TES Maths Resource of the Week 54: GCSE QWC Mysteries

What is it?

In my experience, students tend to find the QWC (or asterisk) questions notorious difficult. It seems to stem from the difficulty many students seem to have in realising that maths isn’t just about solving a problem and getting the answer correct, but in communicating how you reached the solution so others can understand your method. And of course, structuring a longer form answer is difficult for any student, no matter what their ability. So, any resource that can help in that regard is always going to be popular. And this resource does exactly that. The longer form QWC questions are broken down into meaningful chunks via the use of Hint cards, offering students structure where they would otherwise struggle to find it.

How can it be used?

The author provides a really nice description of how the resource can be used, and makes a really good point that such an activity can help boost the confidence of students. I certainly found that when doing it with my Year 11s. I got them working together in pairs on each question, at first letting them use as many hint cards as they needed, but then challenging them to try to use at least one less for the next question they took on. They seemed to like the security of knowing help was just next to them on the table if the needed it. Finally, I absolutely love the twist of giving students a question and challenging them to make up a set of cards for it. This gets them into the mind-set of an exam question, and also allows them to exercise their creativity.

Thank you for sharing!

Craig Barton