Make heavy use of the pre-prepared questions and solutions from the Mathematics Enhancement Programme, to quickly prep lessons
“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel!”
“Look on TES!”
Two oft spoken quotes that aren’t very helpful. There are limitless maths resources out there, some terrible, some will change your life.
As a maths teacher much of your lessons must necessarily revolve around setting the students questions to practice, and then telling them the answers. Okay, there are many variants on this model, but practice certainly sits at the core of strong learning.
Creating all your own problems, and solving them, and differentiating them, enough to keep 30 students engaged for 30-40 minutes of practice per lesson, is mentally exhausting. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel; many people have already produced exactly what you need. But… where is this wheel, what does it look like? TES is huge, and mostly filled with what you don’t need.
I want to show you the wheel.
Voila, the Wheel:
One resource, which will potentially change your life.
The Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP), produced by the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics (CIMT) back in 1995.
You’ll probably hear a lot of talk about the Standards Units during the SI. They really are great resources, and they’ll get you thinking about maths in new ways, but they have two major caveats that may not be mentioned:
- They are far from exhaustive – They are about deepening understanding of core mathematical ideas, not covering curriculum content (which is your first and foremost responsibility)
- They are utterly inaccessible to pupils who haven’t first been taught the basics in a more traditional manner
So how do you teach those basic concepts? Enter, the MEP!
The MEP is an exhaustive repository of the best traditional teaching resources I have seen. There is far more content than can be delivered, so I recommend focussing on the ‘Pupil Practice Book’ for each module.
Exceptionally well structured sequences of work, that will help *you* as a new teacher understand how students can set out their working. Each sub-topic in the practice book includes the facts and processes they need to understand, followed by 2-4 worked examples, followed by well-structured rote practice questions, followed by more interesting worded questions, followed ultimately by more complex relational questions.
If that weren’t enough, look at the other resources for each module to find mental tests you can use as starters, what they call ‘Activities’, which are often investigative resources for deepening understanding, extra practice questions if needed, and diagnostic tests to assess their progress. There’s even a ‘Teacher Notes’ resource for each module, that usually gives some information on the history of the mathematics, and a little real world context, or some well written maths-lovin’ paragraphs that you can throw up on the board to help inspire your students.
Find them at one of these two links (use whichever you find easier to navigate):