At the end of each December, armed with a cup of tea and a left-over turkey sandwich, I look back at my favourite resources that have been uploaded to TES Resources over the last 12 months. I have been the TES Maths Advisor for over six years now, and I am constantly blown away by the quality of the resources published by our generous and talented community.
With so much quality around, choosing my Top 10 is almost always an impossible job and 2015 was no exception. So, I have decided to pick 12!
Thank you so much to all the people who share resources on TES. Long may it continue. And here is to another successful year in 2016!
Craig Barton, TES Maths adviser
Top 12 countdown
Number 12: Maths and the migrant crisis
The refugee crisis is something that has dominated the news for months, with a wide variety of figures and diagrams being thrown around. Here is an opportunity to bring this into the classroom – allowing students to work with numbers that actually mean something, whilst at the same time making them aware of an incredibly important subject.
Number 11: Frequency trees
One of the main headlines when the new GCSE specifications were announced at the end of 2014 was the arrival of two brand new topics: frequency trees and Venn diagrams. Fortunately, the users of TES Resources stepped in and produced some top quality resources. It turns out that frequency trees are a fairly logical (and dare I say, useful?) way of representing data.
Number 10: Adding and subtracting negative numbers
This is one of my favourite complete lessons, covering the topic of negative numbers, and comprising of notes, an interactive Excel worksheet, and more! I find resources like this fascinating, as they give you a real insight into a teacher’s thinking. The advice I give to all trainee teachers and NQTs is to take lessons like this, study them, then adapt them to suit their own teaching style and the needs of their students.
Number 9: Loads of starters
A collection of starter activities for all year groups, from Year 7 right up to sixth form. Each starter is displayed on a single PowerPoint slide and many of them have answers included too. Each slide has an indication of the set the starter was aimed at, so you have an idea of the type of class the author pitched the problem to. A whole range of topics are covered, from basic arithmetic in Year 7, right up to functions in sixth form.
Number 8: Area of flags with circles
The sequel to 2013’s outstanding area of flags resources comes a circular variant, with the answers provided too. This time students must calculate various parts of flags that involve circles. Not only do students get to practise some crucial GCSE skills, they also get a taste of geography thrown into the mix too. And once you get to the last few questions, the challenge is really ramped up to stretch even the most able students.
Number 7: Maths relay races
Now, before a riot starts, I know this resource was created in 2010, but Chris Smith has added a Valentine’s Day and summary maths relay to the collection, so it’s allowed. And anyway, when a resource is this good, it deserves to be included every year! A simple collection of maths relays, suitable for all age groups and abilities, that lead to engaging and productive lessons.
Number 6: Change one aspect
Quite simply, this is brilliant. Students are presented with a question and challenged to change one aspect of it to make it true. So we have something like this:
A (-3,2), B (4,4) and C (1,-1) – Can you change one ordinate so that A, B and C all lie on the same straight line?
Several of the key A-level topics are covered here, and it adds a significant degree of richness to the topics themselves. Students are compelled to discuss, hypothesise, investigate and play around with concepts in ways they might not have done previously.
Number 5: Ultimate Excel mark book
For years I have gotten by with the good, old departmental spreadsheet alongside my own bundled-together Excel workbook. But from 2016 onwards, I have a new way of recording date, I have seen a fair few interactive mark books on TES over the years, but this is by far the best. It is simple, clear, and incredibly powerful. You can immediately pull out insights on individual students and whole classes, all without needing to do any extra work yourself.
Number 4: Investigating special numbers
I absolutely love numbers. I can still remember being at school and learning about perfect numbers and the Fibonacci sequence. As a student I would have loved this activity and now as a teacher I love it even more. Here we have 40 mini investigations or introductions to the fascinating world of numbers, each of which fits neatly onto a single A4 page. All the big names are here and I few I had not heard of: Cunningham chain and Bell numbers, anybody?
Number 3: A-level maths assessments
Quite simply, this is ridiculously good. These are a complete set of high-quality assessments and mark schemes for pretty much all of the A-level modules, including further maths! They are not designed to be specific to any exam board, so you will need to look over the questions to ensure they are all suitable for your students, but the vast majority are. The questions are top quality and just as important – they are new to the students.
Number 2: GCSE maths: Probability
Dr Frost was one of my finds of 2015. His lessons and activities are clearly laid out, contain examples, notes, questions and answers, and cover pretty much everything from KS3 right up to further maths A-level. They are all PowerPoint presentations or Word documents, so can be adapted, edited and merged with your existing lessons. This particular resource covers the entire content needed for higher tier probability, ideal for revision or to introduce the topic.
Number 1: Quadratics GCSE collection
This is a truly wonderful use of Excel. In fact, possibly the best I have ever seen. The following quadratic-related topics are covered:
1. Factorising quadratics
2. Simplifying quadratics fractions
3. Solving quadratics (factorisation)
4. Completing the square
5. Quadratic equation
6. Key points of a quadratic curve
7. Plotting quadratics
And, because this has been designed on Excel, there is the ability to generate an infinite number of questions and have all the answers available at the click of a button.
Have you been inspired to publish your resources in 2016? Contact the TES Authors Team for tips, help and guidance on getting started.