HELM Notes

I have referred to the HELM (Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics) notes many times over the years on this blog. They are referred to on the Notes and Examples page for Further Mathematics as well as in many individual blog posts, for example Mechanics – Dimensional Analysis, Differential Equations, and Further Calculus.

HELM Notes - Basic Algebra

HELM (2008): Workbook 1: Basic Algebra

If you have not come across the HELM Project before, the project was designed to support the mathematical education of engineering students and includes an extensive collection of notes which include very clear worked examples. Whilst the workbooks cover the basic engineering mathematics and statistics teaching for first and second year students in a typical UK undergraduate engineering degree many of the workbooks include content appropriate for A Level Mathematics and particularly, Further Mathematics. For easy access to these resources, the HELM Project Workbooks are hosted by Loughborough University’s Mathematics Learning Support Centre.

Alternatively, the complete set is hosted by the Open University. To access the Open University resources you will need to create an account (easy and free), this will also give you access to the numerous free online courses.

Looking at Loughborough University’s Mathematics Learning Support Centre as well as providing access to the workbooks, we can additionally read about the past, present and future of the resources and see the details of the HELM consortium members and their roles.

You will see from Loughborough’s description that each workbook varies in length from 25 pages to 75 pages (average 50 pages), and includes Mathematics (and Statistics) for engineering simply explained, worked examples, tasks and exercises with answers provided. Note the last workbooks in the series, Workbook 49 is a Student’s Guide and Workbook 50 a Tutor’s Guide.

The Student guide includes a description of the format of the workbooks and a comprehensive list of contents.

HELM - Student Guide

HELM Project – Workbook 49, Student’s Guide

 

 

Resources for Students

Resources

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:

On the AQA website the Teaching and learning resources page for A Level Further Maths includes three online textbooks under the Resources for students heading. For example if I want a worked example of finding the inverse of a 3×3 matrix then we can look at  Chapter 5 of AQA’s Further Pure 4 text. This also has an exercise with the answers at the back if they want additional examples.

The Math Centre

The Math Centre

More sources of notes and examples include Chapter 9 on Matrices and Transformations from the CIMT Further Pure Mathematics A Level material, Just the Mathsthe Math Centre and The HELM Project. If you have not come across the HELM Project before, the project was designed to support the mathematical education of engineering students and includes an extensive collection of notes which include clear worked examples. You can see on the list that a very small number of titles (that you are unlikely to want A Level) are ‘not ready yet’; for the sake of completeness I discovered the complete set hosted by the Open University. To access the Open University resources you will need to create an account (easy and free), this will also give you access to the numerous free online courses.

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.

Matrices is an example of a topic where it can be very useful to check work with WolframAlpha; I have created a new slideshow of Matrix Examples to add to the WolframAlpha slideshow series so we can easily check any work.
The series is on Mathematics for Students also and a post including the matrices resources discussed here has been added also.

Mathcentre

A site I use frequently is mathcentre which was developed by a group from the Universities of Loughborough, Leeds and Coventry, the Maths Stats and OR Network and the Educational Broadcasting Services Trust. See this link for a list of topics. Reading about the news from mathcentre I see there are leaflets available mathcentre  and statstutor showing the range of resources available.

mathcentre - quotient rule

mathcentre – Maths Tutor

Looking at the second page of the mathcentre leaflet, I noticed mathtutor which provides mathcentre resources conveniently structured as a course.  I shall refer my students to that this week, I want them to look at the quotient rule in my absence (I’m very much looking forward to the annual TSM residential workshop at Keele University) and plan to point them in the direction of resources they can use – a flipped approach! (See ‘Prepare ahead‘ here). I’ll see what they have learned on my return.

The mathcentre site includes extensive resources. Many of my students like the quick reference leaflets which are available on numerous topics. There are also teach yourself booklets, revision booklets, videos and diagnostic tests. Resources are available for staff and students. This is a site well worth exploring and recommending to your students.