Over the past few weeks, I have been working with a small group of Final-Year Pre-Service Maths teachers. As part of their Education degree at Flinders University, they have to complete classroom observations of Maths teachers against the Teaching for Effective Learning (TfEL) Framework. Additionally, I am lucky enough to be one of the teachers that gets to run workshops with them about different aspects of the job. At the end of each session, the same question always seems to come up, “Do you have any teaching resources?“.
Personally, I look at a teaching resource as a skeleton of a great lesson, waiting for a teacher to use it in the way that works best for them and their class. So I always find myself saying,
It’s not all about the resource, it’s about how you choose to use it.
Anyway, to make life easier and direct more people to actually read my blog, I have listed my Favourite Teaching Resources for Maths:
1. NRICH (nrich.maths.org)
This website has more problems than you can ever imagine and the best part is, they’re free. From Early Years to Senior Secondary Mathematics, NRICH has a huge collection of short, medium, and long multiple step problems for any topic you’ll ever have to teach. Most of these tasks have a ‘low floor and high ceiling’ meaning that they are easy to engage with but have scope to be investigated with much higher levels of logic and mathematical concepts. I would highly recommend spending some time going through their collections and bookmarking pages of problems in your web browser so that they (and the solutions and teacher instructions) are easy to access when you need it.
2. Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Math Collection (Google Sheet)
If you haven’t heard of Dan Meyer, look him up. His TED Talk is a good starting point to see what the principle idea is behind his methodology. Dan’s model of 3 Act Math provides a great model for teaching mathematical concepts through problem based learning activities. Loosely mapped to US Curriculum areas, this collection of lesson provides a great starting point for any maths teacher looking to engage and challenge the understanding of all students. This link, along with many other great resources can be found on his blog.
3. Desmos Classroom Activities (teacher.desmos.com)
The main thing that makes Desmos different from other graphing tools is it’s simple user interface. Students (and teachers) can easily engage with the graphing tools without many of the strict syntax and operational knowledge of other calculators. What’s even better is that there are free to use lessons made by other teachers that are fantastic. As a graphing tool, there are more powerful alternatives (such as GeoGebra) but Desmos is simply unmatched in its accessibility, allowing all students to explore the graphical representations freely.
4. Estimation 180 (estimation180.com)
Developed by Andrew Stadel, this website has a enormous collection of images and videos that present a visual problem to the students. These kind of problems can be used as a lesson starter to get students guessing an answer with an engaging video answer. I tell my students that guessing is their subconscious doing the maths. I believe that a students’ ability to “guesstimate” demonstrates an underlying understanding about the constraints and likelihood of certain answers. It is important to encourage students to consider what is a reasonable and how maths can be used to help us work towards a more accurate answer. This is a really fun resource that will change how your students engage with class discussions for all the right reasons.
5. TED Ed (ed.ted.com)
A site that seems to be growing more and more each day, TED Ed’s motto is ‘lessons worth sharing’, and that couldn’t be more true. There are many different subjects (yes there are maths ones too) with fantastic videos that never fail to engage all students in the class. As well as videos, some lessons have in-built quizzes and discussion questions to get even more out of your lesson. Before putting too much work into creating your own resource, I would strongly recommend to look at TED Ed to see what else is on offer, you may save yourself a lot of time and effort, and your students will benefit also.
As well as these resources, there are many more that I direct my students towards to help them build their mathematical understanding and early career teachers to help expand their pedagogical repertoire.
- Lessons in Maths – John Rowe (http://tiny.cc/jrowe)
- Better Explained – Kalid Azad (http://betterexplained.com)
- Dy/Dan – Dan Myer’s blog (http://blog.mrmeyer.com)
- Transforming Tasks – Val Westwell (http://www.acleadersresource.sa.edu.au/)
- 101q’s – Another Dan Meyer resource (http://www.101qs.com)
- Phillips Exter Academy (https://www.exeter.edu/)
- Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org)
- Wolfram|Alpha (http://wolframalpha.com)
- Purple Maths (https://www.purplemath.com)
- Maths Is Fun (https://www.mathsisfun.com)
Maths TED Talks:
- Geoffrey West: The Surprising Math of Cities and Corporations
- Margaret Wertheim: The Beautiful Math of Coral
- Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World
- Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover
- Conrad Wolfram: Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers
- Arthur Benjamin’s formula for changing math education
- Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals and the Art of Roughness
- Scott Rickard: The beautiful math behind the ugliest music
- Marcus Du Sautoy: Symmetry, reality’s riddle
- Ron Eglash on African fractals
For these and others, see http://www.ted.com/talks