Introducing Proof at A-Level

We are almost one year in to the teaching of the new A-Levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics. The first overarching theme of the new A-Level (as identified in the subject content guidance from the DfE) is “Mathematical Argument, language and proof” as shown below.

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There is a greater focus on this than there used to be and it is something students often struggle with.

To begin with I normally try to link back to the kind of thing they may have seen at GCSE Higher, for example proving properties of products/sums of even numbers. A typical question on this at GCSE would be something similar to “Prove that the sum of four consecutive numbers is always even”.

To move on from this I often use the card sort resource below.

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The idea for this is that students work in groups to discuss the 12 statements and sort them into always, sometimes or never true. Some of these are harder than others, and listening in to their conversations is particularly interesting and can provide a good idea of how quickly to move on with the class.

This activity can be downloaded here.

This activity is one of many included in the new book on proof that I have co-authored for Tarquin Group. The book is called “Understanding Proof” and is available from the publisher here.

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If you are interested in this book the voucher code PROOF718 will give you a £5 discount when ordered from Tarquin direct (it should work till the end of July. This code will infect work for anything in the Tarquin A-Level range – I hope this tempts people. We are proud of this book and I would love to hear any readers’ thoughts.

Sorry that this post has ended with a bit of a plug for a paid-for book…. I’d love you to comment on how you introduce the concept of proof at A-Level.

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