Mathematical Miscellany #9

Now on the outstanding Diagnostic Quesions site – United Kingdom Mathematics Trust Quizzes – choose a theme or a quiz with random topics. To use the resources will need to be logged in to Diagnostic Questions. Create an account if you have not already done so as this site with thousands of high quality diagnostic questions and additional analytical features is free and note the reassurance on the site that Diagnostic Questions are giving “you, the teacher in the classroom, a promise that Diagnostic Questions will always remain free.” (See this post for Diagnostic Examination Questions).

aqa-ao3From AQA, on their ‘All About Maths‘ site see their Further Guidance and Practice Questions for the AO2 and AO3 requirements of the new 8300 GCSE. The 120 questions in this resource have been selected from legacy specifications which, to quote AQA “exemplify each of the strands of these Assessment Objectives and would therefore be suitable questions for the new GCSE as well.” AQA have arranged the questions in approximate order of difficulty andhave also divided them into those suitable for Foundation tier only, common to both tiers, and those suitable for Higher tier only, as well as by Assessment Objective. To

Remember fAQA 90 Problemsrom AQA we also have the excellent, GCSE Mathsematics: 90 maths problem  solving questions. These problems have been designed for use in supporting the teaching and learning of mathematics. There is a helpful intruductory section for teachers and note also the helpful Classification Tables by Strategy and by Content Area. Em,  has a brilliant PowerPoint with all the questions and answers – see it here.


Staying with problem solving, on TES Resources cchristian’s Multi-Stage Problem Solving is an excellent resource. These problems could make great starter activities.

Also, remember the GCSE Problem Solving Questions of the Day – Compilation from The White Rose Maths Hub Team, @WRMathsHub available on TES Resources.

White Rose Maths Hub problems

The booklet contains over 50 problem solving questions suitable for KS3 and GCSE classes, answers are also provided. Also from the team, their mastery schemes of learning now includes Year 7 material (UK age 11-12); an assessment is also available.

scooby-mysteryFrom author Captain Loui a TES resource, BIDMAS – Solve a Scooby Doo Mystery! Note that answers are provided in the author’s description of the resource. The theme is engaging but doesn’t get in the way of doing plenty of Mathematics!  Captain Loui’s resources are all free to use and as you can see have very favourable reviews.

Splat - Steve Wyborney

Splat – Steve Wyborney

A resource that caught my eye recently is Steve Wyborney’s Splat! Definitely a resource I wnt to explore further; you can read Steve’s blog post and download the lessons here.

Thursday 2nd March is World Book Day; we could bring books and Mathematics together with some Statistics (at any time); UK readers who remember Statistics coursework, this brings back memories of AQA’s coursework task ‘Read All About It’ where students considered various newspapers and magazines for readability. Note too the launch of a new website, is an international research-based initiative which sets out to explore various aspects of integrating stories reading and writing in mathematics instruction.

AQA - Read All About It

AQA – Read All About It

You may wish to consider readability formulae; if you paste some text to this site, Readability Formulas you can easily check statistics for your chosen text and generate a reading age according to the various tests.

WolframAlpha can be used for Words and Linguistics, note the various examples given, including number names.and document length.

Analyze My Writing

Alternatively, try Analyze My Writing. Simply paste in some text for a comprehensive analysis including basic statistics, word and sentence length and readability. It is also possible to create Cloze tests.  You can read more about this resource on Richard Byrne’s always impressive “Free Technology for Teachers”.

It seems appropriate to check some world records on books!

On the subject of books see the free books information and note in particular Colin Foster’s Instant Maths Ideas – lots of ideas you can try in the classroom.

View more posts in the Mathematical Miscellany Category.

Diagnostic Questions – new features (select image for site)

I have written several posts on this excellent site and it now has a host of wonderful new features.

One can now register your school and students, set them quizzes for which they get feedback and so do you! You can read Craig Barton’s own description of the new features here and note the series of videos with clear instructions on many aspects of the site.

Testing this, all seems to be working well. I uploaded students easily using a spreadsheet as described in Craig’s video “How to add Schools, Teachers and Students”

It is very easy to assign one of the many available quizzes for your students or set them one of your own quizzes. Again, Craig has described the process in a video (it takes seconds to do!)
Standard Form

I thought I would try this with a quiz I created earlier on Standard Form and all worked well. I logged on as a student to test this and did very well! At the end of a quiz the student can review the questions, read explanations by other students and could also download the quiz if they wished.

This is certainly a feature I will be experimenting more with. Happily I have excellent students who like to be given further resources which enable them to help themselves.

Another thank you to Craig Barton and Simon Woodhead for creating and developing this outstanding resource. Talking of further developments Craig tells me that a Quiz Preview function (currently an easy way to preview a quiz is to download a worksheet) and a newly improved Data Quiz page will be available very soon.

Diagnostic Questions

Logs & ExponentialsPlanning some lessons for the week I realised that I will be telling all my students about Craig Barton’s and Simon Woodhead’s wonderful Diagnostic Questions website so thought I would write this week’s post on that (again!). By some amazing coincidence as I started typing – into my inbox comes notification of a new post from Craig! He has been writing lots of lovely new questions and we can look forward to more (thank you so much Craig!).

Diagnostic Questions can make a great start (or any time!) to a sixth form lesson. I will be teaching Year 13 (UK age 17-18) this week about logs and exponentials. The Advanced Pure section has a growing and great selection of questions. Checking Logarithms and Exponentials I think those will do nicely as part of my lesson! As a registered user I was able to create a quiz consisting of all these questions. By creating a quiz one can order the questions exactly as required and also very easily create a PowerPoint slideshow for offline use, alternatively or as well – simply download the pdf version.

I find the easiest way to create quizzes is to use the Instant Quiz Facility which I have written about before; I thought it would be worth putting all the instructions together so created the following slideshow showing how I created the quiz on logs and exponentials. To create a new quiz I make sure that the Instant Quiz has no questions currently in it so have got into the habit of clearing it out once I have created a new quiz. The instructions for doing so are included here.

I created the following PowerPoint:
Logarithms & Exponentials diagnostic questions and to see the pdf version choose this file: Logs & Exponentials Diagnostic Questions. To view the quiz online then follow this link.

Diagnostic Questions – by Year 7

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have used the excellent diagnostic questions site on several occasions and last week set Year 7 the task of writing some diagnostic questions on two topics we have been studying recently – Sequences and Co-ordinates. The questions in the above slideshow were all written by Year 7 students and are typical of their questions.

Not only did they have to write the questions but indicate the correct answer and explain the reasoning behind the multiple choice answers they had given. This proved an excellent homework in that students showed that they really understood the topics and the possible misconceptions that can arise. Some students commented that they had included particular answers because they were typical of the mistakes they or their friends made. I believe that thinking about possible wrong answers has given them a deeper understanding.

I would certainly do this again and have added the idea to the homework ideas page.

Diagnostic Questions revisited

questionsIt was a couple of  weeks ago I wrote about Craig Barton’s and Simon Woodhead’s brilliant Diagnostic Questions site. At the beginning of November I wrote that there were in excess of 1300 questions, just a short time later there are over 1600 questions (September 2014 update – more than 2500) – brilliant! There are some fantastic new questions – do explore all the recent additions.

I have been using this in class, with Year 7 we used some algebra questions; this led to some excellent discussions, not only did we discuss the right answers but all the wrong ones as well. We even decided on some alternative responses that could have been used. I feel a homework coming on here – we’ll write our own questions. Watch this space!
Update: Diagnostic Questions by Year 7.

It is now possible to download a quiz you have created and easily create a PowerPoint slideshow for offline use. I have created a slideshow with instructions:

Diagnostic questions download and create PowerPoint slideshow from Colleen Young

Craig has created this video giving a tour and commentary on the site: