Whilst away on holiday I saw a tweet from @Just_Maths showing the month of April with a maths question for each day. You can find this calendar here. Such a simple, yet effective way to get students to practice maths got me thinking…
On average, students at the school I work at get around 10 marks less on the non-calculator paper than they do on the calculator equivalent. On a recent mock paper the first question was for four marks. The majority of my C/D border line class could get the three method marks but the vast majority failed to pick up the accuracy mark. In essence you had to increase £720 by 15% then divide this by 12 to work out the monthly cost. When speaking to other teachers in the department it was a similar story, the students could explain what to do to answer the question but dropped accuracy marks with their calculations. These methods are currently taught to Year 6 pupils under the new curriculum but have either:
- Been forgotten by the time they arrive in Year 11
- Become unclear as students are out of practice due to being over reliant on calculators
- Not been taught originally
Either way that is another discussion, I have 6 and a half weeks to prepare my students for their upcoming exam where these methods will be tested.
Adapting the method used by @Just_Maths I have created a “stepping stones to success” sheet which will hopefully prepare students better for their non-calculator exam. In essence it is a calendar starting on Monday (the first day back after the Easter holidays) until their exam on the 25th May. Each student will get this sheet and be expected to answer the daily question. Then at the beginning of each maths lesson we will model their solutions on the board and discuss common mistakes, clear methods and good thinking.