Mathematical Miscellany #40

Jonny Griffiths Further RISPS

Jonny Griffiths investigative activities for the pure A Level Mathematics classroom are well known (details are included in the A Level resources pages, see RISPS.  He has now published Further Risps, forty rich tasks for the pure Further Mathematics classroom. In these unusual times Jonny has generously made the pdf version available free from

Two editions are available – a hard copy or pdf versionThe pdf not only provides the forty problems but also full teachers notes for each. The notes for each task begin with the topic or topics covered, identify the type of task, for example, introductory and state any preliminary knowledge required. This is a valuable resource for teaching Further Mathematics.

Investigating the first Risp on Matrices at the session this certainly would help students with fluency in finding the determinant of a matrix. Rich tasks like this can provide students with a greater understanding than just a traditional exercise and will hopefully stick for longer!

This has been added to the Teaching Resources section, part of the Further Maths series of pages.

Perhaps a good time to remind readers of all the Risp activities available.

From Jonny Griffiths try RISPS (Rich Starting Points), Open-ended investigative activities for the A Level Pure Mathematics classroom. On the home page  note the helpful index by topic, choose a personal favourite of mine, Risp 21 Advanced Arithmagons for example and you will see not only the task but also teachers notes.

Also from Jonny Griffiths his companion sites on Statistics and Carom-Maths -activities to bridge the gap between A Level and University. Have a look at Carom-Maths -activities for any of your students going on to study Mathematics at University this year.

You can find a resource collection  from Jonny Griffiths on TES Resources.

Making Statistics Vital has some tasks which could be excellent for the current A Level specification, look at the this task on World Wide Statistics for example which includes the task with answers and a spreadsheet with data for 191 countries.

Making Statistics Vital

On the subject of Transition, this time from GCSE to A Level, Colin Hegarty is releasing free lessons recorded on YouTube (and live daily) to help students prepare for A Level, Mathematics.

The announcement here was made on 22nd April, the live lesson was broadcast at 2pm that same day.
Hegarty A Level

ALutwyche InequalitiesRegular readers will know that one of my favourite TES resource authors is Andy Lutwyche, Andy has added more resources recently, have a look at his latest, always high quality resources. So many good resources – I’ll definitely be using these!

Same or Different?
Robert Kaplinsky shared ‘Same or Different’ from Brian Bushart.

What is the same what is different

Brian Bushart has created the site Same or Different which is for supporting mathematical argument in the elementary grades. Have a look, at the About page for further information on the Same or Different? routine

Set GameOne of the comments to the above tweet on Same or Different referred to the Set Game, I had the same thought when seeing images such as the triangles on the left above. The Set Game is a daily puzzle from The New York TimesHow many sets can you find? Click ‘How to play’ for the rules.

Perhaps a good exercise for all our students at home.

CPDI have mentioned CPD in posts recently, Hannah (@missradders)  has helpfully shared her latest padlet which has many resources for free CPD for teachers.

Back to school at home…

Some UK schools returned to work last week, for others it will be tomorrow, so perhaps a good time to remind readers of what is on offer to support home learning.
(See also Mathematical Miscellany #39, Maths At Home – Nrich, A Level Mathematics, have you seen…?, Bring on the Maths).

White Rose

White Rose Home Learning

Maths Genie
Maths Genie QuizA favourite site with many students is Maths Genie, launched on Tuesday 14th April, Maths Genie is providing Home School Support for students covering a range of abilities in three streams from Key Stage 3 (and high ability Key Stage 2) to high ability Key Stage 4. The resources are available now, see the Maths Genie Home Learning – You Tube Channel. Videos are available on YouTube and at the end of each week a recap lesson, and a mini online assessment are available from Maths Genie’s Maths Grader. (@mathsgrader on Twitter)


Venn Paint – Transum Mathematics


I have often mentioned Transum for its high quality, attractive resources. Given that there are an extensive number of self-marking exercises available, this can be a great source of activities for students to work on at home.

Have a look at these factor tree puzzles and note the tabs with the different exercises available.


Transum – Topic Index

The Transum site is easy to navigate, there is a clear Topic Index for Teachers also, for students a Maths Map with numerous activities to support their learning.
Transum Maths Map

Chalkdust Magazine

A good time to read a magazine perhaps, Chalkdust Issue 11 has just been released. You could find out how to cheat at cards with Kevin Houston, take a look at space-filling curves, find out about Weirdonacci numbers, or win goodies with the Prize crossnumber and much more. An entertaining read for curious mathematicians.  Chalkdust has readers of all ages and mathematical backgrounds, in their description for writers they suggest that articles should not be too difficult for an enthusiastic first year undergraduate to understand (but the starting level can be much lower than this).

…and two reminders for this coming week

From 20th April, ResearchEdhome promises us some wonderful cpd, beginning with Daniel Willingham.

For any of your students studying Physics, Warwick University are launching their Physics A-level Journal Club.

Mathematical Miscellany #39

I have often mentioned STEM Learning resources, we have their excellent selections for A Level such as the marking activities such as the one illustrated here many of which I have used successfully in class. This is one of Susan Wall’s resources; her excellent resources can be found in this Active A Level Mathematics collection on STEM Learning. ‘Marking’ is one of the many hand-picked resources by topic for Advanced Level. To quote STEM Learning “Each resource has been hand-picked to cover key subject content in Pure, Mechanics and Statistics, as well as meet the overarching themes of mathematical argument, language, proof, problem-solving and modelling.”

We also have resource collections for younger students, KS3 and 4.

STEM Learning - Home LearningSTEM Learning now have Home learning activities for families with resources to support primary students and for Secondary students, Maths, Science, Computing, DT and Post 16 resources are available.

STEM Learning - Maths Calendar

STEM Learning – Maths Calendar

Looking at Secondary Maths, we see a collection of games, activities and puzzles that can be used to support children’s mathematical education from home. This attractive calendar links to resources for each day of the term; follow the guide, or choose appropriate activities. No account is required for the home learning resources linked to on the Maths Calendar.

For teachers, below the calendar you will see resources including a section on STEM resources and NRICH activities where STEM Learning and NRICH have teamed up to link favourite activities from the NRICH website with resources on the STEM Learning website.

ComanwebGraham Colman is publishing 4 questions a day, with answers provided in his Easter 2020 collection. As you can see he has provided an easier GCSE question, a harder GCSE question, “something interesting” and one A level question.

And watch this space, for we have coming soon …

A favourite site with many students is Maths Genie. Launching after Easter, from Tuesday 14th April, Maths Genie will be providing Home School Support for students covering a range of abilities in three streams from Key Stage 3 (and high ability Key Stage 2) to high ability Key Stage 4. A provisional timetable is available now and you can see from the description on Maths Genie, the careful structure which will be provided:  

It is important that students continue to learn when the schools are closed. In order to support home learning, after Easter (April 14) Maths Genie Home School will be launching. This will be a structured set of lessons to revise learning from school as well as introducing some new content. Each school day at 10.30 am a video will be launched to explain a maths topic and provide practice questions. Videos will premiere on YouTube and will be available on this website immediately after. At the end of each week there will be a recap lesson, and a mini online assessment from Maths Grader.

From 20th April, BBC Bitesize will be supporting students learning at home. Regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects will be provided in an expanded version of the BBC Bitesize website and also on special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.

From 20th April, ResearchEdhome promises us some wonderful cpd, beginning with Daniel Willingham.

For any of your students studying Physics, Warwick University are launching their Physics A-level Journal Club.


Time for some games…

Following on from my recent recommendation of the wonderful collection of activities,  Maths At Home from Nrich, have a look also at their collection of games and activities. These are designed for use with tablets or computers.

Perhaps try some pencil and paper games as an alternative to screens.

Pencil and Paper Games

Pencil and Paper

The site Pencil and Paper includes some topological and number games, all the games can be played with pencil and paper, though many of the games can be played online if you wish.

Daisy (NRICH)
daisy nrichPlay on paper or use the online version.

The winner is the player who shades the last petal.


Noughts and crosses or try Endless Noughts and crosses from Nrich
The classic Game – if you go first can you ensure that you win?
Noughts and Crosses – Strategy
Note also these games from Nrich, try Online, Fifteen and Jam try these in the order given. What do you notice about the strategies for these games?

Odd Tic Tac (noughts and crosses variant) (NRICH)

Square It (NRICH game)  Also known as ‘Boxes
Players take it in turns to click on a dot on the grid – first player’s dots will be red and the second player’s (or computer’s) will be blue. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined by straight lines to form a square.
Note you can click ‘Full Screen Version’

SproutsTry playing Sprouts, another game where all you need is pencil and paper. See this article from Nrich ‘Sprouts Explained’


Perton Maths Egg Challenge

Perton Maths – Egg Challenge 1

Perton Maths Department are great for providing seasonal challenges and this Easter is no exception, see Challenges 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Maths At Home – Nrich

Have you seen these wonderful collections from Nrich?
See also – Coronavirus Update: How NRICH Can Help You

Nrich have just published new features for Primary and Secondary. Both have numerous activities students can work on at home. The activities are categorised by age and within each collection you will find activities in various categories which are fully explained in the article for teachers

Nrich CryptarithmsIf we look at Just Jottings for ages 11-14 we can see Cryptarithms, an activity I mentioned in a recent post, I like the idea here that students get away from the screen and just jot those thoughts down using pencil and paper. There are 6 such activities in this section.

Nrich making a difference

Nrich – Making a Difference

There is so much here, do explore these brilliant collections – thank you Nrich.