Monthly Archives: May 2013

iPads – how do you use yours?

The department were told recently that every member of staff would be receiving an ipad for next year, and that there will be a class set of ipads that can be signed out as well. Exciting stuff!

I thought I would try and get in early with some research into the best apps available for Maths teacher, both for our own personal admin and for our teaching. I would love to be able to add to this blogpost if people chip in with their own personal experiences as well, so please comment!

For administration:

  • iTeacherbook

I currently use iTeacherbook on my iphone, and I find it an incredibly helpful planner/markbook/register. It is a bit fiddly to set up at first, but once done it’s incredibly easy to take attendance every lesson, and input marks from homeworks and tests (all of which can be exported as .csv files). Admittedly, I haven’t been using it as a planner because it’s quite fiddly on the iphone, but perhaps I will be more inclined to on an ipad? Even without using it as a planner though, I still think it’s very useful. Read more about it here.

The only negative is that although it will sync between devices, there is no desktop version which I would like to have the option of using from time to time – it would especially make the initial set up much easier.

I have also been given a heads up about Idoceo which I have just downloaded and am having a look at. One advantage it seems to have is that you can do a seating plan for each class, but I’m not familiar enough with it yet to say which I prefer. I think Idoceo may win out once I am more familiar with it.

  • Google Drive/Gmail

In our school, every student has a gmail account so this is invaluable for being able to communicate with them and send them links to documents.

For teaching:

  • Explain Everything

I’ve used this brilliant app to make short (2-5min) revision videos  for my students, and it seemed to go down really well. I’m hoping to use it next year in the form of ‘forgetting homeworks’ (see more here). Plus there’s great potential for the students to get involved in making their own videos as consolidation, which they can then use for their own revision months later.

  • Quick Graph

Great little graphing app that does what it says on the tin!

  • Mathspace

I’ve only had a go at the trial section on equations, but I’m really impressed! You can actually scribble each step as you would on paper, and it tells you if that step is correct before you go on to the next step. Great instant feedback which is what some of the weaker kids need sometimes, and good hints if they’re stuck. I tried solving three step equations in a number of different ways and it coped well with everything!

I’m not sure the school will go for the subscription (or if it would be worth it?), but I’ll give the kids a go on the free trial section certainly.

  • Socrative

Socrative is a really simple idea – students use a device as a sort of interactive voting system, so you can ask the class a question and see every answer on your device. Great for finding out if a class truly understands, as no one can hide!

  • Khan Academy

Simply a collection of videos explaining practically any mathematical topic!

Calculators – I don’t want to use a calculator app on the ipad, for the simple reason that I want my students to learn to use the calculator they will use in their exam!

Apps recommended to me that I have yet to try:

  • Edmodo – I’ve yet to try it but apparently it’s sort of an ‘educational facebook’ where you can post assignments and students can discuss and ask for help online.
  • Nearpod
  • Beluga Maths – I had a quick go but wasn’t hugely impressed.
  • Educreations (seems similar to Explain Everything)
  • Geometry Pad – After a quick look this, it looks similar to Cabri Geometry. Lots of potential uses!
  • Geoboard
  • Wolfram Alpha
  • Evernote
  • Oh No Fractions
  • Long Division – At first glance this is really nice demonstration and practice of long division.
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Resources for the second half of term

Year 7 – Grouping data; Symmetry; Multiplication and Division of Fractions

  • Pie chart flags
  • Funny pie charts here and here.
  • A nice video showing rotational symmetry. Warning! Flashing lights!
  • A video showing mirror dancing – plane symmetry.
  • Synchronised swimming video – fast forward to 2 mins for some great rotational symmetry.
  • Exploded flowers – might make a nice homework to make their own symmetrical exploded flower.
  • Face symmetry – use celebrities or photos of themselves.

Year 8 – Solving Equations; Scale Drawing; Travel Graphs; Scatter Graphs

  • A TES resource on scale drawing a theme park (login required).
  • A TES resource on travel graphs (login required).
  • My favourite video, and a nice way to introduce scatter graphs.

Year 9 – Travel Graphs; Averages from frequency Tables; Inverse Percentages; Upper and Lower Bounds.

  • A TES resource on travel graphs (login required).
  • A TES resource looking at upper and lower bounds with Popeye (login required).

Year 10 – Financial Arithmetic; Functions; Tangents to a curve; Vectors.

  • A nice comparison of compound interest and simple interest.
  • Have a look at wonga.com and their loan calculators (shocking!)
  • A TES resource looking at world debt (login required).

Revision lesson review

Today I did an hours revision lesson with top set Year 9. I split them into 4 teams and did a three part challenge.

Part 1

Team Tarsia on percentages – they enjoyed it but the team that finished first had a bit of ‘dead time’ while waiting for the rest of the teams to finish. To be honest I think Tarsias are best given as homeworks.

Part 2

A collective memory challenge on Pythagoras and Trigonometry

The least successful of the three. Despite telling them to use their brains to figure out things rather than just trying to remember them, some rubbish was still produced! In fact, more attention was given to the diagrams and the colours used than the actual mathematical content.

Part 3

By far the most successful. I used an excellent resource from here which went down very well. Each team selected how many points they wanted to try for, which corresponded to the level of difficulty, and I gave them a minute to come up with the answer. The activity was much improved when I introduced a ‘steal’ option, so that if a team answered wrongly all the other teams could hold up their answer on a mini whiteboard and if they were correct then they all ‘stole’ half the available points. It kept everyone on task and they really enjoyed it.

Hopefully I can adapt that excellent powerpoint and put in questions of my own to suit my classes.

Not bad lesson at all considering I only started planning it 15 minutes before!

Fun with 100 grids

One of the most useful things I have done this year is to print out hundreds(!) of hundred grids.

photo

I have found having a supply of these to hand to be incredibly useful. I’ve used them for:

Sieve of Eratosthenes

Factors and Multiples Puzzle

Where can we visit?

Any other ideas???

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds….

Someone’s going to wade in and tell me that a year isn’t exactly 365 days so all subsequent calculations are also wrong….but lets ignore that!

@standupmaths tweeted “Hey, how did I not notice yesterday’s date was a Pythagorean Triple? 12² + 5² = 13²” and then @baralong suggested making a calendar for next year to avoid missing fun dates like that in the future.

I think it would be a great idea to create such a calendar (or maybe one already exists?) to use for lesson starters, or for a noticeboard so I’ve got the beginnings of something here.

Please add anything you can think of – either dates themselves which are fun, or if there is an event happening that day that links to a fun problem…anything!

If a date already has an idea, just keep adding to that cell. If it’s a date that will only work next year, put that in as well!
EDIT: Just to be clear, I know we could come up with absolutely loads of ideas for every date, or say who died or was born but I’m looking for those genuinely interesting things that would inspire and interest my students (and anyone else).

How much is a multitude?

mul·ti·tude

  [muhl-ti-tood, -tyood]

noun

1. a great number; host: a multitude of friends.
2. a great number of people gathered together; crowd; throng.
3. the state or character of being many; numerousness.
4. the multitude, the common people; the masses.
 
So basically, it’s a lot. And the definition seems to fit twitter very well – ‘a great number of people gathered together’.
 
The problem I’m having is…it’s too much! I’ve got some great ideas, and I’m working on a nice little project at the moment with the app ‘Explain Everything’ which is great. But hundreds of other ideas flash past me on my news feed every day and there are always one or two that I see and think “that would be great for when I’m next looking at *insert topic here*!”
 
I could go to the link, download the resource and save it in the relevant folder so I know it’s there for next time, but that takes a couple of minutes and sometimes I just don’t have that couple of minutes. And if I don’t do that, will I ever find that tweet again?
 
So today I discovered, the power of the retweet! Yes, yes, I know this is nothing new. But when the power of the retweet is combined with ‘Your Twitter archive’ then it becomes gloriously powerful.
 
‘Your Twitter archive’ can be found right at the bottom of your settings page, and it will download all of your tweets to a .csv file, and from there you can simply use ‘Find…’ to locate the tweet in question. Just make sure your retweet includes the keyword that you will search for.
 
If you don’t want to clog up others news feeds with huge numbers of retweets, then a reply will do just as well. A quick ‘Hey, thanks for the great *insert topic here* resource at *insert link here*’ will appear in your archive just as clearly as a retweet. Just make sure it includes the keyword that you will search for, and the link.
 
Okay, so maybe people already know about all this, or have other (far superior) ways of keeping track of past tweets, but for me this is an amazing discovery! Over the next couple of months I’ll retweet/reply to all of the resources I will want to use again in the future, and then when I actually have some time, I can organise them all properly.