Monty Hall's a Goat

by Ian Fisher

Posted on April 20, 2016 at 13:06

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Every summer we update the worksheets and website with the work we have done over the past 12 months. This gives me time for reflection on the year and to look back at our achievements.


Writing for 10ticks is extremely rewarding; there are no constraints on what we do. We do it because we love it. We do it because we know it will make your life easier and motivate your students into finding mathematics fascinating. We can put time and effort into crafting a successful worksheet for the benefit of time starved teachers. In this blog I will look over some of the worksheet ideas produced for our new edition. 


As a quick digression, the worksheet seems to have become an unpopular bedfellow for the teacher over the last decade. It has been given bad press because of the hastily prepared sheet of work, possibly hand written, with reams of questions and no progression, photocopied and given out to a class as a last minute homework, and just for the sake of tick-boxing the homework given box. I have heard of head teachers banning the use of worksheets in their schools. Should we now call our worksheets a digital maths resource, so that we are not tagged with the label? This short-sightedness is the equivalent of saying, “ I have seen a bad text book, so we will not use text books in our school”. Ludicrous.


Yes, I believe practice is an important element to learning. Our consolidation worksheets have sets of questions to allow time for this, along with structured, graduated progressions. More able pupils may work on odd numbers, or down columns, and those that need consolidation can work through more. The worksheets have been likened to a lesson plan in their progression. Our texts are successful because of this .... but there is much, much more to 10ticks than just consolidation questions. Variety is just as important. That is why we have games, puzzles, investigations, Action Maths, Calculated Colourings etc, all linked to specific mathematical concepts, so the teacher can focus on delivering a skill in a variety of ways. It has been shown that this wide variety of delivery mechanisms actually helps teacher development by thinking about pedagogy.  I could go on, but a short digression has now become a long rant, so enough.


This year we have added over 270 worksheets to the 10ticks collection and I want to highlight one or two of my favourites. We do have a new Search tool that will help you navigate through this vast, rich resource.


As a side note, for those of you referencing 10ticks into schemes of work, use the comment field, as this doesn’t change from year to year. Page numbers and Years will, depending on the whim of the government at the time.


Frequency Trees (search M16.162 then onwards) is a brand new area. We have developed this from scratch. It is a graduated series of worksheets, linking frequency trees with two way tables and probabilities. The progressions are easy to follow, allowing for instant student success.


The Monty Hall Problem (search M16.113) is a very famous problem that can be solved easily by running a trial with the whole class. Will you win a car or a goat?


Roman Numeral Matchstick Puzzles (search M16.64) is a delightful page of puzzles that involve moving matchsticks around to solve questions in Roman numerals format. Great fun.

The last question of the sheet, Sec D 6)., is obviously a trick question,  which can be answered gleefully by spinning the sheet around 180 degrees.


BIDMAS Snake (search M16.78) is a question that hit the news this year. It is a question that was given to third graders (8 year olds) in Bao Loc, Vietnam. See how your class fares.


There is alot of introductory algebra in the update. Stars and Circles (Algebra) (search M16.253) is a typical start to algebra, replacing a star and circle with numbers to solve the questions. Also look at Balancing Shapes (search M16.86) for a starter to solving equations.  Algebraic Expression Diagrams (search M16.95) is a visualisation method for algebra. It is consistent with the way multiplication is taught using grids.


Algebraic Pyramids (starting Algebra) (search M16.255) looks at number pyramids, and finding generalisations for different pyramid sizes.  We do this by using polygon shapes, rather than numbers, to see how many of each polygon appear in the top block. You should find a generalisation for the 3-block base, 4-block base and 5-block base, before guessing what it will be for a 6-block base. To find a link between the generalisations it may be wise to cover Pascal’s triangle immediately before this topic.



OK, I could go on, but won’t. There is a plethora of enrichment material this year:  puzzles, games and investigations, so go and explore these new materials. My apologies to those worksheets that didn’t get a mention by name - I hope you weren’t offended.

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Labels: 10ticks mathematics maths new worksheets ideas primary secondary

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What is Summer Learning Loss?

by 10tick

Posted on July 28, 2015 at 12:44

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Summer is an ideal time for students of all ages to strengthen their academic skills while still having plenty of time left over for summer activities.

When the school doors close for the summer, many children struggle to access educational opportunities. Summer Brain Drain is another term for learning loss and is the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer holidays. On average, children lose about 2.6 months’ worth of grade level equivalency in mathematical skills during their summer break! What’s more, children only need to spend 2 – 3 hours per week using educational resources during the summer break to prevent any learning loss!

Studies have found that all children, regardless of background, made similar improvement during term time. It is during the long summer break that differences occurred: children from wealthier backgrounds had better access to the kinds of activities that keep their brains active, be that summer camps, physical activity programs, formal tutoring or simply more conversation with adults. In short, summer brain drain affects all children, but unfortunately is much more apparent with children from less-wealthy families.

Summer Learning Loss Facts:

  • Equivalent of one month of overall learning is lost after summer break
  • Six weeks are spent re-learning old material to make up for summer learning loss
  • Two months of reading skills are lost over the summer
  • 2 – 3 hours a week during the summer break is need to prevent any learning loss
  • As early as Reception summer learning loss can be recognized
  • Two months of all subject focused learning is all it takes to improve specific learning skills
  • Two thirds of income based achievement gap is attributed to summer learning loss
  • It can take up to 2 months from the first day of school for a student’s brain development to get back on track.

How can you prevent the learning loss?

When it comes to helping to stop the flow of learning loss, parents have a key role to play. Learning loss is much less pronounced, if there at all, in families that provide learning opportunities. As a parent, we know that you want your children to have a break from formal learning this summer but it is also important for you to understand the importance of learning and try and introduce the opportunity to keep their brains active. Thanks to the 10ticks Home Learning System, the power to stop Summer Learning Loss is literally at your fingertips.

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Labels: 10ticks Education GCSE learning loss Mathematics Maths Maths Curriculum Maths News maths online Parents Students summer teachers

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Further GCSE Reforms to be Introduced to "set every child up for life"

by 10ticks

Posted on June 17, 2015 at 12:42

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Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will insist that all pupils study the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects up until the age of 16.  At present, only 39 per cent do - itself up from 22 per cent when the EBacc measure was first introduced in 2010 by her predecessor Michael Gove. This means that every pupil in Secondary School will have to study the five core academic subjects; English, maths, science, languages and geography or history up to GCSE level as a result of radical reforms.

This policy outlined by Nicky Morgan is set to be introduced alongside the new GCSE grading system being introduced for first teaching this September, which replaces the A to G system with a new nine-to-one numbered scale. The new grading system has been designed to reveal the differences between candidates at the top end. Currently, candidates are expected to achieve a C to attain a "good pass", although grades below this are still officially considered passes.
Teachers’ leaders will argue the plan on studying the EBacc subjects is too prescriptive - and that not every pupil is suited to such a demanding academic diet.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said last night that Ms Morgan had reversed the previous government policy of allowing schools to decide which pupils to put in for the EBacc “with just one speech” and “without the least consultation”.
She said the new policy would “cause dismay amongst parents”, adding: “Parents, like teachers want a broad and balanced curriculum for their children”.
However, Ms Morgan states her plans are a key element of the Government’s commitment to social justice. “We want every single person in the country to have access to the best opportunities Britain has to offer - starting with an excellent education,” she said.
In addition, she will announce the appointment of school behavioural expert Tom Bennett to draw up plans for training teachers how to tackle low-level disruption in the classroom - which, education standards watchdog Ofsted estimates, is losing pupils up to an hour of learning a day.
The inspectorate found that children were having a significant impact on the learning of others by swinging on chairs, playing on mobile phones, making silly comments to get attention and passing notes around in class.
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Labels: 10ticks Education Exams GCSE Mathematics Maths Maths Curriculum Maths News Parents teachers

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Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results

by 10ticks

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 12:46

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Banning mobile phones from schools saves one week's worth of learning per pupil over an academic year, it has been claimed.

According to new research by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy, published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, the effect of banning mobile phones from school premises adds up to the equivalent of an extra week’s schooling over a pupil’s academic year, according to research schools which banned the devices saw their 16-year-olds' test performance improve by 6.4%.

Mobile phone usage in Schools has only become a problem within the last 15 years. In a survey conducted in 2001, no school banned mobiles. By 2007, this had risen to 50%, and by 2012 some 98% of schools had opted to restrict them. In the UK, more than 90% of teenagers own a mobile phone; in the US, just under three quarters have one. The prevalence of the devices poses problems for head teachers, whose attitude towards the technology has hardened as it has become ubiquitous.

However, some schools are starting to allow limited use of the devices. New York mayor Bill de Blasio has lifted a 10-year ban on phones on school premises, with the city’s chancellor of schools stating that it would reduce inequality.

The study was run in schools in Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester before and after bans.

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Labels: 10ticks Education Exams GCSE Mathematics Maths Maths News Parents Students

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Should Pupils be allowed to use Google when sitting GCSE and A-level exams?

by 10ticks

Posted on April 30, 2015 at 12:48

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Pupils should be allowed to use Google when sitting GCSE and A-level exams to adapt to the way they learn, according to Mark Dawe, the OCR exam board chief executive.

Introducing tools like Google or calculators will help teachers assess the way students draw on information and apply it to their learning. Mark said everyone has Google available to them and students will only have a limited amount of time to conduct online searches anyway.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Dawe said: “Everyone has a computer available to solve a problem but it’s then about how they interpret the results. We have tools, like Google, why would you exclude those from students’ learning?"

“Surely when they learn in the classroom, everyone uses Google if there is a question. It is more about understanding what results you’re seeing rather than keeping all of that knowledge in your head because that’s not how the modern world works.”

He compared the idea of introducing Google to examinations to the old-age debate about whether to have books available during a test. He said: “In reality you didn’t have too much time [to consult the book] and you had to learn it anyway.”

Despite his enthusiasm about the introduction of technology during examinations, he said this reality was at least a decade away in the UK. He added: “It is important that parents and teachers understand and believe this is fair. The government would need to ensure they have the right regulation to ensure the quality of standards are maintained.”

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Labels: 10ticks Education Exams GCSE google Mathematics Maths News Parents Students teachers

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Should maths be taught from state-approved textbooks?

by 10ticks

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 12:51

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Is England moving closer to having pupils taught maths through “state-approved” textbooks, modelled on those used in China and Singapore? That is the fear among some attendees of a meeting earlier this month, when the DfE told education publishers it wanted to see the introduction of a “quality framework” against which maths textbooks could be assessed.

One version of what this might look like has already been devised by the government-funded National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching ofMathematics. Now, under pressure from ministers, publishing organisations are working on their own version.

The move is being driven by Nick Gibb, the traditionalist schools minister running curriculum policy, following a paper published last November by Tim Oates, head of research at the exam body Cambridge Assessment. Oates argued that the quality of England’s textbooks has declined since the 1970s. Favourably citing Singapore, where textbooks are “state-approved”, he seemed to advocate such a structure here, saying publishers would have to raise their game to fulfil government expectations of the quality of their materials.

Ministers, who have set up a network of “maths hubs” around England which are welcoming visiting teachers from China, are impressed by textbooks used in the Far East.

Publishers hope that a voluntary code will assuage Gibb, who wants English schools to match the Pacific Rim in global education league tables. But the threat of a formal government approval process for maths textbooks still also seems to be around in the background.

(Full Article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/feb/24/maths-state-approved-textbooks)

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