One of my personal resolutions for the coming year is to carry on with my practice of using resources that students can then refer to or use at home if they wish. Mathematics notes and calculators are a good example of such resources.
To consider an example, early this term with the Further Mathematicians I will be studying matrices and I will let them know the sources of any resources I use in lessons. I use a blog to provide the details of my students’ homework so I can simply add the links to their homework page. Sometimes where there are several useful resources I think maybe of interest to a wider audience I also add a post to Mathematics for Students, see for example, Polar Coordinates. In fact I think I will do that more this year.
To return to matrices, some useful resources include the following:
Obviously we need to keep an eye on the specification when looking at alternative sources of examples but surely that can only be a good thing, particularly for our students who will be off to university in the near future.
This week Year 10 (UK age 14-15) have been exploring different graph types and also transformations and graphs.
For homework I asked them to draw just a small number of graphs by hand but wanted them to check their work and explore further graphs using the Desmos graphing calculator. Early in the week I made sure they could all use Desmos including the use of tables so in an IT room they used the slideshow here and created several graphs of their own.
Once all the students were confident to use Desmos to create various lines and curves I asked them to explore a series of graphs so that this coming week we can discuss transformations and graphs. Using Desmos allowed them to explore many graphs in a short space of time and several students chose to take screenshots and make notes for themselves.
Looking at some videos, it struck me that something like Gaurav Tekriwal’s The magic of Vedic Math would be ideal to tinker with! (These ‘tricks’ can make ideal starters, I have linked to some further videos on this page on Number on Mathematics Starters.)
Below I have given details of some resources I am currently using with my classes or have recommend to my students so they can explore examples further themselves.
Year 12 (age 16-17) I want to talk about quadratic inequalities this week so I thought I’d use the Desmos graphing calculator to draw some pictures! Click on the image for the Desmos page and select ‘projector ‘ mode for display on the interactive whiteboard. Last week a student in this class asked where she could find some additional resources on polynomial division. Note: I use the Desmos calculator so much I have decided it deserves a page of its own here (under Resources).
Year 13 (age 17-18) Some students in a Further Maths class asked for some Polar coordinates resources to support their studies – so a post for them on my blog for students – these resources would also work well on the interactive whiteboard for use in class. As regular readers know I am a great fan of WolframAlpha and use it with all my classes (WolframAlpha now have a paid for service but it is still completely free to use to check answers for an unlimited number of queries, the free use limits step by step solutions to 3 a day). One of this class showed me that he has the WolframAlpha app on his phone.
Year 11 (age 15-16)
My Year 11 group are studying the AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics (a course I am very much enjoying teaching) as well as completing their GCSE course this year. We have been studying calculus and I have found the Desmos graphing calculator very useful to illustrate problems we have been solving. This class have mock examinations coming up and I wanted to recommend some additional resources for them (we have various texts and the AQA support is excellent but the more the better and there is currently no textbook for the course); one site with some very useful resources for some parts of the course such as introductory Calculus is David Smith’s ‘The Maths Teacher.’
Year 8 (age 12-13) I have a Year 8 class this year, none of whom I have taught before, we have been looking at surface area and volume. Math Open Ref has a rather nice animation which helps when looking at the surface area of a cylinder. (More on John Page’s Math Open Ref). I will also use this site when we look at constructions soon. Most had not seen WolframAlpha before so were quite impressed at how easy it is to check working! There are slideshows available for students showing the syntax for a selection of examples on my blog for students.
Manga High seems well known for its games, it is also well worth investigating the excellent Prodigi quizzes available.
Hundreds of these are available offering excellent curriculum coverage. To access the resources select Challenges from the Activities menu.
The search facility offers teachers the opportunity to filter by curriculum area, age, level and whether a calculator is allowed; for example a simple search of Prodigi quizzes on Algebra gives the results as shown below. (A complete list of all quizzes is available here.)
Unlike the available games students cannot see the available Prodigi quizzes unless a teacher sets them as challenges (or you have a subscription). You can view very clear instructions on setting challenges on the Manga High website.