Mathematics for Easter

It’s nearly Easter time again, so time for some Mathematical Easter treats!

Mathisfun

Also a post for students – a puzzle from Mathisfun which is just an excuse to solve some simultaneous equations (and how to do it on Excel with the neat MINVERSE function!) The post also includes some notes and examples for students on simultaneous equations.


Transum – Egg Box Investigation

From Transum Mathematics, and perfect for thinking about Systematic Listing Strategies, try this Egg Box Investigation.


From Nrich try How Many Eggs? Or for younger students, Eggs in Baskets.

If we stay with an eggs theme, I do like You Can’t Make an Omelette from these Freedom and Constraints resources.

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Easter Relay – Chris Smith

From Chris Smith, try his great Easter relay and note the whole set. I have used many of these very successfully – have fun whilst doing plenty of Maths!

On Teachit Maths, we have an Easter Chick with Easter Coordinate Pictures and Easter Bunny Race. With Easter Bunny Race, watch a race between the Easter bunnies and determine their speed. I like the questions to check understanding, including some harder questions – watch those units!

Teachit Maths, a (very good value) subscription site offers its collection of activities as pdfs free. I have found many high-quality resources here for all ages, including older students (KS5, 16-18).

Teachit Maths – Easter Bunny Race

Look out for any Easter Challenges from Perton School Maths Department.


MEI Maths post some great problems on Mondays! I think this would be appropriate for lower KS3 students also.


On TES, check these resources:


For older students, a Maths Item of the Month (April 2018) from MEI gives instructions for drawing an Easter egg and then asks students to find the area.

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On the subject of Easter eggs, I must return to this definition. See…
WolframAlpha – a little fun!

Desmos Easter Egg

A simple Easter Egg on Desmos, we have an ellipse and the sine function – note the transformations of the sine function.

Mathematics Revision

1&2 mark questions

Check this great resource from Mr Kingsley, an ideal starter, there are 80 sets of 10 1 and 2 mark questions in this file.

This resource reminded me of some other very useful resources for Retrieval Practice and revision.


Edexcel’s Practice Papers include freely available Foundation Tier one mark questions. There are calculator and non-calculator paper questions and mark schemes from June 2017 through to June 2019 (non-calculator) and to November 2019 for the calculator questions.


Unlimited Edexcel GCSE 1 mark questions

On TES, from salimnore, this Excel spreadsheet generates an endless supply of 1 mark questions with the option to display the answers, making an ideal starter. Two versions are available, you can choose 5 or 10 questions to display.


Transum Refreshing Revision

This Custom Starter from Transum, is one I have featured before, it allows teachers to select the number of questions and the topics to include; scroll down the page and choose the topics you want from the Concept Selection. It is possible to save a particular selection of topics as the URL for your selection will be generated. It is also possible to drag the panels so your questions are displayed in the desired order. The beginning of a lesson can be an ideal time to review previous learning.


Corbett Maths – A Bit of Everything practice papers

On Corbett Maths you will find a complete collection of Practice Papers, note the Revision resources, including A Bit of Everything Papers; the Foundation papers with 116 questions provide very comprehensive syllabus coverage! Each paper includes a contents list with the relevant teaching video.


Mathematics Resources – Ireland

On Saint Patrick’s Day, (check Wolfram Alpha anniversaries and more for March 17th) it seems appropriate to remind readers about Project Maths, an Irish site supporting Mathematics teachers. Looking at the teacher area, many resources are available. Students normally sit the Junior Certificate exam at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education and the traditional Leaving Certificate examination is the terminal examination of post-primary education and is taken when students are typically 17 or 18 years of age. These teacher resources are for this group of students. A site well worth exploring, looking at Algebra we see many excellent resources, including for example under expressions:

The student resources include many activities with accompanying GeoGebra files.

GeoGebra – Absolute Value
GeoGebra – Yellow and Blue Tiles

These whiteboard templates caught my eye, simply download the file, project it onto your whiteboard, use the interactive menu to choose the background you need and start writing!

Whiteboard Templates – Project Maths

Students normally sit the Junior Certificate exam at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education and from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau A Level Equivalents Guide we see that An Irish Leaving Certificate is roughly equal to two-thirds of an A Level and is the main basis upon which places in universities, institutes of technology and colleges of education are allocated.

These qualifications with their very clear mark schemes provide us with another source of very useful examples. Once you have clicked the checkbox to verify that you have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions, you can search for papers and mark schemes by subject. As well as marking notes, an excellent feature of these mark schemes is the model solutions provided.

For example, if we look at the Junior Certificate 2017 higher paper, question 6 is on Venn Diagrams; the mark scheme provides a model solution.

Looking at the 2017 Leaving Certificate paper, I see, for example, differentiation from first principles and De Moivre’s Theorem. Again, model solutions are provided as part of the mark scheme.

Polya – Problem Solving

Zeitz, P., 2007. The art and craft of problem solving. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, p.2

This post was inspired by Robert Euell’s excellent session on Problem Solving with Polya, at The Complete Mathematics Conference, #MathsConf25, March 2021.

Robert discussed teaching problem solving to students and looked at various problems, considering the steps in Polya’s problem solving process. One problem I had not come across before is the above census taker problem, a wonderful problem to illustrate the problem solving process.

This particular version can be seen in these sample pages from The Art and Craft of Problem Solving, the solution is presented here also.

Searching a little further I found further references to this problem and variations – some useful links:

From the University of California, Berkeley see this very useful summary of Polya’s problem-solving techniques – including a summary, in the Polya’s own words, on strategies for attacking problems in mathematics class from the book, How To Solve It, by George Polya, 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1957, ISBN 0-691-08097-6.paragraph

On mathinaction.org we see problems solving strategies, each is illustrated by various examples for younger students. Video Solutions are available to challenges. Problems are suitable for younger students, grade 1 through 6.

University of Waterloo – Problem of the Week

Robert recommended websites that are excellent sources of problems including my own favourites, Underground Mathematics, Open Middle, Jonny Griffith’s RISPS and from The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing; note the Problem of the Week and Problem of the Month.

Talking of Open Middle, I really like this from Tim Brzezinski on Building a distributive property expression. A lovely problem. Try this on GeoGebra.

I would add Nrich to the go-to list, see in particular this Starter Problem Selection, ideal for thinking about the problem solving process as the problems have been chosen because they only make use of simple mathematical concepts, the emphasis in these problems is on thinking rather than knowledge. Also on Nrich you can search on Problem Solving, then filter your search by type, age and challenge level. Note their Guide to Problem Solving and for older students, the Advanced Problem Solving modules for STEP Preparation are excellent.

The Math Contest

For more problems – try The Math Contest. Students from around the world can submit answers.

See Polya on Let us teach guessing.

And to finish … a final play on Mathigon…thinking about that census problem. So pleased I can embed Mathigon activities! This is more of an illustration than an activity.