Trig Wheel

As requested on the twitters here is the trig wheel I shared with the folks in the PreCalc morning sessions at #TMC14. I’m going to repeat what I said there; I found this on someone’s blog. I don’t know now who. But I stole it from somewhere. So if it’s yours, tell me and I’ll credit you – and THANKS!

The file (each student needs one circle in each of two colours):

Mark degrees anti clockwise on one circle (make sure you start at the correct line) and radians anticlockwise on the other (note that the numbers should go under the line, it’ll make sense later!):

2014-08-11 19.10.16

Cut along the zero line from the edge to the centre:

2014-08-11 19.10.41

Place the two wheels so the cuts line up and the labeling faces inwards and slide one circle into the other – this should reveal an angle – rotate until you find what you want and flip over to convert:

Enjoy 🙂

Posted in Classroom, General Maths Thoughts, Lessons | 4 Comments

Hinge Questions at #TMC14 [Hinge Questions]

The presentation:

The handout:

The stuff we made:

The sources I used:
Dylan Wiliam paper on Analyzing Diagnostic Items:

Some blog posts about the topic

I also used the book Embedded Formative Assessment:

Posted in Blogs, Classroom, Conferences, General Maths Thoughts, Hinge Questions | 2 Comments


Supervising practice exams might be dull but if you time it right you can mark the previous one while the next one is happening.


#MTBoS30 Day 8

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James asks ‘When do you work?’

I work when I have the motivation I guess – or more like I work when I need to and when I want to and when I have time. I don’t have a set time of day I work – if I need to stay late or get in early I will. I’d rather go home to my desk and my music than work in school, totally different to my old place when I would stay late with a colleague most evenings.

The thing that affects how and when I work most is the environment – I’m happier in my classroom than in the Maths workroom and happier in my office space at home than my room for grading and planning.

So yes I get up early – if I need to, and sometimes I stay late. I’m a maverick. 🙂

#MTBoS30 Day 7

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There’s questions here


#MTBoS30 Day 6


Sample questions:

How many hours/days/weeks/months is that?
What percentage of my year was spent listening to music? – is this a lot? Contextualise this? Compare with sleep?
My top album doesn’t have a track in the top 10 – what does that say?
My top track is x% of my total streams – what does that say?
What would a more diverse music listener look like?
What would a less diverse music listener look like?
What is the mean track length?
what is the maximum number of tracks in the top ten?
Could this lead into a Feltron Project?

Posted in #MTBoS30, Lessons | 2 Comments

Small Rewards

This week I will book my flight to TMC14.

I think this counts as a large reward in my scheme of getting myself small ones to keep me going through the term.

#MTBoS30 Day 5

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Open Evening and Magic

This week we had open evening (The question as to whether it was a good idea to have teachers in school until 8pm the night before grades were due into the database is another matter). We spent 3 hours talking to students and parents about why they should come to our college – the types of courses, the content, what else we offer etc.

I have never had so many students get excited about the content they learn as I had when I was able to show them this:

being animated and explain that they could learn WHAT was going on and HOW to make their own super cool animation.

And then I got to show them Daily Desmos.

So that actually made the evening kinda fun.

#MTBoS30 Day 4

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To Do Lists

Are the bane of my life; but without them I would never get anything done. I constantly find myself either:

a) Adding to the To Do list more frequently than I cross things off
b) Adding something I had done the week before because it had come around again

Despite this, there are few pleasures like crossing the last thing off.

I run my To Do list through Evernote, mostly because Kate told me to. It’s pretty useful to have the same stuff on my phone, tablet and desktop PC and not have to carry around a stack paper with me. And they recently added integrated handwriting which is pretty slick. SO maybe check it out?

#MTBos30 Day 3

Posted in #MTBoS30, Not Maths | 2 Comments

One Important Thing

About Norm Referencing:

This is spawned from this publication asking for feedback from OFQUAL about the new GCSEs; from this blog post by Daisy Christodoulou.

If you grade on a normal curve according to percentiles you accept that a percentage of students will always fail.

This has repercussions. We should talk about them. I’m working on putting my thoughts into words.

#MTBoS30 Day 2

This is spawned from this publication asking for feedback from OFQUAL about the new GCSEs; from this blog post by Daisy Christodoulou.

Posted in #MTBoS30, Assessment, General Maths Thoughts, Pedagogy | Leave a comment

May plans?

Anne wrote this post: Let’s do it again, folks! and I figured it’d be a kick to make me blog again if I tried to write something everyday for 30 days. It might be something coherent and thought out, or it might just be the thoughts kicking around in my head that day. We shall see.

We are in May. In the UK, and particularly in Sixth Form Colleges this is crunch time. Students are frantically preparing for exams (or not) teachers are buried under mountains of past papers to mark (or at least they are here) and every day the ability to help change the outcome for students slips further away.

Today I returned some marked mocks to students, and there were some really disappointing results. For some students it’s silly errors, for others they never caught up with topics they missed, and some clearly didn’t do any work before hand. The required mix of encouragement, admonishment and reassurance is something I find really challenging about this time of year.

So for I ask; how do you all prepare your students for external exams?

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