A-Level 2017

So… I’m expecting to be busy with blogging in the next week or so. I will be commenting on and giving my feelings about all the specifications and specimen papers being released for the new A-Level Maths and Further Maths qualifications tomorrow (9th June 2016).

I’m currently enjoying the AQA webinar and I love what I am seeing so far.

I have set up a Dropbox Folder where I will put all specifications and associated resources from all boards as soon as possible so that I (and you) can access them in one place!

I’m excited for tomorrow to come!

#mathsjournalclub Poll for the Sixth Chat

As promised, here is a chance to vote on the next #mathsjournalclub article. The poll will be open until the 9th June and then we will discuss the chosen article on Monday 11th July at 8pm – this will be the last chat before the summer holiday.

The choices are as follows (thanks to Rob Beckett and Danny Brown for some suggestions):

 

Vote here!!

I look forward to finding out what article you decide 🙂

Complex Loci

Complex loci and transformations in the complex plane are probably my least favourite topics to teach in A-Level Further Maths. It feels very negative to say that, but I don’t think I am alone! I also think it is one of the hardest topics for students to get their heads around in the further maths A-Level.

Last week I posted on Twitter asking if anyone had a complex loci card sort and Hannah (@LorHRL) pointed me into the direction of this one on TES. However being a Mac user it wasn’t easy for me to open the Microsoft Publisher file I decided to make my own using Geogebra.


Download the card sort here to use with your classes. 

Teaching KS5 Mathematics

On Friday 20th May 2016 I was lucky enough to be asked to lead a session for the University of Nottingham maths PGCE students on teaching KS5 mathematics. It was three hours long and I really enjoyed doing the session and working with a great group of PGCE students.

I have embedded the presentation below, and you can also view it here.

 

FP1 Revision Relay

Tomorrow is the last day for FP1 revision with classes. I have just made a relay activity to use tomorrow so thought i would share it here in case it is useful for anyone else.

Screenshot 2016-05-18 22.29.09

The questions are here. I am intending on running this like the UKMT Team Challenge relays with one person working on the odd numbered questions and one person working on the even numbered questions.

I hope it is useful.

 

The Fifth #mathsjournalclub Discussion

On the 9th of May we discussed “Fifty years of A-level mathematics: Have standards changed?” by Ian Jones, Chris Wheadon, Sara Humphries and Matthew Inglis. A pre-print of the article is available here since the published article is behind a paywall.

https://storify.com/tajbennison/mathsjournalclub-discussion-5-a-level-standards#publicize

We were lucky enough to have one of the author’s take part in the discussion and he provided some important insights. I feel that having the authors take part in the twitter chats is very powerful and something I hope we will see more of in the future.

Later this week I will release a poll for the next article, you have a few days to send me any suggestions – please make sure that they are open access 🙂

I will also announce the date for the John Mason article chat as soon as I have one.

 

Should we mark “mathematical style” at A-Level? 

Something that I have been meaning to write about for ages and seemed pertinent to today’s #mathscpdchat hosted by Rob Beckett (@RBeckett_Yd) is the idea of mathematical style. 

I’m often saying to my A-Level students that mathematics isn’t just about succeeding at getting an answer. The steps to the answer are the most important along with being able to structure a mathematical argument that is stylish. 

Style and mathematical elegance is of course subjective, but I am beginning to think style should be assessed in A-Level examinations. The proposed problem solving questions with multiple possible approaches would be ideal for this. I believe a comparative judgment on “the most mathematically elegant” approach would be a robust way of assessing this. 

As an example, to me, for the below question the first approach is significantly more elegant than differentiating! 


What do you think?