Team Challenges

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept If you are looking for some problems to use for Mathematics Team Challenges in school or just for class activities with a difference which will help develop mathematical skills there are some excellent sources of materials.

The United Kingdom Mathematics Trust have annual team challenges for junior : UK years 8 and 9 (ages 12-14, I have also successfully used these with Year 10) and senior: UK years 11, 12 and 13 (ages 15-18). UKMT publish materials free online for use in school, these can of course be used for all students and make an excellent class activity for individuals or groups. The junior materials can be found here and senior here. I have found the crossnumber puzzles an excellent activity for the end of term, these are crosswords with a difference as lots of the clues depend on other clues! Which clues to solve first?! All materials needed and full instructions are provided. Note the Supervisor’s booklet with answers and instructions; this includes the complete crossword grid and clues. I have used the Group competition and relay race problems very successfully in class.

staircase GVSU challengeAnother great source is Math-Team-Matics – a competition from Grand Valley State University, you can see problems here so you could try any of these activities in class. The individual test has multiple choice questions. I like the look of the 2013 team challenge – a combination of staircases and painted cubes with surface area thrown in as well- I’ll definitely be using that!

Why should I memorize something when I know where to find it?

According to this story, told by Nathan Shaw Einstein said this. Now I am very pleased that I share my own ‘capture everything in such a way that you can find it again’ ideas with Albert Einstein! I have found some resources I really like recently – so the usual question – where to put them so I can find them again?

I mentioned in a recent post that I came across an outstanding resource on Combinatorics questions by Dr Jamie Frost thanks to the TES Mathematics forum; well Dr Frost has now made his excellent enrichment materials available on The Reimann Zeta Club. This clearly belongs on a list! So I added it to the Enrichment list (for lots of lists see the ‘I’m Looking For …‘ page. As well as adding this resource I checked the various links and also added the Brilliant website I have talked about recently.

Thinking about Enrichment, my own view is that this should be a natural part of the curriculum for all students and made me wonder where my Rich Tasks list ends and enrichment list starts (I solved the problem by adding the Rich tasks list to the Enrichment list!) A recent excellent addition to the  Rich tasks list is Jonny Griffiths’ Carom-Maths -activities to bridge the gap between A Level and University.

Staying with the subject of Rich tasks, one of the entries on that list is the list of problems from the National Strategies site to develop mathematical processes and applications; those archives make me a little nervous – will they stay? I decided to create an Evernote shared notebook which lists those resources including links to to the problems on Nrich. Another recent addition to the Rich Tasks list is this excellent interactive from NGfL CYMRU to explore the Painted Cube problem (explained clearly here on Nrich)

I recently read this post by Don Steward and it struck me what a great starter ‘Sum and Product’ would make. I have so many links for starters they have a WordPress blog all to themselves and I have added the Sum and product problem Don describes to the Algebra page there; also new on Mathematics Starters and Plenaries is this link to which has a growing collection of starter activities (added to the Collections page); I particularly like the Bingo resources

Working on an excellent project for TES recently (more on that later) I came across an excellent resource on fractions by Kaszal, the resource is an A5 worksheet consisting of 10 fraction calculations, some of which have mistakes and/or inefficient solutions. Students enjoy marking examples like this and it can lead to some excellent class discussions. I have added this to the Spot the Mistake page under Resources.

Douglas Butler’s comment on my post last week made me realise that I should include Autograph here, so a new Autograph page is now available under resources. (All resources on this site are free to use, I have included Autograph (for graphing, geometry, statistics and probability) here as although it is paid-for software, Autograph viewer and all the excellent resources available on line are completely free to use and do not require the Autograph software to be installed.

See also: Looking for things!