Explore www.ncetm.org.uk for forums, resources, blogs and courses on secondary mathematics.
History of Mathematics – Snezana Lawrence.
A resource that supports the use of the history of mathematics at primary/secondary level to raise very many issues and questions.
“When I used The Pyramids as a stimulus for a creative maths activity with year 9 one of my favourite responses was ‘Changing Tombs’ (Changing Rooms was on TV at the time!). The pyramid was kitted out with everything a modern day pharaoh might need – swimming pool, library etc all drawn to scale!”
“I haven’t seen the “Mathsisgoodforyou” website before – it is very informative and excellent as a starting point for linking the maths history to any topic.”
“I had never thought about teaching maths in this way. You have inspired me.”
Waldo’s Interactive Maths Page.
A wide collection of Java-based interactive material for use on computer screens or interactive whiteboards with learners from 11 to 19.
“These applets are ideal for stimulating whole class or even small group activity and discussion of the ‘try it’ (i.e. use the interactive whiteboard yourself) or ‘let’s see’ variety. The range of topics covered hits an amazing number of spots in the curriculum where understanding can be shallow. Thanks for developing and maintaining, over a number of years, a resource that you know is effective for learners in all the best ways.”
View all the secondary resources at
The Dog Ate It.
Most people understand a blog to be an online diary or journal. I think I’d give them a wider definition. To me, they are the perfect 21st century solution to help us to share information- and share it very easily, due to ease with which we can publish to the internet... Since September last year, my class has received all their homework via a class blog. If they’re confused or need extra help, they leave a comment and I get back to them. Also, parents see exactly what homework needs to done and when it needs to be in for. Another advantage is the fact that learners can access resources on the day it’s posted or 6 months later. Now, I know you’re thinking that all learners won’t have access to the internet at home. Two points come up here. Can we wait until everyone has internet access at home before we really start to use the resources that are available? I don’t think so…
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The Maths Cafe:
What is Understanding?
Q. In a session yesterday the question ‘what is understanding?’ was posed. I’m still thinking about it today (and still don't have any sort of answer) so I figure it’s a good (and hard) question. Any thoughts?
A1. I think we often assume that if you understand something then you can do it – but later study often reveals this is not the case. Many students can add fractions, by following a recipe style method – then later (usually in the sixth form) come unstuck...
A2. I agree that it’s possible to do without understanding. But how do you know when you understand? Is it just a feeling or is it that you’re able to do something more than just do the questions in the book?
A3. So let’s start a list of ideas...
“I understand something when I can...”
- answer a question which is NOT practically the same as the example the teacher has used
- explain it to my friend who is a little confused (but was in the lesson today)
- explain it to my friend who wasn't in the lesson today
A4. Here’s a possibility:
“I understand something when I can...”
- do it correctly a week later, even when we are studying a different topic
Join the continuing discussion at
Mathemapedia – a Wiki for mathematics education:
Speed Teaching Revision.
As a teacher it is helpful to think of different ways to make revision more interesting. Speed Teaching is a pupil-led revision activity. It allows pupils to work with a cross section of their peers teaching and learning one chosen topic or a random selection of topics. Each pupil is assigned the role of being a student or a teacher. They work in pairs and are given three minutes to teach/learn the topic written on the board. After each timed interval the class teacher rings a bell and everyone gets an opportunity to reflect on their experience as a teacher/student on the reflection sheet below. The teacher then moves onto the next student and the process is repeated all over again. Students remain sitting in the same seat throughout. Half way through the activity, all of the pupils swap roles. Therefore, the teachers now become students and vice versa. The number of topics to be taught is at the discretion of the class teacher. When each pupil has had an even number of turns adopting each role, the activity pauses to reflect on the activity so far. Pupils should read through their comments and write down three things that stood out to them about the activity, positive or negative! The class teacher then chairs a discussion on the pupils’ reflections. The idea is to talk about both the topics they were learning and how they learnt and taught “best”. Each pupil is given the chance to teach and to learn one bonus topic. This can either be a new topic chosen by the class teacher or one of the topics the students would like an opportunity to teach/learn again. This should be followed by a final class feedback.
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