Expanding Bracket Gap Fill: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
I am a huge fan of novel, engaging ways to test familiar and crucial mathematical skills. Take expanding and factorising single brackets. Students probably encounter this topics for the first time in Year 7, and yet the vast majority will still need practice into Year 11. This variation on a traditional worksheet is a superb way to ensure get that all-important practice, but with the added bonus of a bit more challenge and hopefully some extra engagement. Basically, there are 18 questions, ranging from expanding a single bracket right up to expanding and then simplifying via subtraction. Each question has been completed, but… and here is the twist.. there are gaps to be filled in! Now, this may not sound like much, but successfully filling in these gaps requires students to demonstrate their full range of skills when it comes to expanding, factorising and simplifying algebraic expressions.

How can it be used?
If students are not comfortable with the basics, then an activity like this may well tip them over the edge! So, I would advise starting with a few worked examples, together with similar questions for students to complete. Once you are happy that the core elements are in place, then you can unleash them on this beauty. Another advantage of an activity like this is that it is easy for the students to check if they have got a question correct – simply tell them to cover up the answer, and work through the now completed question like they would in any other circumstance and see if they arrive at the answer. I am such a fan of this format that it has got me wondering just how many other topics it could be applied to. Operations with fractions immediately springs to mind, but I am sure there are more :-)

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

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