February 19, 2011

February Subject Knowledge

This is the first post in an exciting new mini-series about my subject knowledge development (cue theme tune). Once a month I will be blogging about what I've done recently to develop my mathematical knowlege. This is because, of course, I am committed to improving my SK as part of my professional development. It has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to pass SCT6 and getting evidence for Q standards.


I regularly tutor two GCSE pupils and an A2 student. This week I was faced with the challenge of teaching the y10 about circle theorems.

**Rant about Circle Theorems**

I hate circle theorems!!! You only do them once in your whole life: for one module of GCSE. They're not in any A level courses I know, and I didn't even meet them tangentially (lol) at uni. Hence I had completely forgotten them.

Why do the text books etc insist on saying there are 6 circle theorems?? Three of them are exactly the same theorem in my opinion. The "arrow" the "bow" and the "triangle in a semicircle is right-angled" one. Why not teach the pupils these as one?

Anyway, I decided to prove the theorems myself just to prove I could, and that was fun. I think I get the theorems a bit better now. I still have trouble with the names because they're so stupid (the angle subtended blah blah blah).

My A2 student has been doing C4 stuff. Most recently it was parametric differentiation which is easy peasy. It feels good to be able to say dy/dt divided by dx/dt is dy/dx. This sort of crazy talk was strictly forbidden at uni.

At Uni

The differential equations activity with RWP was really useful for me because I never really did DEs at A level. I picked it up quickly and I'm happy with that topic now.

At School

I've been doing hours and hours of intervention this week. This involves taking a group of about four and just going through a higher GCSE module one paper (stats). I can safely say I know this module inside out now.

For Fun

In a year 8 class I observed this week they were doing a rich task about a chess knight on a 10x10 grid. What's the fewest number of moves needed to get from square 1 to square 100? The pupils discovered it was 6 after trial and improvement. They then had to work out a route going through every square number. Being the geek that I am, I was not satisfied with this and went away and proved 6 was the fewest. I then used induction to prove it for an nxn grid. And then I proved the square numbers one which was long winded but doable. I didn't know the actual answer to that one, which reminded me of Problem Solving lessons with Jenni last year. Oh how I both loved and hated that module.

That's enough for now.

Emma x x x

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