Maths

Subject: Mathematics

Head of Department; Mrs Devine

Content:

At KS3, students learn Maths by level according to the National Curriculum. We believe that this gives us a good structure to build on previous knowledge and move students forward. We teach topics weekly and follow a spiralling scheme of work which keeps repetition and retention at the core of what we do.

Teaching by level of ability makes every classroom unique as we thrive to know our students’ data and needs in order to inform our planning and the work we cover. We set by ability in Maths so that each group is of a similar nature and the topic and content is shared and taught for students to grasp concepts easily before building it up.

More often than not, students practice work based on model examples and discussions in class. This is followed by self or peer assessment, giving students instant feedback on what has gone well and where they can improve. This links back to the lesson objectives, allowing the teacher to assess and move on.

We put a great emphasis in student exercise books, their presentation and they are encouraged to show step-by-step working out. As the year goes on, students should be building a book that can easily be used as a friendly and personalised revision guide of their work. Therefore, pace and detail is paramount.

Maths is more than just number work or numeracy. There are four main areas:

 Number and Algebra: properties of number, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio, etc

 Shape, Space and Measure: angles, transformations, geometry, graphs, etc

 Handling Data: averages, range, charts, interpretation, probability, etc

 Using and Applying: making Maths functional and applicable to real life, comparing costs, data and, at a higher level, applying algebra to solve problems in the world around us. This is a great area for investigative work in Maths.

We have the use of interactive whiteboards to help deliver the work and are very much a department that uses textbooks, worksheets and the board to bring variety into our classrooms. We do not underestimate the power of communicating with our students as well as them talking about Maths with each other to explore and gain understanding. The residual skill, we hope, is an inquisitive and reflective learner.

Autumn Term (Term 1 and 2) Y7, 8, 9 –

 Number properties, patterns and sequences*

 The four operations and mental methods

 Place value, estimation and approximation

 Units of measure, compound measures and dimensions*

 Perimeter, area and volume

 Transformations

 Fractions, decimals and percentages*

 Algebra*

 Data collection, presentation and analysis

 Ratio and proportion*

 2D, 3D shapes, loci and symmetry

 

Spring Term (Term 3 and 4) Y7, 8, 9 –

 Graphs

 Angles and circle theorems

 Algebra*

 Negative numbers

 Pythagoras’ Theorem

 Fractions, decimals and percentages*

 Ratio and proportion*

 Perimeter, area and volume

 Probability

 Accuracy in construction and measure

Summer Term (Term 5 and 6) Y7, 8, 9 –

 Angles and circle theorems

 Using and applying portfolio work including functional skills and problem solving tasks and

projects

 

*Denotes topics that are repeated to keep in line with the proportion of exam skills that are tested at GCSE for that particular branch of Maths.

 

How we assess students:

We assess students four times a year at KS3 and use this information in various ways:

 Students take papers at two or three levels based on how they are performing and where they need to aim towards. These tests are one hour each; testing non-calculator and calculator skills. We have also incorporated GCSE questions into our KS3 tests since this is ultimately how they will be measured for GCSE in year 11.

 We use our data from marking these tests to monitor and track students’ performance in each class and the year group in order to support or challenge students and hence ensure progress.

 When reporting, as the year progresses, we are able to take into account the child’s performance in class and for homework. This helps us add to the raw scores they produce in an exam situation and give teacher assessed scores.

 More importantly, we allow students time to reflect on their score and either graduate from a certain level of test or focus on their weaknesses for next time. Students will end up with personalised targets, which are recorded in their books as a list of topics.

 Each student has a success ladder inside the front cover of their books to track their own progress, where their levels, scores and personalised targets are recorded and can be referred to at home for revision.

 The teacher also makes a note of the class’ weaknesses in order tap into these areas during lessons.

 In line with the school policy on early roll-over, we have built in a re-sit window to allow students to retake their April exams again in June. This ensures that students start a new academic year having made the required levels of progress and are not falling behind.

How homework is set (please see Discovery homework timetable on our website for details):

There are 3 ways in which your child should be seen learning Maths at home. The first is set weekly for year 7 and 8. This is made up of two 20 mins or one 40 mins piece linked to the topic being covered at that time in class. It is this written piece that is done in exercise books, usually marked by the teacher or peer/ self assessed to diagnose misconceptions.

The second type of Maths homework that students receive is based on mymaths.co.uk. This is expected twice every half term that either links to the topics being covered, or is a reaction to a recent assessment where the student’s personal weaknesses can be addressed through practice. The first type is usually an upload of work by the teacher that the student then submits by clicking on the submit button. The latter mymaths piece is to encourage students working independently on a maximum of 3 or 4 topics of their own choice that are listed in the front cover of their book, in their ladder of success. Students can evidence this work on a sheet they can collect from their teacher called ‘mymaths space’ and then this is glued into the back of their exercise books. Please note, all students have a personal password and login for this on top of the school password and log-in. This can also be found with the form tutor or Maths teacher. We encourage students to record their own details into their diaries too. Students tend to keep the same log-in details for their time with us.

The third and final type of Maths homework has been developed to incorporate the increasing literacy demands of Maths at GCSE, promote Maths with the Family and to showcase how Maths links to everyday life. Students are given a short written piece of work every half term and during the summer break to embed this ethos in Maths. For example, uses of Maths on their holiday, looking up definitions and writing a poem or song about it. It cannot be stressed enough that Maths is a subject that needs to be practiced daily to maintain, retain and reinforce all the basic and new skills in the long run. It is like a marathon and not a sprint. The above guidance is just that and if students are doing more than this, then that is absolutely fine. We hope you can support and enjoy Maths with your child to help promote real life skills and boost self esteem in our subject.

How parents/carers can support their child:

 Asking to see your child’s maths book at home and talking through the classwork they have recently done.

 Helping students verbalise what they are doing with their home learning and how well they understand the work.

 Creating opportunities for children to see that maths is in our everyday lives; from bills, money, measuring, travelling, cooking, etc.

 Extending their understanding of Maths beyond just number work to problem solving, logical thinking and being analytical.

 Make sure your child is working on Maths regularly, almost daily, to keep up their understanding. This will help Mathematic ability in all walks of life.

Equipment in Maths is a key:

 Students need a pencil, a blue or black pen, a ruler, an eraser, a sharpener, compasses and a protractor

 Using their own calculator from the start is crucial to knowing it well enough for their exams.

 The calculator must be scientific, not a mobile phone or a basic calculator, so that students get used to their own make/ model by the time they use it in the exam.

Useful links:

mymaths.co.uk from our school website.

School log in and password are well known by the students. Their own username and password is in the back of their books and with tutors as well as the Maths teachers.

Other places to find good materials to support your child at home are BBC bitesize and Youtube, where the odd reading or video of a maths technique can help some children internalise topics which they find hard to grasp, memorise or apply.

Reading list:

Maths is a subject that is better learnt through practice as opposed to just reading. Parents are encouraged to invest in workbooks rather than revision guides where children are able to work on problems and mark this work as they go along. This is rewarding and easily tracked at home and can support school work. We recommend that this is done with a time delay to what is being covered at school. This can help improve retention and self esteem in a positive way.