On meeting someone new and them discovering that my work revolves around a love of maths, here is an example of a common conversation that will then ensue: Person: I never did understand any maths at school. Me: Do you know the answer to 25 + 20? Person: Yes, of course, that is 45. Me: […]

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Some people are fantastic at estimating measures, well certain measures. I could estimate someone’s height in metres and centimetres and I would be equally happy to use feet and inches. I suspect the generation above me would prefer to use imperial units on the whole, and the generation below me seem able to do a […]

Read moreI spend too much time reminding my students that the currencies they work with (pounds, euros, dollars etc.) must be written to two decimal places or the nearest whole number (depending on whether the major or minor unit is being used) with the correct unit. It is incredibly common for students to just write a […]

Read moreA little while ago one of my students told me an interesting fact: he claimed that four is the only number where the number of letters in its name is equal to the number itself. This then clearly sparked something in one of my other students as the following lesson she disputed this fact, and […]

Read moreWhen I meet people for the first time and they discover that I am a maths teacher/author I usually receive one of two reactions: ‘I hated maths at school and was never any good at it!’ or ‘I loved maths’. It is rare to find anyone in between these two extremes. Of those that hated […]

Read moreSometimes students need to take notes. There is no getting away from this if we want them to have something they can look back at, for example, for revision. For some students, and indeed some teachers, this can be excruciatingly boring. There are ways of making this more exciting for everyone. One way is to […]

Read moreSometimes we use simplistic recall and knowledge questions, for example: Is 29 a multiple of 3? What is ¾ of 48? What is the probability of rolling a 6 on a fair dice? What shape is this ? We tend to use them because we want to move the lesson on at a pace that […]

Read moreThis averages mystery requires students to understand how to calculate the three averages (mean, median and mode) and the range from a list of numbers. Students need to work through a set of clues to determine who bit Sam, the vet’s assistant. You could make this task easier by suggesting a starting point as clues […]

Read more‘We rarely have to think in maths lessons, it is quite relaxing.’ One of the jobs I have had in the past is ‘Town-wide gifted and talented coordinator’. My job was to work with teachers and students across the town to ensure provision for the more able students, across all subjects, was as good as […]

Read moreIn the world of industry, engineers are constantly balancing the level of accuracy of their calculations with the practicalities and realities of manufacturing and construction constraints. For example, an engineer is unlikely to want a length measurement of 43.2156 mm as it is simply not practical to work to this level of accuracy. We expect […]

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