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Showing posts from September, 2020

Area of 2D Shapes: Always Boils Down To 'width × height'

We need to stop saying the area of rectangles is 'length × width'. There are so many ways we Maths teachers have made life difficult for ourselves by muddling up the language. Yes, we're trying our best to wean ourselves off saying 'minus', and specifying more clearly whether we're talking about subtraction or negative values. But we can do better than that. (And let's face it, the word 'division' isn't always exactly helpful either - are we talking about grouping or sharing?) The area of rectangles is another example. We say 'length × width' for the very first area formula we teach, and then change the words we use for all the others just as they're getting their heads around the concept. And to start with, 'length' tends to imply 'the longer side', meaning 'width' must be 'the shorter side', but then width turns into 'the distance across from left to right' for all the other shapes that follow

Topic and Skills By Grade, and Grade Boundary Calculators

This is one of my proudest creations as a Maths teacher and here I am setting it free.  It's a spreadsheet I've put together from lots of documents around showing what skills came under old National Curriculum levels and GCSE letter grades. I've used those and my own judgment to give an overall idea where these skills fit into the new(ish) grading system.   There are a few skills missing from this, especially towards the top end of the grades, and obviously many of the skills can be framed in a question to make them easier or harder than the grade suggested, so there's some professional judgement needed in using this. In addition, in my old school we graded students in KS3 based on their "trajectory" - so, we graded them according to whether they were on course to eventually get a grade 6, for example. The mythical student making "average" progress all the way through school and ending up with a grade 6 in Year 11 should be getting a grade '7.6&#