEI’s series of tasks are excellent; all the student tasks, whether for Autograph, Casio, Desmos, GeoGebra, or TI-Nspire are structured in the same way, beginning with instructions on the use of the technology, also given are questions, a problem and further tasks. Integrating Technology Into Your Scheme of Work suggests activities aligned to the specification.

Note we now have a recently added collection of Autograph Tasks, currently for A Level Mathematics.  Remember that Autograph is now free, these tasks are helpful for teachers wishing to learn more about Autograph in that clear instructions are given on how to construct the objects in Autograph.

November 5th – Bonfire Night

OCR Bonfire Night

OCR Puzzle

Last week I mentioned Halloween resources from Perton Maths Department and OCR Maths, this week we have Bonfire Night. Check the Perton Maths bar model bonfire challenges and from OCR, check their latest Maths Puzzles including a challenging number grid for Bonfire Night.

Maths Week England – 11th-16th November 2019
Maths Week England aims to “Raise the profile of Mathematics throughout England, you can see the full aims here. Note the various competitions running including a Secondary and Post 16 quiz featuring questions for every age group from Y7 to Y13 and also the resources available. MangaHigh, Sumdog and TimeTables Rockstars are running competitions using their software for all schools whether or not they subscribe and we also have MEI’s Ritangle competition and Desmos Art Competition. All the details are on the Maths Week England competition page.