A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

@mathslinks — Help me think about problem solving, 29 Oct ago

Problem Solving, Spider and the Fly

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 | 0 Comments

How would use this in your classroom (the problem, not the video)?

I'm keen to read your input. I'm keen to learn.

I need to do a better job of integrating problem-solving into my lessons, I have a largish audience for this blog with vast amounts of experience - what better way than to learn together?

The Developing Teacher

Sunday, 26 October 2014 | 2 Comments

In the past, Maths teaching resources amounted to printed materials (be it a textbook, BLM). If the teacher didn't like what was available to them, they could hand-draw and Gestetner a more appropriate worksheet.

These days most teachers (I would say) are still producing static content with a few more creation options (Word, PowerPoint, maybe a graph from Excel).

There are also dynamic, interactive options like GeoGebra, Desmos or your favourite graphing software. I suspect most teachers are still using these at a basic level, if at all. We can rely on others producing some good stuff on GeoGebraTube for instance.

Increasingly, maths faculties are turning to a content provider for which they pay big bucks.

My solution has been to build electronic worksheets using Excel. Struggling students engage with these, they appreciate a scaffold and immediate feedback*. These worksheets, however, rely on having Excel available (I have never tried them on Excel on an iPad). There would be a whole additional development process to get them working on Google Apps (think BYOD(Bring Your Own Device)). They are also time consuming.

Moving to the web reduces reliance on specific software. I've been playing with this on MathsStarters, e.g. Bingo. After seeing what Ken Wessen is doing at The Mathenæum, I added some graphics (see Area & Perimeter, Number Plane).

Here's my next step - an online worksheet that gives the student some options as to how much help they receive.

Surface Area of Rectangular Prisms, online worksheet

Surface Area screenshot

This one took me hours. But, a great learning experience.


I think that, more than ever, we need to be content creators. Becoming a content creator requires an increasingly sophisticated skillset. Increasingly I seem to be a developer.


*Yes, I know there's lots of web discussion happening at the moment about what good feedback is.

The weakness of education research

Saturday, 06 September 2014 | 0 Comments

This is my new go to post when I see a new idea in education labelled as research-based, This Is Interesting & Depressing: Only .13% Of Education Research Experiments Are Replicated. That blog post also links through to the press release and full paper as well as this summary video:

... in the current education research process we seem to focussing on a lot on novelty and what's new and less on focussing on the scientific process...

Matthew C. Makel Facts Are More Important Than Novelty: Replication in the Education Sciences

Preparing to Engage, Enhance and Extend

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 | 0 Comments

I am presenting twice in September about how I use technology to engage, enhance and extend in my teaching.

I guess, this is a promo.

My focus in this presentation is on using a projector, the internet and a digital camera to improve the learning experiences in your classroom. Seems simple, but I suspect these tools are often overlooked for their true capabilities. Rather, teachers are being tantilised by BYOD, tablets and apps.

Fridge Shelf


How does this simple image of the bottom shelf in my fridge help get my students talking and learning about capacity?

[I used this image just today and one student couldn't believe I was using a photo from my own fridge, not sure why.]

Parts of Circle


How is this better than the static images of a textbook?

Racing Car


How does a toy car extend my students?





I will be presenting these ideas and much more in two sessions (each slightly different):



Maths in ACtion!

Maths in ACtion!

For DEC teachers, this is a 90 minute workshop.
Tuesday 2 September 2014, Ringrose Office, Greystanes.
PL@Edu course code: NR06824

I'll also be presenting at the MANSW Annual Conference.

Sign in to MathsLinks with Edmodo

Saturday, 23 August 2014 | 0 Comments

You can now sign in to MathsLinks with an Edmodo account.

This saves you from remembering another username and password.

MathsLinks also allows you to sign in with a Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn account.

[If you already have an account on MathsLinks, go to your profile page and you can add the ability to sign in with Edmodo.]

Here's a short (silent) screencast showing how easy it is:

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Simon Job — ninth year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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