Web Whizz Videos – from Mr Barton
Collection Author: Craig Barton - Maths AST and creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com (TES Name: mrbartonmaths)
One of the most popular pages on my website has always been my Links to the Best Maths Websites in the World , where I pick out some of my favourite maths websites and write a short description about them. There are a few problems with this. Firstly, even though I have tried my best to be selective, there are just far too many good maths websites out there, so even picking out my favourites results in a list of well over 40. Secondly, the sad fact is that as teachers we often do not have the time to play around with a maths website, discovering all the gems that lie within it. Finally, the way I use a maths website could well be different to the way other teachers use it (I have a tendency to miss the blindingly obvious).
Hopefully this new video series will solve all of those problems. Each week I will spend 5 minutes taking you on a tour around a different maths website. Some will be familiar to most viewers, some may not be. In the videos I will show you how I use the website, highlighting some of my favourite resources, and most useful sections.
And then it is over to you. On each video page there is a comments section where you can add in your suggestions for using the website, or mention your favourite resources within it. Hopefully, by the end of the series we will have a really useful resource – a collection of the best maths websites around, complete with videos and discussion.
And of course, if you have any suggestions for websites for me to look at, just drop me an email to email@example.com
- It is so much more than a website of puzzles. The Curriculum Mapping documents, breadth of topics covered, and teacher support make this website simply indispensable.
- It’s the home of the fantastic Maths Challenges and also one of the first places I visit if I want some rich, challenging problems for students of all ages and abilities. And what about the twist they put on Fizz Buzz?… classic!
- There are few search engines that can rival Google, but for a mathematician, Wolfram Alpha certainly comes close. It is incredibly powerful and incredibly fun too. Are Craigs more popular than Kates and how often are people talking about mathematics? Wolfram Alpha has the answer.
- The National Library of Visual Manipulative is a fantastic website crammed full of really impressive little applets. These applets provide interesting and innovative ways for visualising some of the most important concepts in maths. I am a particular fan of the congruent triangles resource and the balance beam for solving linear equations. A lovely website that is certainly worth a visit.
- Something a bit different this week - a really interesting set of online “calculators” from Cleave Books. Now, these are not your standard calculators. Oh no, these allow you and your students to calculate everything you could possibly want to know about 2D and 3D shapes, as well as everything from the Cost of Living to units of alcohol. This lends itself nicely to some rich challenging questions to pose to your students.
- This is one of my “must visit on a regular basis” websites. It is a blog set up by a very enthusiastic and talented teacher that certainly keeps me up to date on the latest exciting developments in maths teaching and technology. There are gems such as online interactive whiteboards and collections of amazing rich tasks. If you subscribe to the website (for free!) you get a lovely email telling you each time a new post has been added. A brilliant website.
- Mr Reddy’s Geometry Toolbox is an absolutely essential tool when I am trying to teach students about measuring and constructing. Whether it’s drawing line of 7cm, measuring an angle of 40 degrees, or trying to use a compass, you can guarantee that mistakes will be made. But with the ability to carry out very clear demonstrations thanks to Mr Reddy, you might just get through these lessons with some of your hair left in place.
- Google can always be relied upon to come up with the goods, and this little website is no exception. Google have taken all of the 5.2million books that they have access to from the last 200 years, analysed all 500 billion words of them, and made it possible to search for the relative frequency of any of the words within them. So, how does garlic compare to onion over the last couple of centuries? How about radio, television and the internet? Lots of fun with numbers and graphs to be had here.
- I am always on the look-out for short, snappy activities that are related to things going on in the real world to hammer home the relevance of maths to my students. Well, for that aim this amazing website is simply a Godsend. Each day new activities appear based around current news stories. Whether it be tennis, the new host of Countdown or the destruction of the Brazilian Rainforest, you can be sure that MathsFlash has a starter activity lined up for you. Enjoy.
- We return to the NRICH website to have a look at their annual offering of an advent calendar. But this is not your usual advent calendar because behind each door instead of a chocolate treat you will find… a mathematical treat! One lovely problem for each of the days leading up to Christmas. NRICH produces the goods once again. Ho, ho, ho!
- It’s that time of the year where you may be tempted to throw a little bit of a… sharp intake of breath… “fun lesson” into the mix, and in my opinion there is no better fun lesson that one involving a quiz. Here are a few ideas and resources to help you put together an award-winning Christmas Quiz that might just make those last few lessons pass a little quicker. Merry Christmas and I will return with more videos in the new year.
- Anyone who knows me or has watched my videos will know I am slightly obsessed with Statistics. My teaching of statistics has been revolutionised by Gapminder World and Guardian Data Blog, and now here comes another absolutely fantastic statistical website. With Nationmaster you can very quickly and clearly make comparisons between countries using thousands of interesting, up to date statistics. Its ability to then dig out both positive and negative correlations and direct you to related statistics make this website, in my opinion, a must visit before teaching any data handling topics.
- If one amazing mathematics blog wasn’t enough for you, well how about two! Following on from Colleen Young’s excellent blog we now have Number Loving. This blog is simply rammed packed full of the latest mathematical news and developments. There are loads of free resources and lots of great ideas that the authors have kindly shared, all for free. It is definitely worth signing up to. Thank you Sharon and Laura!
- This week it is the turn of the Murderous Maths Website, which is the online home of the excellent Murderous Maths series of books. Just like the books, this site is absolutely crammed packed full of fascinating maths tricks, features and activities. I pick out a couple of my favourites, and also suggest a way that this website could be used for an interesting maths project with your pupils.
- iTunes U is a feature of Apple’s iTunes service where universities and education providers from all over the world have uploaded complete courses, with videos, notes, homeworks, on a whole variety of subjects, all completely free. Mathematics is really well represented. Here we take a look at a Statistics course from Harvard, and then at an excellent series of puzzles from Cambridge called Quite Easily Done (QED). This is a fantastic resource with potential to help both teachers and students.
- Mathematics has one of the richest, most interesting histories of all the subjects, full of sparks of genius and shady goings on, and yet this is largely something that students are ignorant of. The wonderful Mac Tutor History of Mathematics website can rectify all of this, providing a comprehensive catalogues of all the big (and not so big) names in Mathematics.
- An oldie but a goodie here! Count On used to be one of my most visited websites in my early years of teaching. It has been a while since it was last updated, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t excellent stuff on here. We take a quick look at some of the games before focussing our attention on an excellent analysis of common mathematical misconceptions which could be sued a stimulus for departmental meetings.
- My number one source for keeping up to date with all the latest developments in maths resources and ideas are blogs. A load of them have sprung up over the last twelve months, and their quality is absolutely unbelievable. In this video we take a quick look at some of my favourites, including posts about flipped classrooms, thoughts and crosses, teaching crushes, World Maths Day and so much more. And can I personally say a massive thank you to all the kind, talented, dedicated and generous people who run them.
- Two issues that I regularly face in my teaching are: 1) trying to think of relevant, engaging activities to hook the students in and 2) making effective use of any computer room lessons I am lucky enough to secure. The Get the Math website might just solve both of these problems. It contains three detailed, rich, engaging, interactive activities about how mathematics is used in the real world. The one we look at in details concerns two hip-hop artists whose drum-beat and sample are not in time. What maths is needed to sort the mix out? This is a really high-quality website.
- Magic is one of the few things that fascinates all students, regardless of age and ability. Mathematics (of course) is the most important subject in the world. Therefore, if you can bring these two great subjects together, wonderful things will ensue. This free manual of mathematical magic is packed to the brim with amazing magical tricks, all of which have a fundamental mathematical basis. In this video we look at some of the tricks, and think more widely about how they might be used in the classroom.
- Numberphile is an amazing collection of quirky, interesting and inspirational mathematical videos. The topics covered are wide ranging to say the least, from the wonders of 1729, to birthdays, Googolplex and e. Here we take a look at a few of the videos and then talk about possible uses of the videos in the classroom, both to end a lesson in style or as the basis of a rich, practical project for students.
- Data and Statistics are still burdened with the unfortunate reputation of being rather dull topics in maths. This I highly unfair, and there are few more important and relevant mathematical topics to the lives of students and the word around them. Previously in this Web Whizz Video series we have looked at the outstanding Gapminder World, Wolfram Alpha and Guardian Data Blog, which can help bring statistics to life, and My Life in Numbers deserves to sit alongside those. Just wait until you see your students’ reaction to the number of heartbeats Justin Bieber has had, and how David Beckham’s earnings tick by quicker than the passing seconds. Excellent stuff.
- In Web Whizz Video 16 we looked at the outstanding Number Loving Blog. Well, not content with conquering the world of blogging, Sharon and Laura have put together an accompanying resources website, and what a website it is! You won’t find many boring PowerPoints and worksheets. Oh no, on Number Loving you will come across mysteries, collective memories, treasure hunts, top trumps, and much, much more. Here we look at 5 resources just to give you a flavour of what this amazing website has to offer.
- In recent weeks I don’t mind confessing that I have become more than a little obsessed with Don Steward’s outstanding Median Blog. The quality and variety of the resources on offer is simply world class. I absolutely adore the almost random nature of the resources produced. In this video we need look no further than the first page to find top quality resources on a whole host of topics.
- I know, I know, guilty as charged! This week’s Web Whizz video features my website. However, hopefully you will forgive me when you see the brand new and completely free Autograph Player activities that are now available. Unlike Autograph files, these activities do not need the software installed, which means you can use them completely freely to demonstrate topics in class, or set them as homework assignments for your students. Here we look at activities about transformations, angles, circle theorem, battleships and scatter diagrams.
- I have made no secret about what a massive fan of the NRICH website I am, and whilst it remains my number one stop for rich maths puzzles and problems, this website might just be number two. There are literally hundreds of puzzle and problems for students to solve. They are beautifully laid out on the page, making them absolutely ideal to project on the board to use as starter activities or extension work. I also suggest using them in the computer room as the website keeps a handy record of students’ progress through a series of puzzles. With the development of students creative thinking and problem solving only growing in importance, this website is a must visit!
- Over the last couple of months I have asked my TES maths panel to compile a series of topic specials on the major areas of maths teaching. They were challenged to find 10 outstanding resources from the thousands freely available on TES to assemble into themed collections. These collections are now live on the website, and they are simply phenomenal. The range and quality of the resources kindly shared by TES users always amazes me, and these collections should help you dive straight in to the very best that TES has to offer. Thank you to the panel for all their hard work!
- As a teacher, I am obsessed by questions. The best questions are those that get the students thinking and ignite their interests. This website, created by Dan Meyer, is all about interesting questions. When you visit the website you are presented with an image and asked to write down the first question that comes to mind. You can then access a whole back catalogue of images and questions on everything from gumball machines to dominoes. These provide outstanding stimuli for lessons, and highlight the practical and many varied uses of mathematics.
- The website Wordle came to prominence in around 2009, and has been popping up at conferences, lectures and around the display boards of schools ever since. In this video we take a look at how to use the website, and more importantly how we can use it effectively in the maths classroom. Ideas suggested include using it to summarise examiners reports, to capture the key topics that your class find difficult, and then as a starter activity to introduce a new topic. This is only scratching the surface of the potential of Wordle, so if you have any ideas on how it can be used, please share below!
- Kangaroo Maths is a website that is quite literally bursting with free, high-quality content. In this video we barely scratch the surface, focussing on three excellent series of resources: Bring on the Maths – rich, classroom activities to challenge students’ misconceptions; Convinced – a series of worksheets that push students’ understanding of a topic; and Maths to Infinity – high quality Excel worksheets to generate as many questions as you could possible desire. Thank you Kenny the Kangaroo!
- It’s that time of year again. Your exam classes have left, reports are written, parents evenings are over, and maybe (just maybe) you can start to relax a little and look forward to the promise of the long summer holiday. But before all of that, you still have some lessons to teach! Myself and the TES Maths Panel have put together the following Collection of resources to help you in these last few weeks of term. If you are up for trying something a bit different in your maths lessons – maybe a project, maybe a mystery – then hopefully you will find something to tickle your fancy in amongst these ten lovely resources. These should keep your students busy and smiling, and before you know it that final bell will ring and summer will begin!
- Throughout the academic year of 2011 to 2012, each week I have taken viewers on a very quick tour of some of my favourite mathematical websites. I have tried to find new ways of using the familiar names, and also attempted to uncover some hidden gems along the way. And what a collection of websites they have been! We have seen websites to spice up every conceivable topic, from statistics to algebra, using everything from top trumps to sampling hip-hop tracks. In this video we take a look back at some of the websites featured in this year’s WebWhizz video collection, throwing up a couple of new ideas as well. The WebWhizz videos will return for a new series in September. See you then!
- We open up this new series of WebWhizz videos with an absolutely belter! Jonny Griffiths is the man behind the amazing RISPs and Make Statistics Vital website, and he has produced again with Carom Maths – a website containing 40 activities aimed at bridging the gap between A Level and university mat More…hs. What I particularly like about these activities is how they make use of software such as Excel, Autograph and GeoGebra to bring the topics to life and allow students to investigate further. Here we look at 3 of the activities covering lots of areas of mathematics.