TES Top 10 Resources: Problem Solving and Rich Tasks

The following collection of resources have been assembled by the TES Maths Panel. They can be downloaded for free by registering on the TES website.

Here, I have compiled my top 10 problem solving and rich tasks. Enjoy there are some crackers in here.

Carpet your bedroom – functional maths

Age Range: 11-16 Format: PPT

An activity for students to design a tessellation of carpet tiles for their bedroom. From the design, they need to work out costs from screenshots of carpet tile prices, calculate the cost of the glue. There are three levels to this task, from a basic bronze version to the gold version which includes an algebra extension related to cost of getting a carpet fitted. Very real world focus and some good discussion if you let the students use their own bedroom.

Rich maths tasks to engage KS3

Age Range: 11-16 FormatWebpage

This website includes many helpful resources relating to the pedagogy associated with Rich Tasks as well as many sources for further tasks. Each Rich Task has been trialled in the classroom and most are accompanied by a detailed task plan which contains an overview and lesson plan.

Maths investigations

Age Range: 11-16 Format: PDF

Based on science tasks produced in East Sussex, these investigation starter sheets give an introduction to a topic for investigation and progression guide to allow self- and peer-assessment. Targeted at year 7, these may be suitable for several year groups in KS2/3. Please note that the levelling guide is a first draft and may change.

Maths mystery activity: Thinking skills

Age Range: 11-16 Format: PPT

This is an ideal thinking skills activity for higher KS3 and KS4 students. This is a mystery activity, where learners are presented with a set of cards containing clues to answer a central focus question, in this case: ‘Does Amelie make it to the catwalk?’. Learners will need to work together (in pairs or threes) and use various strands of mathematics to be able to make sense of the clues and come to a conclusion.

My bedroom: Lesson plans and activities

Age Range: 11-16 Format: PPT

This is a complete pack of activities, interactive whiteboards and lesson plans for KS3. This activity can be done in pairs or individually. It has lots of differentiation opportunities from the various materials I have created to provide help in groups, individuals or to the whole class, depending on ability. In addition to this, there are also two good extension activities.

Functional maths skills and enterprise task

Age Range: 11-16 Format: Excel

This is a business game where players compete to make as much money as possible from an initial investment of £200. All pupils need to do is decide how much to spend on making their product, what the sale price should be and the amount to spend on advertising. When every group has entered their decisions into the spreadsheet the figures are compared and sales are decided. Pupils can then predict their available capital for the next round to earn a cash bonus. It was used across the department with all ages and abilities.

Age Range: 11-16 Format: PPT

I created this website with a BECTA grant. There are resources (written, interactive, audio and video) to support teachers and students accessing six rich mathematical tasks, that are ripe for creative exploration!

Holiday planning maths investigation

Age Range: 11-16 Format: Doc & PDF

A structured problem-solving activity based on booking a holiday for a family of four. Includes a resource booklet containing flight, accommodation, car hire and passport prices, and a task sheet setting students task. Suitable for able KS2 pupils. Also includes differentiation by increasing level of difficulty in the tasks set.

Nrich differentiated mathematical problem solving

Age Range: 11-18 Format: WEB

Focussed mathematical problem solving on all the required topics of any mathematical syllabus. A good resource to include in the gifted and talented policy and something that allows the children to access mathematics with real-life problem solving, taking them away from the more difficult abstract questions.

Functional mathematics lessons – projects

Age Range: 11-16 Format: WEB

Maths functional skills classroom projects to use in lessons. Projects designed for one at the end of each half term for years 7, 8 and 9.

Damian Watson, Maths Secondary Panel