Maths Scholars Share Their Classroom & Teaching Tips

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Our last round of Maths Scholarships applications closed earlier this month. However, if you still want to apply for the scheme, we’ll be back later this year in October. In the meantime, we thought we’d reflect on some classroom tips and insights shared by previous Maths Scholars.

Our Maths Scholars are always looking for new ways to inspire the next generation of superstar mathematicians in every industry and niche.

In this blog by Max Fawcett, we look at the use of two different classroom techniques to help students learn, or retain what they have learnt through revision. Max advocates the use of tarsias, which are puzzle you can create for students to match questions and answers, key words and definitions etc. by lining up sides of different cut-out shapes. Another tip is making use of red/amber/green cards, or cards which have options such as yes/no, true/false or A/B/C/D for multiple-choice quizzes. Nothing engages students quite like a game with a competitive edge!

Linking mathematics to the real world is another excellent tool to help make mathematical concepts more tangible for students. Annalisa Occhipinti always introduces a new topic by showing an application of Mathematics in medicine or cancer research. Helena Mandleberg tries to place maths concepts into everyday life, from football league tables to calculating discounts on prices.

Incorporating music, games and groupwork into the classroom has been a successful strategy for Tara Saleh. While Jack Wood has made good use of simple objects like dominoes and envelopes to inject fun and quick thinking into the classroom.

Another Maths Scholar has injected creativity into her room by making use of the many online resources available to teachers these days. “I am still making some of my own resources but online sites have made my life a lot easier!” she says. “I try and vary the style of my lessons week to week and the students appreciate this; they come in every Tuesday morning asking for the weekly word search and know that Thursday afternoon is murder mystery investigation time.”

Tangrams can be great tools to make teaching geometry more fun and interactive for students. Teachers can sweeten maths lessons by showing students how to make ice cream. If your school has a swimming pool, it’s an ideal setting to explore maths and physics. Artist Ann-Marie Ison swears by art as a hugely useful tool to help explain really complex mathematical ideas.

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Dr Tom Bennison loves social media for staying in the loop with trends and developments in the world of mathematics.

“‘I love Twitter,” says Tom. “It’s such an amazing space for CPD. I have learned so much on that social media platform and it’s such a brilliant place for NQTs to learn, find reassurance and watch just what’s happening within the Maths community.”

He believes that teachers need to keep on learning throughout their careers. “Just because you’ve been teaching for 10 years you don’t necessarily have all the answers; we can learn from almost anyone. Building that culture into the school is key. Fostering an ‘anyone can walk in, open door’ culture will go a long way.”

Feeling inspired? If you’re keen to submit a maths scholarship application, here’s what you can do to ensure you’re the first off the blocks when submissions re-open in October.