Christmas Further Maths Calculated Colouring 2020

Last of the calculated colourings for this year…. Here is one for Further Maths. There are less questions than in the maths version.

Of course it is harder to ensure this is suitable for everyone but I hope it is suitable for the majority of Year 12s. It contains questions on complex numbers, matrices, transformations, dimensional analysis, conic sections amongst others.

If you want to use it please download it from here.


Christmas Calculated Colouring 2020

After a very strange year it is is that time of year again…..

This should be suitable for most Year 12students and includes questions on Coordinate Geometry, differentiation of polynomials, surds, indices, a small amount of trigonometry.

The file is available to download here:

I hope your students enjoy it if you choose to use it. Please let me know of any mistakes. I’m also hoping to get a Further Maths one up later.


Coronavirus and the Plan for my A-Level Classes

Over the last couple of weeks before half term I have tried a few things for the setting of work for my Year 12 A-Level classes remotely.

By far the most successful have been my use of worksheets with some recall / do now questions, some examples and then some exercises.

For the examples I will screen record with voiceover me annotating the examples on my iPad. As I want to upload them to an assignment in Microsoft Teams I then have to compress the videos – this can also be done on the iPad (I use Vid Compressor – I have the paid version so there is no watermark on the videos). To write my worksheet I use Pages as there is decent LaTeX interpreter built in to format mathematics properly.

Below you can download the files for a complete Further Maths lesson on the nth roots of unity. Let me know what you think – I hate the sound of my own voice though!

I have had good completion rates with this style of work set, and I like the fact that if I want to I can do the whole workflow on my iPad Pro without resorting to getting out a laptop.

Not knowing when schools will be back I have so far planned out the next half terms worth of work on the basis that I could stick to this schedule whether I am physically in the classroom with the students or not. I have decided to do 1/5 revision of prior content and 4/5 new content (Every lesson will have some retrieval practice starter questions though). My plan for Maths and for Further Maths is as follows:

Plan for the Next Five Weeks

I will then supplement these with some exercise sets taken from textbooks for independent practice. The questions on my sheets will all be original.

I’m happy to make my files available if anyone would find them helpful – just let me know 🙂


NCETM #mathscpdchat January 21st – Polar Plotting

Tonight (7pm UK time, Tuesday 21st January) I am hosting the NCETM #mathscpdchat on the subject of “Using Technology to Enhance A-Level Maths Learning”.

As a prelude to this I am sharing a desmos creation that was heavily inspired by something posted by Steve Phelps (@giohio ) over the Christmas break.

Here is my version that does something slightly different, with a couple of options. It can be found here.

As I’m also pretty passionate about empowering other teachers to create their own versions of things using technology I produced some step-by-step instructions for creating this.

These can be downloaded here.

For discussion tonight I’m interested in starting to look at the following questions:

  1. Would you use this kind of “interactive” when teaching the sketching of polar curves?
  2. Could it lead to any misconceptions?
  3. Do you think this would have a positive impact on student understanding?
  4. As a teacher would you want to be able to create this kind of interactive?
  5. Would the skills needed to create this be useful for students to learn?

Please try and join in the discussion tonight….


Christmas Further Maths Calculated Colouring 2019

Slightly later than I had hoped due to feeling a bit under the weather here is my first Christmas Further Maths Calculated Colouring.

It is designed to be suitable for as many Year 12s as possible and includes topics such as method of differences, matrices, complex numbers, conic sections etc. Please check it is suitable, though hopefully for most classes there will only be a few questions that perhaps aren’t accessible.

This year my super talented cousin Sapphire Armitage has designed the image for me. She takes commissions through her etsy store if anyone is interested (SapphiresDesignShop) and can be found on instagram at @sapphireillustrations.

Please download the file for use with your classes here.

NB: I haven’t had much of a chance to check this one so any mistakes please let me know.


Christmas Calculated Colouring 2019

It is that time of year again…..

Here is this year’s A-Level calculated colouring – I hope your students enjoy it. The questions are of varying difficulty, some are very easy but some require a bit more thought. It should be accessible to Year 12 mathematicians.

Please download the file here

There will also be a Further Maths Calculated Colouring this year, featuring a beautiful illustration by a talented friend of mine – this should be going up on Wednesday night this week so look out for it.


Tea Cup Cardioid?

You have probably seen something like this in your cup of tea (or coffee, I don’t discriminate) before:


I’ve written a very short activity that has a little bit of conversion between forms of graphs and introduces how to import a picture into Desmos that could easily be used in the classroom. It actually works surprisingly well using Desmos on a phone.

If you wish to use it please download from here: Tea Cup Cardioid

And if you want to know more of the physics and maths behind this I recommend this Chalkdust article from Dominika Vasilkova (@dragon_dodo) – it’s a great article!


AQA Core Maths 2017 Analyser

This is a post to share something that may be useful for teachers of AQA Core Maths who have mocks coming up.

For the last couple of years I have made my own QLA analysers for Sixth Form mocks I have done, but I haven’t routinely made them for Core Maths. The main reason I do this is because I like to have a whole qualification in one file as opposed to different analysers for each paper.

I have now done so for the 2017 sitting of AQA Core Maths.

There is a main headline page that displays paper marks, calculates grades based on the option selected (I do both grades from the official boundaries published by AQA and also inflated boundaries where I add a few marks to each grade). On this page you also paste in your students’ names in to the top row.


As you can see above each paper then has a QLA page where question by question you enter the marks scored. On this page there is a brief description of the question topic, the maximum mark available and then space to enter data. This should all be validated and not allow you to enter a mark higher than the maximum mark available for a question, for example. The cells are then formatted on a sliding scale from red for 0 marks to green for full marks per question.


If you think this would be helpfully then the file can be downloaded here.

AQA Core Maths Analyser 2017


Circles – Summary Notes

To help with some revision my Year 12s were doing I have today just finished some summary notes and exercises (to be fair there are more questions than notes) on Circle Geometry.

They start from the basics as shown below:


and then progress to the more difficult problem solving questions, such as determining the equation of a circle that passes through 3 points.

Feel free to use them and download from below:


Questions with solutions

NB: This is my second post for #MathsWeekEngland. Check out their website here.


It’s “Do not Reject” not “Accept”

Today I came across (unless I just haven’t noticed it before) the first thing I haven’t liked in the new style mark schemes for the AQA AS and A-Level Maths exams..

It’s this:


I always make a really big thing about how you mustn’t say “accept” when talking about the null hypothesis as doing a hypothesis test doesn’t give any results information about the validity of life the null hypothesis.

Do you think I am being too pedantic here? I’d love to hear your thoughts?