Our fourth freebie this week is a series of four maths picto-puzzles each of varying difficulty.

Here is an example;

They include addition, subtraction puzzles and multiplication. Challenge your students to find the value of each Valentines symbol, watch out for valentine’s symbols within symbols on the more challenging picto-puzzle 4 and 5.

The full resource can be downloaded here by clicking the link below.

This free download includes 4 different Valentine picto-puzzles which can be displayed or printed as worksheets, with solutions. Ideal for a quick starter or plenary. You should also check out our premium Valentine bundle.

Click the picture below to visit this bundle.

Don’t forget to check out this weeks Valentine posts for our freebies!

Another quick NumberLoving freebie Maths activity for the week of love, leading up to Valentine’s Day. Definitely suitable for GCSE Maths and has plenty of challenge (Pythagoras, multi-step, area of parts of circles, area of sectors and segments).

There are five different hearts and pupils are asked to find the area and perimeter of the heart. The hearts are made up of triangles and two semi-circles or the more challenging heart (heart 5) requires pupils to calculate the area of two identical major circle segments.

Take a closer look at worksheet five for the extra challenge, suitable starter or plenary for Higher GCSE students.

Download the full free resource via the link below; this includes five different hearts of varying challenge that can be printed as worksheets (or displayed) and includes the solutions!

**UPDATED with Table of Values section below and mixed to improper conversion

Efficient Calculator Use

The need for pupils to be comfortable and confident with their calculator by the end of their KS4/GCSE studies is not new, but the new 9-1 specification has brought to my attention some new methods (not necessarily functions) that would benefit pupils in being able to perform using and navigating their calculators efficiently. As we follow the AQA 8300 specification many of this appear repeatedly in the practice papers. You might also be interested in our blog Can you Pay my Bills? 9-1 GCSE blog post, which looks at the bank statements, invoices and pay calculations as seen in the AQA practice papers. Any of the calculator methods described are not to replace understanding or written methods, in fact they are based on a mastery of techniques, particularly when considering remainders.

Fractions

The new 9-1 specification AQA calculator papers include questions such as this calculation below. When performed correctly this would result in an improper fraction and pupils would be required to change to a mixed number.

I couldn’t understand why so many of my students were getting this wrong. So I asked a pupil to show me how they were entering this in the calculator and it turned out the problem was entering mixed numbers! The pupils were using the primary fraction button (red arrow) and using the ‘back’ button to insert the whole part before the fraction! The calculator would then interpret this as whole multiplied by the fraction part!!! When in fact they need to use the secondary function (green arrow) in order to insert the mixed number correctly.

These questions will give answers as an improper fraction and pupils may need to convert to mixed numbers (depending on the question requirements). Using the S>D function would give the whole part; instead use the shift button to activate the mixed to improper (orange arrow to left).

FACT Function

Although I have shown pupils this function in the past I have been reluctant to push it’s use because pupils need to complete prime factor decomposition for the non-calculator paper. However, increasingly expressing a product as its prime factors or finding the HCF/LCM is present on the new 9-1 calculator papers. To use this function, input the number for example 225, enter, then shift “FACT” and the calculator will express as a product of it’s primes. This was Q 24 from paper 2 of the foundation AQA practice set 3 which required pupils to express 225 as a product of it’s prime factors, this is awarded two marks. Pupils will save time if they use this function and that time can be used to complete the HCF/LCM part of the question.

This function can also help with questions requiring pupils to identify larger prime numbers as seen in Q3 of the Foundation AQA practice set 4, paper 3. If it is a prime number for e.g 97, after using the FACT function 97 would be displayed; therefore it is prime.

Table of Values

I had totally forgotten about this function, thankfully my Twitter colleagues @MrCarterMaths and @Mathematical_A reminded me!

Select mode (green arrow) which will give the four options seen on the display. Select option 3 : TABLE. You are then prompted by f(x) to enter the function, enter the function using the ALPHA key and the bracket key with the X (red arrows). Ensure pupils check carefully that they have entered this correctly. You are then prompted with “START?” followed by “END?”, both referring to the range of values of X in the table, e.g. from -2 to 5 (remember to us (-) for minus two), press enter after each. The final prompt is “STEPS?”, i.e. what is X going up in (most often one). Then a table of values is given in a vertical format. @Mathematical_A has mentioned that the new FX991EX has dual tables!!

Here is one of the treasure hunt cards requiring remainder to be found, again this was originally poorly answered by my pupils despite it being on one of the calculator papers. This style of question is seen in the AQA foundation practice papers, for example Q12 from paper 3 of set 3.

Below is the method we show pupils to tackle this efficiently; this slide is taken from our Walking Talking Mock.

Rounding

Scientific calculators can be used to set a number of decimal places (using shift>set up>6. Fix), however this is not something that I choose to show pupils; they should be able to round correctly and there’s too much of chance they don’t change it back! So instead it is good ‘exam technique’ to insist pupils write down the whole answer and then round as required. Again a slide from our walking talking mock on the left demonstrates these calculator paper tips.

To help refine pupils calculator paper skills we have produced some resources for use with a scientific calculator and knowledge of skills such as Pythagoras’ Theorem, Trigonometry etc. Therefore this resource is best used once you’re confident pupils have the range of skills on the topics listed below.

9-1 Calculator Use Resources

The first new resource is our 9-1 Efficient Calculator Use Treasure Hunt activity differentiated to two levels; amber and green. The amber level covers the following topics; finding remainders, calculating with fractions, improper to mixed, area of fraction of circle, product of primes, Pythagoras, Rounding. The green level covers Trigonometry, remainders, compound interest, density, rounding, area of sector, scales, conversions, using formula. Each of these require pupils to round correctly i.e. decimal places or significant figures.

Check out our Treasure Hunt blog post for different ways to use treasure hunt activities in the classroom and beyond.

The second resource is our 9-1 Efficient Calculator Use Worksheets which includes two worksheets to complement the first resource to make a full lesson or use as homework. Worksheet 1 covers six topics (powers/roots, place value, remainders, primes, fractions and percentages). Worksheet 2 covers three overall topics but each progresses in challenge (use of formula, right angled triangles i.e. Pythagoras’ theorem and trigonometry, circles (arcs/sectors).

5) Pimp your classroom; Looking for inspiration then look no further for ideas on interactive displays

6) The Author; here I am, I have worked hard to build up our website and appreciate all the great feedback I have received! Laura Rees-Hughes also co-authored NumberLoving from 2012 to 2016.

Maths and party are not two words you often hear in the same sentence but party games provide us with some great ways to engage students in the classroom. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:

Pass the parcel:

A simple idea which is great for a starter. this works very much as the party game but each layer has a question selotaped to it, before students can unwrap their layer they have to answer the question! In the past I have asked each student to write a question on a slip of paper as a plenary, then I use these questions in the pass the parcel the following lesson. I have done this with GCSE groups too and used exam questions cut up from a past paper. Students to the left and right can peer mark the answer to check it is correct! I have my classroom organised into five tables so I make five ‘parcels’ so each table has one to pass around, but you could adapt this depending on how your room is set up. All you need is some music and a prize for the middle and away you go!

Balloon modelling:

Balloon modelling is an exciting venture for anyone, old or young, this PowerPoint “Welcome to the fun fair!!” takes you through the steps needed to make a balloon dog. Students have to measure their balloon (bought cheaply from homebargains, be sure to leave a 10cm section at the end which is un-inflated) then work out and mark the fractions on (starting from the end which is tied), then they fold and twist. It really is simple and makes a great fun lesson when studying fractions of amounts, it could be adapted to work for percentages or ratio. You could also extend the idea and get students to investigate making some of their own models! The video below shows how to make the twists, if you have younger students you may want to do this for them:

This is great for types of shapes or number types. In each corner of the room you have a picture of a shape or a number hung up. You call out a property such as ‘four vertices’ or ‘square number’ and students must go to the corner which fits that property. If students go to the wrong one they are ‘out’ and should sit down, you can make it progressively more challenging by having several conditions they have to meet.

Simon says

This is a classic which can be adapted for practising drawing shapes, you give an instruction – for example ‘simon says draw a horizontal line 4cm in length’ and students have to do it, you continue on in this way until they have constructed a shape, the catch is sometimes you give an instruction which does not start with ‘simon says’ in this case they should not follow it. Get ready for chaos!

Keep tuned as this week I will also be blogging about dance maths… Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

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