Introduction to Maths
“Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for Mathematics, the cultural world is one country.” – David Hilbert
The Mathematics Department at Plashet School aims to:
- Ensure that the students achieve their full potential within Mathematics
- Ensure that students can use Mathematics in everyday life as a tool, and for other subjects by developing key problem solving and analytical skills.
- Encourage students to have a positive attitude to Mathematics as an interesting, creative and aesthetic subject.
- Develop an awareness of Mathematics and its historical development within a multicultural context.
- Promote self-esteem and confidence amongst our young women by experiencing the joy of success in Mathematics.
“Neglect of Mathematics works injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or the things of the world.” – Roger Bacon
The key areas of number and algebra, geometry and measures and probability and statistics are taught to students throughout Key Stage 3. Students extend their knowledge and build onto their prior knowledge each year. The subject curriculum document gives shows how the areas are split into key topics from Year 7 to 9. Students use problem solving skills within the lesson. One lesson a fortnight is dedicated to improve numeracy skills, ensuring students have strong foundations and are mathematically fluent.
The Simon Singh Top Set Project
The Simon Singh Top Set Project is a special initiative to promote mathematical ability in the most exceptional Mathematicians at Plashet School. Starting in 2016, with Year 7, the success of the project has yielded impressive results at National competitions such as the Junior Maths Challenge.
Since the formation of the project, the students have engaged in a vastly modified scheme of learning that heavily emphasis problem solving skills, independence and conceptual understanding. Students have been able to enjoy extremely challenging and fun puzzle based mathematics in lessons.
In 2017, the project continues across Year 7 and Year 8 with the aim of creating some of the best mathematical minds in the country, whilst ensuring our students further develop their passion for mathematics.
Problem solving and developing mathematical thinking: We use investigations and Nrich tasks in our teaching to develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skills. Investigations allow pupils to demonstrate their own creativity in approaching mathematical problems as well as developing their perseverance – a crucial skill for a good mathematician. We also appreciate the need for pupils to practise their examination technique and be able to answer questions under examination conditions. Pupils are assessed at the end of each half term, allowing each pupil to know what level they are working at and what they need to do to improve. Students are given a final assessment at the end of Key Stage 3.
Timetable and homework: Pupils in Year 8 have 7 periods a fortnight of Mathematics lessons, and those in Year 7 and 9 have 6. This allows for a range of activities, including some practical work. Pupils should expect to receive around 25 minutes of homework once a week and Mymaths homework regularly at the end of each topic. Written homework would be formally marked by their teacher with written and verbal feedback once in three to four week cycle. If homework is a research task, which is not something you would expect on a regular basis, please see the Additional Resources section below for suitable websites (or Google Classroom) they can use.
There are several ways in which your daughter can seek assistance in School:
- Ask the teacher in the lesson for help with a particular topic.
- Ask the teacher for a Maths mentor: These are Year 10 pupils who have volunteered to help others and will meet with younger pupils, usually at lunch time, to go over any difficulties they may have.
- Attend help sessions: These are during lunchtime run by maths teachers in their classrooms.
- Use the materials on Google Classroom: These often have solutions and can be accessed at home. Mathswatch videos are useful to learn topics.
- Use the school’s subscription to MyMaths
- Use websites designed for this purpose, such as KS3 Bitesize from the BBC
- Develop independence in diagnosing the areas of improvement through design a test tool on PiXl maths APP and use therapy videos to support
Exam Board and Syllabus Edexcel (1MA1)
All students are entered for GCSE Mathematics which is assessed by three examinations at the end of Year 11: one non-calculator and two calculator papers. 30-40% of these papers have questions on problem solving questions.
Although Mathematics is a compulsory subject for GCSE, we hope that students will also enjoy the subject and gain much benefit from the course. Study at KS4 aims to equip students with mathematical competence and problem solving strategies in the following areas:
- Ratio and proportion
- Geometry and Measures
The scheme is in the form of two tiers:
- Foundation: New GCSE Grades 1-5
- Higher: New GCSE Grades 4-9 although some students may be awarded grade 3 if they marginally miss grade 4 on a higher paper
Grade 5 is considered a good pass at GCSE and will be required for future education providers.
- Edexcel Entry level certificate: Redeveloped to complement the Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Mathematics qualification, the new Entry Level Certificate in Mathematics has a clearer focus on building the basic mathematical skills and understanding the lower ability students need to progress towards GCSE. This qualification is designed around the needs of students working at this level with assessment designed to encourage progression towards GCSE. We offer this to some of our students.
Setting in ability groups: Pupils are split into 11 sets according to ability at the start of Year 9. The setting is based on the summative assessment students complete during Year 8. This differentiation allows all pupils to attain the highest grades while being suitably challenged. This setting is flexible and reviewed on a termly basis, however we do not encourage set movements in Year 11 as the students need stability with their teachers near to the GCSE exams.
Timetable and Homework: Pupils have 8 periods a fortnight of Mathematics in both years. All work will be taught in lessons. All pupils will have around 30 minutes of homework twice a week and will take regular tests to enable them to track their progress and understand their weaknesses. It also allows them to practice examinations technique in preparation for the formal examinations.
Homework can online homework on Mymaths, Mathswatch, Pixl maths App or a written homework that could involve research or solving real life problems using aspects of mathematics.
Assessments: Regular assessment is done in class to assess the various components of the course. There are whole school summative assessments twice each year for Year 9 and 10. Students are exposed to new style exam questions through these assessments. An end of Year 10 exam is usually a full GCSE linear style exam to give students in Year 10 an exposure to what they will face in Year 11. There are two sets of mock exams for Year 11, one in December and the second in March. Diagnostic analysis and feedback of these mock exams allows students to address their areas of improvement and know their strengths.
UKMT Mathematics Challenges: We enter Year 7 and 8 more able students into the Junior Mathematics Challenge and Year 10 and 11 top set students into the Intermediate Mathematics Challenge. Students are given a multiple choice test and the students who achieve the highest scores receive Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Plashet School also hosts the Team Mathematics Challenge for all schools in the borough of Newham and surrounding boroughs. Students work as a team of four competing against students from other schools. Support is given to all of these students through lunchtime preparation sessions and by the use of Google Classroom.
EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF MATHEMATICS:
NRich has many puzzles for all ages and promotes the enrichment of Mathematics by interesting and engaging problems. Some are better than others so be picky when you look at the materials available and don’t choose anything too easy!
HELP WITH THE SYLLABUS:
- MyMaths: http://www.mymaths.co.uk/
MyMaths provides lessons, example and questions on all of the topics pupils learn in school. It allows pupils to practice certain topics as much as they want by producing different questions each time, and marks the work for them, showing them where they have gone wrong. It also has ‘booster packs ‘allowing GCSE pupils to work from 1 to 9 grades, and is particularly effective for revision.
- MathsWatch: www.mathswatch.co.uk
MathsWatch is a set of mathematical videos and worksheets available via subscription service online. It allows pupils to review the topics taught in class and practice some questions via worksheet linked to the video on the same topic.
- Corbettmaths: https://corbettmaths.com/
Corbettmaths is a website where students can access lots of past paper questions on each topic, videos, numeracy 5-a-day practice questions that are helpful for students to review their learning and do spaced repetitions at home.
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