All 3 entries tagged Subjectknowledge

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June 04, 2011

May Subject Knowledge

I know I've not been brilliant at blogging about my subject knowledge development, but in all fairness, that's because I pretty much never do any subject knowledge development. I probably shouldn't be admitting to that though, should I?

But I have actually done quite a lot this month, so I may as well blog about it.

Mechanics 1:

I took M1 myself back in 06/07. And I did pretty well, although it was my lowest mark (91%. Yes I know I'm bragging). However, when one of my tutees asked me to help him with his M1 resit, I was nervous. Especially as I did MEI's M1, which does not contain a lot of the stuff in Edexcel's M1, like momentum, which I'd never heard of until RWP's session on it. So before teaching my tutee anything, I first had to teach myself.

My first port of call when it comes to revising A level maths is always the MEI Integral website. However, as I've already said, MEI's mechanics is very different from Edexcel's. So I went on My Maths, which has an A level section containing M1, S1 and D1, as well as the cores. I did all of the online homeworks, and looked at the lessons, which were very helpful.

I now feel comfortable teaching Edexcel's M1, which is completely irrelevant to me because the school I'm at next year does MEI. But it was nice to learn something new. It was helpful to metacognise a bit, and think about how I learnt this new stuff, and what I found helpful. This will help me teach sixth formers in the future.


I have two tutees who are taking AQA's Higher module 5 exams on Monday and Friday. I really enjoyed going through these past papers: there's no tedious number work like there is on Edexcel's foundation linear paper (so much frac dec perc! So boring!) and it's all lovely algebra and trig and a bit of geometrical reasoning. I could do everything on these papers off the top of my head apart from one thing: angle bisectors. I knew it had something to do with a compass, so I drew a few random arcs until I sort of derived the correct method. I've since checked this out online and found I was correct, so that's good.

Emma x x x

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

November 03, 2010

My Subject Knowledge

During my tutorial today I was told that one of the assessment criteria for SCT6 (my blog) is that I reflect on the progression of my subject knowledge. So to get that box ticked, I'm going to consider what I've done in the past six weeks to improve my subject knowledge.

I started uni LOVING maths. Like, I would do maths for FUN (Weirdo) and I was very good at it (Boff). I left uni not liking maths much at all, and feeling like I was rubbish at it (despite squeezing out a 2:1- mostly due to getting 90% in my Spanish module). So I started the PGCE thinking my subject knowledge needed a bit of work. However, as it turns out, I can actually remember my A level stuff really well. I think this is due to me being taught Further Maths one-on-one at Loughborough uni and also teaching myself a lot of it. I understood it all really well, so remembering it is easy. (I sound like I'm bragging now, don't I? Well, remind yourself how short and speccy I am, and that will make you feel better).

So what have I actually done this half term? I have...

Done subject sessions after school on Wednesdays with a few other maths trainees (big up to you guys, you know who you are!) We've done all the pure modules. I've made mind maps and written out the key points for all of these (available on facebook or via email on request). I'd forgotten how much I love the FP1&2 modules. I'd love to get the opportunity to teach them in PP2 (sadly they don't do it at my PP1 school).

Peer taught Critical Path Analysis, which forced me to revise it.

Been peer taught lots of other topics, which helped enormously.

Started tutoring two pupils, forcing me to revise GCSE and A2 maths.

Bought a Mechanics revision guide and grudgingly looked through it (yuck).

All in all, I'm happy that my subject knowledge is pretty good (you all hate me, don't you?) and that I don't need to do much to improve. So I am theoretically free to focus on other things, like the masters assignment.

Emma x x x

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