## Angle facts- getting the language right

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How many times have you marked a GCSE paper which is a two-pointer where the question asks “find the size of angle x” and then “explain how you worked this out” to find that the pupil got the size of the angle correct but wrote an explanation that didn’t get the second mark? You kind of knew what they meant in their explanation, but the mark scheme was looking for “interior angles in parallel lines are supplementary” rather than “the angles next to the lines add up to 180”.

Here’s a very simple worksheet that I made to teach a lesson on using the correct language to describe angle facts. The idea is that you run through them with the pupils filling in the explanations on the worksheet which they can then use as a reference sheet when attempting questions later in the lesson.

I found a great way to start this lesson off is to ask the pupils to solve a typical angle fact question with an explanation of how they worked out the angle. The plenary is then exactly the same question followed by them comparing their answer at the end of the lesson with the answer they wrote in the starter to see how much they learned during the lesson.

## Draw me a rocket! SSS, ASA, SAS constructions task

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If you’ve just taught SSS, ASA and SAS triangle constructions and you are looking for a consolidation activity, checkout this ‘draw me a rocket’ compound construction activity. As far as rockets go it’s quite basic but if they get it done first I’m sure they could add some modifications!

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There are some excellent resources on the TES website and Properties of Quadrilaterals Dominoes is one of them. Not much explanation needed; just match the shapes to their names and properties in a game of dominoes… The resource was created and published by the www.notjustsums.com website.

## How fast are the planets?

Which planet is travelling the fastest in its orbit? Which is slowest? Is there a link between distance from the sun and how fast the planets travel?

Start by asking the students to come up with what information they would need to work this out. You can then take their ideas and if necessary lead them to working out each planet’s speed by doing the distance travelled in it’s orbit (assume circular orbits) and the time taken for one complete orbit (a planetary year).

You can Google the orbit radii and planetary year times in the lesson. Get them to convert the units; if the distance is in km, get them to convert to m; if the planetary year is in earth years, get them to convert to seconds etc. They could even use standard form to work with the large numbers involved.

This idea came from watching Mr S teach a lesson which was based on using pi in real applications. In fact, the task uses many areas of maths including speed = distance / time, units conversion, compound units and standard form.

An engaging using-and-applying investigation for a high-attaining group. Cheers Mr S!

## What does the cube look like?

I created this worksheet based on a problem on the excellent NRich Maths website.

The pupils have to use their skills of visualising 3D shapes to draw patterns on the faces of a cube net after deciphering where they should go by looking at 3D views of the cube. To scaffold the task an actual cube net is also included so they can build what they think is the right solution. There is a nice extension for the future engineers who have excellent visualisation skills.

I found this to work well with medium-to-high attaining year 7 and 8 classes.

## Giving rotational symmetry the ‘wow’ factor

This video is taken from the iTunes Visualiser called Jelly that makes pretty patterns that react in real time to the music that is playing. The patterns produced show rotational symmetry and could be used as an excellent resource in a starter or plenary on the topic.

## Marathon Man Bearings

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In 2009, comedian Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days around the UK. He endured blisters, losing a toenail and damaging an ankle ligament. He also had daily ice baths which, in his own words, were “to stop your legs inflating to the size of an elephant”! After running over 1100 miles he returned to Trafalgar Square on 15th September 2010.

This is a fascinating story and one that you can use to inspire your pupils! Read more of this post

## Pure inspiration- nature by numbers

This has to be one of the very best videos I have ever seen to show the beauty and power of maths. Just imagine all the ways you could use this to inspire the kids.

## Rotational symmetry- synchronised swimming

Further to our post “Symmetry the fun way: B-boy dancing“, Mr Williams suggested a great idea of using synchronised swimming as inspiration for a lesson about rotational symmetry.

Here is the Japanese Team in full flow at the Sydney Olympics:

There is an excellent routine at about 2 mins into the video which has some fantastic rotational symmetry in it. You could freeze frame the video here and use it to demonstrate the concept.

There are endless possibilities you could go on with from here: could they design their own synchronised swimming pattern/ routine and draw it or act it out on land, get them in the pool for a cross-curricular link if you have one or could they do some research for a homework to find as many pictures showing rotational symmetry in sports and other applications as they can? Great fun.

## Symmetry the fun way: B-boy dancing!

Got to do a lesson about line symmetry and looking for inspiration? Check out this Youtube video of Korean B-boy dancers doing a ‘mirror dance’:

You could use this as inspiration for the pupils and then get them creating their own symmetrical dance routines. This is plane symmetry rather than line symmetry but the concept should be transferable. You could even get theĀ audienceĀ to state where the planes of symmetry are in the dance routines they are watching and also encourage the dancers to change where the plane of symmetry is during their routines. The possibilities are endless!

A great teaching strategy, particularly for the kinaesthetic learners.

A big thanks to Vicky for this great idea.

## Taboo words

Thanks to Sarah for this brilliant way to assess understanding of concepts and maths vocabulary.

Split the class up into groups of 4-6. Each group gets a set of small cards which each have on them one maths related word. The first thing they have to do is write on each card, under the math related word which is at the top, three words that people will not be allowed to use when describing the top word. For example, if the top word is circumference then three words the team could write underneath could be circle, perimeter and length. The idea is to make the describing of the top word as tricky as possible. The words that they can’t use when describing the top words are called Taboo words.

The sets of cards are then passed onto another group and one person in the group gets 1 minute to describe as many of the top words as possible to their group colleagues without using the taboo words. The teams get a point for each correct word they guess. Each team has a go and the scores added up at the end to identify the winning team. You can do a tie-breaker round if necessary.

There are lots of variations you could do of this game and it does seem to really engage the kids and is an excellent way to revise key vocabulary and assess conceptual knowledge.

## The Area Song…

How do you teach kids to remember how to calculate areas of shapes? Here’s one method…

Sing the following song to the tune of Pop Goes The Weasel:

Verse 1:

Multiply the length by the width

Gives the area of a rectangle.

Base times height divided by two

Now gives a triangle.

Verse 2:

Half the sum of the parallel sides

Times the distance between them.

That’s the way to calculate

The area of a trapezium.

If you start them off in year 7 regularly singing the first verse, then move them onto singing the second verse regularly in year 9 by the time they get to their exam in year 11 they’ll never forget how to calculate areas!

Here is a link to a pdf file with the song lyrics on that you can show on the interactive white board.

I can’t remember who told us of this one but a big thank you to you!