What is it?
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending a workshop called “Drill and Thrill” delivered by Dani Quinn, the Head of Maths at Michaela Community School. Since then, I have become a little obsessed with drilling. I had previously assumed it to be a case of hammering students with a load of the same questions, essentially drilling them into submission. But now I realise the key is the in the intelligent design of the questions – ensuring there is sufficient variety so that students do not develop an incomplete set of automated procedures that could lead to them being tripped up later on. Fortunately, Hin Tail from Michaela has shared this Drill Generator which shows exactly what such drills look like and how they are constructed. This particular one concerns multiplying and dividing by powers of 10 and is aimed at Year 7s, and you can generate different questions by pressing Shift-F9.
How can it be used?
Dani has provided an excellent overview of when drills should and should not be used in a blog post (based on her session and this resource in particular, and I would strongly advise readsing that before embarking upon some drilling with your students. Like many of the resources I feature on Resource of the Week, they key to success is consistency. Doing a drill once in a blue moon is not likely to have any long-lasting effect, and neither is drilling regularly for two weeks and then forgetting about it. Once or twice a week, every week, at the start of a lesson, can have a massive benefit on the fluency, competency and confidence of your students, and really stand them in good stead for all the mathematical topics that rely on a strong sense of number.
Thanks so much for sharing