Exploding Surds: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
I love surds. I love the way they represent irrational numbers so efficiently, how many of the ways of manipulating them are directly related to the rules of algebra, and above all that feeling when a complex 7-mark epic of a problem pops out with an answer of root-2. Unfortunately, not many students share my love, and surds are definitely a topic that many struggle with. So, I am always on the lookout for ways to practice the key skills of surds – simplifying, multiplying and rationalising – in a format that is appealing to students. And this wonderful, explosive resource does exactly that. Key skills are covered across 8 worksheets with questions that that have been presented in a really clever way.

How can it be used?
The really beauty of these worksheets are the varying amounts of information that is given each time. Sometimes students are given the question and the first step. This provides a nice way in for students to get their confidence up. But, on the very same sheet, these first two steps may be omitted, and students will need to work backwards from the third or fourth step to see if they can determine how the problem began. This provides both a challenge and an excellent opportunity for class discussion. How did students do it? How many possible answers are there? If students can successfully fill in this selection of explosive worksheets, their understanding of surds will be secure. This is a truly wonderful resource.

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton