The conference for all 11-19 mathematics teachers

27-29 June 2019

University of Bath


Scroll down to view more sessions. Click on the name of a session to see more details, book a place or remove an existing booking. There is no need to book for the plenaries.

Thursday 27 June Friday 28 June Saturday 30 June

Session A

11:15-12:15, Thursday 27 June

Making sense of the mechanics muddle

There aren’t many rules to follow in mechanics, so why do we get things wrong? This session highlights some key approaches to teaching mechanics, including practical work, modelling, questioning and technology. There will be the opportunity to reflect on how these might be implemented to best effect. Knowledge of the mechanics content of A level Mathematics will be assumed.

Teaching MEI A level Further Mathematics

In this session, we'll look at what we've learnt after two years of teaching the MEI A level in Further Mathematics. As well as insights from the presenter, we hope that participants will bring their own comments, questions and ideas about the qualification.

Core Maths Using Excel to teach financial maths

Using three tasks originally developed for Core Maths, we will explore how Excel can be used to support learning financial maths. The tasks engage participants with spreadsheet technology, showing how its iterative nature is beneficial in solving these problems. This session is for current and future teachers of Core Maths who wish to add a bit of context to their percentage multiplier lessons. Teachers should be able to work with basic Excel commands.

Delegates will require a device, preferably a laptop, with Microsoft Excel.

The teacher with tape on their face

Losing one’s voice is a threat to any teacher, but does an inability to speak mean an inability to teach? This session seeks to make a virtue of not talking by exploring how non-verbal communication can be used to promote thought and reflection in the maths classroom. The focus will be on Higher Tier GCSE topics, but the techniques are intended to be applicable across the curriculum. Begin the conference in a quiet (though not necessarily relaxing) environment.

Tackling misconceptions in GCSE resit

This workshop encourages teachers to make use of the common mistakes and misconceptions students make when resitting GCSE maths. We will look at examples to deepen understanding.

Using graphing technology for teaching parametrics

During this session, we will look at problems that help students to see parametric equations don’t exist to make life difficult, but are important and give rise to some beautiful curves. We will also explore ways in which graphing technology (calculators, GeoGebra and Autograph) can help students make sense of parametric curves for themselves. Suitable for all teachers who have taught parametric equations for A level Mathematics.

Policy update and discussion on current maths education issues and MEI's development work

This session will discuss current maths education policies, topical issues relating to maths education and MEI's current and planned development work. The session is intended to provide a forum for delegates to share opinions and ideas. The discussions will help to inform MEI's future development work.

GCSE (9-1) Mathematics assessments: What we can learn from candidate performance so far

In this session, we will look at student performance in the GCSE (9-1) Mathematics assessments to date, considering trends in how students have responded and, in particular, identifying which specific content topics and assessment objectives students are appearing to underperform in. This will be done through looking at responses to the OCR question papers, though the material and discussions covered will be useful to teachers of any GCSE (9-1) Mathematics qualification.

Session B

13:15-14:15, Thursday 27 June

Using graphing technology for teaching statistical tests

Students are now expected to use a calculator at A level. In this session, we will look at how this requirement changes how we might approach teaching, using the Casio CG-50 and other Casio calculators to support the teaching and learning of statistics at A level. This session is intended for teachers of A level who are familiar with statistical content; calculators will be provided.

The maths behind rock climbing

Rock climbing offers several contexts for modelling using techniques from AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. What role do moments and friction play? Why are climbing ropes elastic? How do you set up a safe base? Presented by two keen rock climbers, this session will discuss how these questions and others can be addressed using mathematical modelling, providing examples that could be used with A level students.

Starting off right: Core Maths in the first 4 weeks

What topics should you start with? What kind of mentality do you want to instil in your students? What kind of students are you expecting? Core Maths is still new to most teachers, and this workshop explores the importance of setting the right tone, pitching at the right level, and introducing topics that are not on the GCSE syllabus to bring a fresh start. Suitable for new and experienced Core Maths teachers, you’ll leave with fresh ideas to start the year.

Delegates are welcome to bring their own laptop or tablet, but it is not essential.

Paper folding, origami and proof

This will be a hands on session, folding paper to make a range of shapes. There will be suggestions for activities to help students explore the properties of various shapes and develop ideas of proof. The mathematical ideas are all accessible to Key Stage 3 and 4 students. Participants will be encouraged to find different ways to prove results and to consider how to support students in developing their mathematical reasoning.

Using mastery in Functional Skills and GCSE Mathematics resits

This will be a hands on session that takes elements of mathematical mastery that are effective for GCSE resits and functional maths in a post-16 setting. This session will be useful for aspiring, new or experienced resit/functional teachers. Teachers of Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 may also find this session has activities that can be used with their students. You will experience the use of bar modelling and variation to help with deeper understanding.

We need to talk about statistics

In recent years, statistics has moved away from formulae and calculation towards understanding and interpretation. For teachers and students, this means changing focus from numbers to language. During this session, we will explore practical ways in which careful use of language can help students to better understand statistics.

Famous maths problems from history

In this session, we will look at some famous maths problems from history, the characters behind them, how they were solved and how they pushed the study of maths onward. The problems used will involve a variety of mathematics from GCSE all the way to A level.

Using a Lesson Study within a maths department to develop teaching and learning

This session will explore how to develop a progressive mindset in your maths department. Looking at a successful Lesson Study that has been incorporated into an annual working cycle, we’ll talk about its methodology, successes and obstacles that need to be overcome. Delegates will return to their schools and colleges equipped and confident about bringing teaching and learning to the top of their team’s agenda.

Session C

14:30-15:30, Thursday 27 June

Dice problems

Each student in your class throws three dice. They substitute their values (a, b and c) into the function f(x)=(x-a)/((x-b)(x-c)) and sketch the graph of y=f(x). How many essentially different shapes of graph could result? In this session, we’ll explore the features of mathematically rich “dice problems”, exemplified using a range of A level topics. Dice will be provided and a knowledge of A level pure topics will be assumed.

Vectors, complex numbers and differential equations using the new Autograph

In its latest incarnation, Autograph has evolved into software that teachers and students find very straightforward to use. This session will illustrate Autograph’s simple and effective approach to three topics: vectors (2D & 3D), complex numbers (in the Argand diagram) and differential equations (1st and 2nd order).

The latest version of Autograph is provided for delegate use.

Core Maths: Project style

Core Maths isn’t just about learning maths, it’s about applying what students have learnt. This session explores the idea of teaching Core Maths in a project format, appreciating the skill required for students to be able to apply maths to a problem. It will also demonstrate several project ideas where students have been given datasets and a problem to solve, so they can practice on ‘when to use what maths’.

Delegates are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet, but this is not essential.

Quadrilaterals from the inside out

Thought activities and visualisations with quadrilaterals lead into challenges with dynamic geometry and questions of definitions and proof. The session shows how much can be achieved with basic features of the software, so no prior experience is required. Although designed for able Key Stage 3 students, it would also work as a creative revision and problem solving session for Key Stage 4 students.

Delegates will need a laptop or tablet with dynamic geometry (ideally GeoGebra) installed.

Reformed Functional Skills Mathematics (for first teaching from Sept 2019): An introduction to the new qualifications

From September 2019, new Functional Skills qualifications will be taught in centres across the country. The DfE have said that rigour, recognition and respect are the keys to success for the new qualifications, with the stated aim that they will be seen in the same light as the new GCSEs. In this session we will look at the new Functional Skills Mathematics qualifications, focusing on the changes to the content students will need to know and changes to how they will be assessed.

The rise of data science and what it means for schools and colleges

Data science is a rapidly expanding field, bringing together aspects of maths, statistics and computing and applying them to big data. This session looks at fundamental changes to employment and scholarship in light of big data and considers implications for schools and colleges, now and into the future. Participants will consider how the KS4 and KS5 curriculum could be enhanced and enriched in light of data science and explore potential future change to maths curricula.

Introduction to Integral

This session is suitable for current and prospective users of Integral and will provide an overview of the Integral website for AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Some of the latest resources and plans for future development will be explored, and feedback from users will be encouraged. Delegates will need to bring their own laptop or tablet.

Using reasoning to embed and improve problem solving

In preparing for the new GCSE in 2017, we recognised that reasoning skills were severely lacking in our students. This session explores a set of problems designed to elicit discussion, draw out misconceptions and develop reasoning skills in a bid to improve problem solving. You will have a chance to work through these problems and discuss their implementation to maximise impact on students.


16:00-17:00, Thursday 27 June

Inclusion-exclusion in mathematics: who stays in, who falls out, why it happens, and what we could do about it - Dr Eugenia Cheng

The question of why women are under-represented in mathematics is complex and there are no simple answers, only many contributing factors. I will focus on character traits, and argue that if we focus on this rather than gender we can have a more productive and less divisive conversation. To try and focus on characters rather than genders I will introduce gender-neutral character adjectives "ingressive" and "congressive" as a new dimension to shift our focus away from masculine and feminine. I will share my experience of teaching congressive abstract mathematics to art students, in a congressive way, and the possible effects this could have for everyone in mathematics, not just women. I will present the field of Category Theory as a particularly congressive subject area, accessible to bright high school students, and contrast it with the types of math that are often used to push or stimulate those students. No prior knowledge will be needed.

Session D

17:15-18:15, Thursday 27 June

Experiences with teaching hands-on mathematical modelling

At previous MEI conferences, we introduced delegates to freely downloadable step-by-step mathematical modelling teaching resources. These resources can be found at Primarily aimed at A level Mathematics and Core Maths, the problems don't require calculus and are accessible at upper GCSE. This session will give delegates the chance to try out a new set of problems, to give feedback, and to share experience on effective approaches to teach problem solving and modelling.

Teaching topics for statistics in A level Further Mathematics

In this session, we will take a practical approach to teaching the different non-parametric tests that crop up in the different A level Further Mathematics specifications. Teachers need to be familiar with the content of Further Mathematics statistics but don’t necessarily need to have teaching experience with the qualification.

Exploring the AMSP's support for Core Maths

In this session, we will try out some of the online resources produced by the AMSP to support Core Maths students. The resources are suitable for all of the Core Maths specifications and are available free of charge.

Delegates must bring their own device (laptop or tablet) as this session involves use of online resources.

Secondary Teaching for Mastery

Teaching for Mastery is becoming more widespread in primary schools, so it's important that secondary educators take note of these developments and that we review our own practices. In this session, we will outline the key principles of Teaching for Mastery and look at some of the ways secondary teachers are implementing these approaches to benefit their pupils. Most of this session will be 'from the front' but there will be some maths and discussion time.

Digital technology for GCSE re-sit

Online whizz or digital novice, this session offers something for everyone. Looking at the best technology to support your learners, we'll explore ideas that you can take away and use with your GCSE resit classes. We'll also have the opportunity to look at technology that can be used inside and outside of the classroom to enhance the GCSE resit experience.

Delegates will need to bring their own device (laptop or tablet).

Raising Participation at A level: Paving the way into the unknown

In this session, we will examine the negative impact that the "great unknown" of A level content can have on a student's perception of their ability to study maths post-GCSE. We will discuss the disproportionate effect this has on female students and consider ways to minimise the fear factor of A level study, including offering introductions to Key Stage 5 topics during GCSE. This session is appropriate to teachers of Key Stage 4 upwards; some familiarity of AS Mathematics and AS Further Mathematics content is useful.

Delegates will need to bring a laptop or smartphone with GeoGebra installed.

Connections between pure and applied maths

Linear A levels encourage students to make connections between topics in pure maths and mechanics and statistics. In this session, we'll explore all of the connections between content of A level Mathematics, even dipping into some A level Further Mathematics content.

Binary maths

How does your calculator sum seven and negative four? How can your favourite mathematical software display two thirds as a recurring decimal? Explore the base-2 numeral system, beyond representing positive integers, and find out about the mathematical calculations happening inside every computer. Delegates will develop their understanding of binary numbers and have an opportunity to learn about an enriching cross-curricular context. Please note: the only computer needed for this session is you!

Session E

09:00-10:00, Friday 28 June

Using GeoGebra to support problem solving in AS/A level Mathematics

This hands-on session will explore how GeoGebra can support problem solving in AS/A level Mathematics, focusing on pure maths topics. Some familiarity with basic features of GeoGebra will be assumed. You will need to bring a laptop with GeoGebra installed.

Delegates will need to bring a laptop with GeoGebra Classic installed.

The best and worst of university admissions tests

University admissions tests provide a wealth of interesting and challenging problems. In this lighthearted session, we'll look through questions from the STEP, MAT and TMUA papers, looking at the best and worst for developing problem solving skills. Delegates will hopefully leave the session with a better idea of what questions on admissions papers are like.

What are students of A level Business, Biology, Geography and Psychology expected to do with maths

In their technical guidance, the DfE emphasises that Core Maths is “particularly valuable for students progressing to higher education courses with a distinct mathematical or statistical element”. This session explores the relationship between the topics studied in Core Maths and the maths found in in Psychology, Biology, Geography and Business A level.

Mathedramatics, the sequel: Drama in the maths classroom

For teachers who are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and banish desks! Building on the critically acclaimed 2018 conference session, Mathedramatics returns to explore GCSE topics through dramatic techniques such as roleplay and storytelling. Though it draws on the content of last year's session, this session will certainly end up in very different places and therefore previous attendance is neither an advantage nor a barrier. This session will be fully interactive and probably quite silly; please come prepared to get involved.

Percentages through the Key Stages

This interactive workshop looks at the journey of percentages from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5. We'll have the chance to discover how students at different levels approach similar problems, and to develop an awareness of how we can build on students' prior experience. It is aimed at teachers of all levels.

Using graphing technology for teaching regression

This session is primarily aimed at teachers wishing to develop techniques for more effective use of technology when teaching A level regression topics and related statistical and pure content. Graphical calculator handsets will be provided, along with student and teacher worksheets, and additional software resources such as GeoGebra will be demonstrated.

Delegates are encouraged to bring their own device (laptop or tablet), but this is not essential.

A level Mathematics assessments: What we can learn from candidate performance so far

By looking at responses to the OCR question papers, we will look at how students performed in the first series of the reform, with a focus on the new structure, content and assessment objectives. The discussions and activities should be useful to teachers of any AS/A level Mathematics qualification.

Delegates may like to bring their own calculator.

Make some maths: hands-on enrichment

In this session, we will get hands-on with some enrichment ideas that can be adapted to suit a variety of audiences. No particular mathematical knowledge beyond GCSE techniques will be assumed. Come prepared to get involved, and maybe even get your hands wet!!


10:30-11:30, Friday 28 June

Modelling evolution - Professor Alison Etheridge

In 1859, Charles Darwin published `On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection' and in 1866, Gregor Mendel published the paper that established the essentials of our modern understanding of inheritance. Although we now regard these two theories as inseparable, Mendel's work was largely forgotten until the beginning of the 20th Century when, ironically, it deepened divides in the academic community over the mechanism of evolution. Indeed by 1910, Mendelian genetics was a thriving field of research, but it was widely believed to be incompatible with Darwinian selection. When the two fields were finally reconciled, the mathematical sciences played a crucial role. In this talk we shall outline some of the rich interplay between population genetics and the mathematical sciences and explain how even rather simple mathematical models can have important implications for the ways in which we look at genetic data.

Session F

11:45-12:45, Friday 28 June

How do you solve a problem like Maryam? Proof and problem solving at A level

This session will look at proof, its fundamental place in problem solving and why one is impossible without the other. The session is laced with questions to get your teeth into and is inspired by the life and work of Maryam Mirzakhani.

Using graphing technology for teaching calculus

In this hands-on session, we will explore the use of a graphical calculator in teaching aspects of calculus at A level. We will explore how students can grasp the concepts of tangents and stationary points, and investigate those tricky integrations of ‘negative’ areas and between curves. Graphical calculator handsets will be provided, along with student and teacher worksheets.

Appealing to girls

In this session, we will explore how the brain works and examine how and what girls like to learn. We’ll look at research into what influences girls to study maths post-16, and explore some projects that have proven successful in encouraging girls into STEM subjects. There will be opportunities for discussion, and you’ll go away with classroom strategies to use with your keen – and not so keen – female maths students.

Using concrete manipulatives in the classroom

There continues to be much debate surrounding the use of concrete manipulatives in the classroom both in research and amongst teachers. So, what is the verdict? If they are useful, what are they useful for? If not, why not? Delegates can reflect on and share their own experiences as we do the maths using the manipulatives and explore the research into their use in the classroom.

Using multiple choice questions to assess mathematical application and thinking

What makes a good or bad multiple choice question? In this interactive session, we will be answering and editing multiple choice questions, highlighting important points including inclusivity, accessibility, and appropriate incorrect responses. We will also look at the assessment of problem solving and creative thinking. This session is appropriate to all those teaching and assessing post-16 maths and dealing with the transition from school to university.

Making independent mathematicians

The benefits of teaching a set of "independent mathematicians" are great, but helping students take ownership of their learning has been a consistent challenge in Further Education. In this session, we'll look at strategies for developing their independent learning skills such as peer teaching, mentoring and other ideas to try in the classroom. This will focus predominately post-16 examples; however, the approaches from the session can be applied to a variety of contexts.

But do they understand?

This session will include examples taken from Higher Tier GCSE Mathematics, but the discussions and activities can be applied to Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 5. Sharing results and thoughts from an investigation done with a Year 10 class, we’ll look at how they coped with questions that challenge pupils’ understanding, such as “solve x^2-4x+5=0”. We will then discuss whether these types of questions are helpful to our teaching, and create further questions as a group to take back to our classrooms.

What's the difference between a puzzle and a maths question?

Are puzzles and maths questions different? If so, how do you define a boundary between them? Does it matter anyway? In this session, we’ll explore how to make maths engaging to a wider audience.

Session G

14:15-15:15, Friday 28 June

Mechanics: A Review of the Principles

In this session, we'll review some of the basic principles of mechanics in A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. The aim is to clarify them, provide some background and discuss how they can be taught. This session is suitable for anyone teaching or planning to teach mechanics, and hopefully there will be something for everyone regardless of their level of knowledge.

Further Pure with Technology

Further Pure with Technology (FPT) is an MEI A level Further Mathematics option in which mathematical software is used in the teaching, learning and assessment. It includes graphing, solving differential equations, and programming. This session will describe the innovative approach to using technology in FPT as well as looking at some classroom materials and strategies for how you can offer this option to your students.

Delegates will need a laptop with a graphing package and Computer Algebra System (CAS), such as GeoGebra.

A review of student performance in the OCR Core Maths assessments

This session will provide an analysis of student performance in the two OCR Core Maths specifications, the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning (MEI) and the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving (MEI). We will review the performance in the three component question papers for the past exam series, identifying common mistakes, misconceptions and challenging question types to inform delivery in forthcoming years.

Improving Year 6 to 7 transition

For anyone working with students as they move from Year 6 to Year 7, this session will consider the similarities and differences between the maths that students experience. We will explore approaches and strategies to improve coherence in key areas of the curriculum and look at resources to support those who are at risk of not making continued progress as they move into Key Stage 3.

Using graphing technology for teaching transformations

This hands-on session explores how to use graphing technology to support the teaching and learning of transformations of functions at A level. It may also be suitable for anyone teaching this topic to a Higher Tier GCSE class. Participants do not need to bring any equipment as Casio CG50 calculators will be provided. No prior experience of using a graphical calculator is required.

Exams: Expecting the unexpected

With the new syllabuses and challenging specimen papers, we increasingly find ourselves needing to think up questions for our students that are not 'standard'. This session will include an opportunity to attempt a number of questions relating to Key Stage 3-5 and we will discuss some of the thought processes involved. You are welcome to bring your own 'outside-the-box' questions to share with others. A handout of the questions will be available to take away with you.

Cutting up squares

How can you cut a 6 by 6 square into two pieces which can be rearranged to make a 9 by 4 rectangle? Can you dissect a square into triangles that are all acute angled? In this session, we’ll look at problems which provide enrichment material for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students across a wide range of attainment levels.

Session H

15:45-16:45, Friday 28 June

Bitesize GeoGebra

This session will showcase a number of ways that you can use GeoGebra. Some of these ideas have a pedagogical focus and are designed to provoke thinking about the use of GeoGebra in the classroom. Other ideas demonstrate the versatile functionality of GeoGebra, and are designed to spark your creativity!

Delegates will need to bring a laptop or tablet with GeoGebra installed.

Graph Theory: Planarity and Kuratowski's theorem

Several awarding organisations now include various aspects of planar graphs in the discrete/decision maths section of their A level Further Mathematics specifications. In this session, we'll look at an overview of planarity and show how all these different ideas link together. This session will be accessible to anyone with basic knowledge of Graph Theory terminology and will be particularly appropriate to teachers of discrete/decision maths.

Delegates are encouraged to bring a tablet or smartphone, although this is not essential.

Core Maths: What's Core and Where's the Maths?

Using actual student responses, examination statistics and insights from teachers, this session will help you to get the most from AQA's Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths) qualification. There will be opportunities for questions, discussion and to get hands on with some marking. This session will be suitable for all teachers of Core Maths, whether experienced with Level 3 Mathematical Studies or wanting to learn more about the qualification, how it is taught and how it is assessed.

Practising when that's not the point

Becoming familiar with ideas and techniques through practise is vital to learning maths. However, repetitive practise requires little thinking and can lead to minimal learning and motivation. We will explore tasks that provide practise with a different goal and consider how to develop similar tasks. The content is suitable for KS3 teachers and above.

Year 5 to 8 Continuity

For anyone involved in working with students as they move from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3, this session will look at effective ways of developing consistency and coherence in curriculum and pedagogical approaches. We will engage with key aspects of maths from Years 5–8 and consider how foundations are laid in Key Stage 2 ahead of students making the transition to Key Stage 3.

Supporting teachers through lesson observations

In this session, we reflect on the role and purpose of teacher observations in the maths classroom, different models of observations and the nature of developmental feedback. The session leaders have extensive experience of conducting lesson observations as part of MEI's Teaching A level Mathematics (TAM), a year-long course designed to support teachers who are new to teaching AS/A level Mathematics.

Statistical experiments for hypothesis testing in the classroom

Textbook examples of hypothesis testing have the danger of appearing “unreal” to students, and can be hard to access. This hands-on session uses data collected in the classroom (with a bit of fun!) to explain hypothesis testing. We will look at ideas on how to introduce hypothesis testing to students, and also explore some tests you can replicate in your own classrooms.

Embedding NRICH tasks in the 11-19 maths curriculum

The NRICH website has been running for more than 20 years, and the site contains a wealth of free resources for teaching maths at all levels. In this workshop, we will work together on some of our recent Key Stage 3 and 4 tasks, and discuss how to use them effectively to teach 11-19 maths students.

We will be looking at how to find content on the site, as well as showing off some of our latest interactive content; delegates are therefore encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet, although this is not essential.

Session I

09:00-10:00, Saturday 29 June

Using the GeoGebra graphing app for A level Mathematics

This hands-on session is an opportunity to try some of the tasks MEI have developed for integrating the student use of graphing technology into your A level lessons. This session is ideal if you are wanting to explore using tablets or smartphones in lessons.

Delegates will need to bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop to this session.

First Order Recurrence Relations

Mathematical sequences arise in a wide range of contexts, such as finance and population growth. First Order Recurrence Relations are those which have an iterative rule based only on the preceding. In this session, we will explore different ways of deriving the nth term for the iterative rule. No prior knowledge is required, and there will be a follow-up conference session on Secondary Order Recurrence Relations.

What is Core Maths? (Quiz)

This quiz is designed as a fun, interactive introduction to Core Maths. We will consider the underlying ethos of Core Maths and what the course is trying to achieve. There will be an opportunity to work on some Core Maths style problems and Fermi estimation.

A Feast of Maths

The AMSP runs around 100 Maths Feasts every year to challenge Year 10s across England – but how well will we do when faced with the questions? This is your chance to take part, with prizes to be won! You can make up a team beforehand, or join one when you get there. All maths involved is accessible to Year 10 students.

Visualising functions with mapping diagrams: From linear and quadratic to exponential and trigonometric

Using recent work with GeoGebra on mapping diagrams, an alternative to graphs, we will explore visualizations that can help students understand functions. Diagrams for simple polynomial as well as exponential and trigonometric functions will be considered as well as the relation of quadratic and cubic equations to their complex number solutions.

Delegates are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet with GeoGebra installed, although this is not essential.

The Sacred Geometry of Chance

In his ‘90s song ‘The Shape of My Heart’, Sting sang about a poker player finding beauty in the “hidden laws” of probability, and numbers leading him on a dance. This interactive talk explores the maths of poker, looks at some surprising hidden laws, and investigates the dancing numbers of the bifurcation diagram and the dawn of Chaos Theory. Music may also occur!

Using graphing technology in teaching mechanics

In this session, we will look at how the Casio CG-50 graphic calculator can be used to explore kinematics. We will look at ways in which we can practically collect suitable data that can be used to model mechanics problems, and how we can use the calculators to explore examination type questions from the new specification A levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics. The session will provide you with a number of ideas for simple practicals that can be undertaken in the classroom with no specialised equipment.

The maths of Dobble

I asked myself some simple questions about the game called Dobble, which turned out to be rather deep. I will invite you to come with me on my journey, and perhaps you can add some insights which I have missed.

Session J

10:15-11:15, Saturday 29 June

Teaching MEI A level Mathematics

In this session, we'll look at what we've learnt after two years of teaching the MEI A level in Mathematics. As well as insights from the presenter, we hope that participants will bring their own comments, questions and ideas about the qualification.

Second Order Recurrence Relations

This session is an extension to the earlier session on First Order Recurrence Relations. Second Order Recurrence Relations are those which have an iterative rule based on the two proceeding terms. This has some parallels with Second Order Differential Equations, and some knowledge of the latter will be important in understanding this session.

Some ideas with Excel for Core Maths

Core Maths expects students to have some elementary statistical knowledge. While some attention to calculation can be helpful in getting students to understand concepts such as the mean or standard deviation, statistics really comes alive when working with data. Excel, or any other available spreadsheet package, can be used to do this. I suggest some possible exercises and accessible sources of data to explore.

Delegates are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet with Microsoft Excel installed, although this is not essential.

Planning teaching for Mastery at KS3&4

In a very practical way, we’ll explore how the principles of teaching for mastery can be applied to a range of maths topics, and discuss the benefits, challenges and controversies of this approach along the way.

Visualising calculus with mapping diagrams: Making sense of differentiation and integration

Understanding differentiation and integration are important challenges of the calculus. Mapping diagrams – frequently coupled with tables – are a valuable alternative to graphs for visualising these concepts. We will start with the basics of mapping diagrams to visualise linear functions, the differential, the chain rule, and solving differential equations. Using GeoGebra, we will then explore mapping diagrams for integration theory and practice to make sense of the Fundamental Theorems of Calculus. Delegates are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet with GeoGebra installed.

We're teaching Pi wrong – here's why

Pi is wrong! Well, 3.14... isn't wrong, but is it the right choice for the circle constant? There is a compelling argument that we should instead use 6.28... – i.e. the ratio of the circumference to the radius, as this makes much of the maths more elegant. But it's only a factor of 2, right? Should we be bothered? Many think history has spoken and the debate is settled. For teachers, however, the debate is still on!

Let's Play with Lego

This session is appropriate for anybody who wants to learn more about Operational Research, or just wants to play with Lego! I will demonstrate one of the interactive workshops we offer, aimed mainly at GCSE and A level classes. We'll also look at the free resources we have available to teachers looking to demonstrate real life uses of maths.

Exploring maths resources at Key Stage 3 and 4

Aimed at both new and experienced teachers of Key Stage 3 and 4 maths, this session will explore some great maths resources and discuss how to use them effectively in the classroom. We’ll think about what makes resources work well and compare different types of activity. We’ll also look at how task design has changed over time and how resources are developed and adapted based on the latest research.

Session K

11:45-12:45, Saturday 29 June

Six Concepts – Supporting GCSE 5/6 at A level

If you could be confident that your new Year 12 maths students had a fully confident understanding of just six key concepts from GCSE, what would those concepts be? In this session, we'll look at forming cross-department policy to support the transfer from GCSE to post-16 maths.

Using graphing technology for teaching the binomial distribution

The binomial distribution frequently causes students confusion – it isn't symmetrical, it is discrete; is it related to the binomial theorem or not? We will explore how to deepen students' understanding of this important distribution using handheld technology.

My first year teaching Core Maths: The good, the bad and the ugly

Following his first year of teaching Core Maths, the speaker will discuss his experience of starting to teach the qualification – including what didn't go so well! The session will also explore good resources and is suitable for prospective, new or experienced Core Maths teachers.

A Teaching for Mastery approach to quadratics

Many GCSE students find quadratics difficult. Achieving a proper grasp of quadratics can be a turning point in a student's mathematical development. Teaching for Mastery techniques, as explained by the NCETM, can support the development of the learning needed to enable students to grasp quadratics properly. This session will explore how Teaching for Mastery can be applied to the teaching of quadratics.

Some interesting results about polynomials

In this session, we'll develop polynomial ideas through group problem solving. We'll explore polynomial properties beyond purely quantitative calculations, involving their roots and exploring qualitative features. This session welcomes teachers of A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics, in particular those looking to explore polynomials beyond 'finding roots'.

GeoGebra for Beginners

In this session, we will explore some of the basic functionality of GeoGebra, and there will be opportunities for delegates to create their own GeoGebra resources to aid effective teaching and learning in the classroom. Examples will mainly be taken from AS pure maths content, although GeoGebra can be applied to topics across any Key Stage. No knowledge of GeoGebra is necessary.

Delegates should bring their own laptop with the latest version of GeoGebra (ideally GeoGebra Classic 5) installed.

Ideas for using the MEI data sets in the classroom

In this session, we will consider practical activities that students and teachers can undertake with the OCR B (MEI) datasets in order to gain familiarity with the datasets, learn different statistical concepts and develop their statistical literacy.

Delegates will need to bring a laptop which has spreadsheet software and GeoGebra Classic 5 installed.

The Remainder Theorem revisited

The remainder theorem seems like an innocent piece of work at A level; useful but perhaps unexceptional. Sadly, it has been removed from the syllabus. But could there be some hidden gold in there? Starting from a home-grown question, this session offers an investigation into where the remainder theorem plays a key role. It's a chance to explore a neat piece of maths and hopefully generate something new of your own.

Delegates are encouraged to bring a laptop with a CAS program (e.g. GeoGebra) installed, although this is not essential.


13:45-14:45, Saturday 29 June

How I wish I'd taught maths: 18 months on - Craig Barton

18 months since the release of my book, How I wish I'd taught maths, the time has come to reflect on some of the book's key ideas. Having had the pleasure of trying them with students all around the world, and watching hundreds of teachers put them to practice in their own classrooms, what ideas have had the biggest impact, and how have the ideas been improved? I have also had chance to reflect on some of the book's more controversial ideas, including Silent Teacher, my campaign to ban all classroom displays, and of course my (dangerous and clueless) take on variation theory. In this plenary I will delve into some of this and more.

Session L

15:15-16:15, Saturday 29 June

Linking mechanics and pure maths

In this session, we will explore links between pure maths and mechanics. Using three or four mechanics topics from AS/A level Mathematics which provide opportunities to apply pure maths, we will consider how the activities we choose can encourage students to make connections between different areas of maths. We'll also think about the implications of this teaching. A working knowledge of AS/A level Mathematics content is necessary to get the most out of this session.

The Flipped Classroom Approach for A level: Theory & Practice

The Flipped Classroom Approach (FCA) swaps traditional classroom & homework activities. Students view & take notes from videos at home and solve problems in class. This allows for more support from teachers and broadening of learning activities. Drawing on our research with A level teachers & students, we will look at to what extent the FCA supports greater depth, connection and understanding and discuss good (and practicably possible!) practice within the FCA. This session is relevant to all Key Stage 3-5 teachers.

Introducing and Promoting Core Maths

This session is aimed at teachers who would like support and information on how to go about setting up Core Maths at their school or college. We will look at how you can fit the course into your timetable, possible solutions to alleviate staffing issues and ideas of how to recruit students on to the course.

Topsy-turvey maths teaching

How do you dream up ideas and resources for the classroom? In this session, we will explore how topsy-turvey maths teaching has evolved and what its underlying principles are. We will look at practical examples to take back to the classroom to support you with your own topsy-turvey lessons.

Squaring the Circle and Other Shapes

Often in class students practise techniques for constructing objects using a ruler and compass without any obvious application. Quadrature is the process of constructing a square of equal area to another plane shape. In this session we will use ruler and compasses to construct squares and use algebraic reasoning to confirm that the area of the square is equivalent to the original shape. A brief history of quadrature will be covered.

Using GeoGebra in the statistics classroom

In this session, we will be exploring how the spreadsheet (statistics) and probability calculator functions in GeoGebra can be used to support the teaching of statistical concepts in both AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. We will also look at some simulations that others have written to illustrate particular concepts. This session is intended for those teaching statistics at A level.

Delegates will need a laptop with spreadsheet software and GeoGebra Classic 5 installed.

Using graphing technology for teaching A level Further Mathematics

This hands-on session will focus on activities for using graphical calculators to enhance students’ understanding of some of the main topics in the pure maths elements of A level Further Mathematics. There will be an opportunity to try some student tasks for complex numbers, matrices, polar curves, vectors and calculus as well as a discussion about how to integrate these into your lessons.

Graphical calculators will be provided for use during the session and no previous experience of using them is required.

Key Stage 5 coordinator development: Funsize taster

This informal taster of the AMSP's Key Stage 5 Coordinator Development course looks at ideas for development your Key Stage 5 team, spiced with some fun maths problems.