April 2016 News

Easter has come early this year which means that many schools are currently still closed for the Easter holidays. That’s a pity! It means that you don’t get the opportunity to fool your pupils with the 1st April Starter. Next year maybe?… No, April 1st falls on a Saturday next year. Perhaps you could use the ‘One Out Of Ten’ joke on another day of the year.

The puzzle for this month is about three cars arriving at a three way junction at high speed. The junction has a triangular (ish) traffic island at the centre and each car has a 50% chance of turning left and a 50% chance of turning right when they arrive at the island. What is the probability of no collisions taking place?

March was another busy month for adding content to the website. The most significant addition is Refreshing Revision, the ultimate customisable Starter. It is called Refreshing Revision because every time you refresh the page you get different numbers and diagrams in the questions. Scroll down the page to see and select the concepts you want to be included in the Starter. It should be useable with pupils in Year 5 (with the times tables questions) all the way up to Year 11 (revising for exams).

I will continue to add more concepts to this during this month but if you have any suggestions please let me know.

The leader boards for TablesMaster and Fast Factors have been adapted so that you can filter out all but pupils from your own school. Instructions explaining how to do that are available on the Times Table Filter page. Many thanks to Matt Curtis from Edgewood School for suggesting this idea.

The Times Tables page contains links to many activities pupils can do to improve their recall of multiplication facts. A new activity was created last month called Times Square. It has nothing to do with that famous location in New York but lots to do with providing yet another way for pupils to practise their tables. The completed tables square comes complete with buttons to show some of the geometric patterns created by sets of numbers in the grid.

A number of videos found on YouTube have been added to the curated list but the one that stands out is the one about the mathematical puzzles found in an episode of the Simpsons called Mathlete’s Feat.

I was surprised recently that one of my pupils, who has strong abilities in most areas of mathematics, didn’t know the order of the months of the year. A drag and drop activity was created which he will use as part of his regular recap activities and also help him to remember the number of days in each of the Months of the Year.

Whenever I am teaching probability I would try hard to include a little bit of fun with the Snail Race. It can be adapted to a wide range of abilities and lead to some interesting questions. Last month Ben from New Zealand asked the ultimate question about snail number seven’s chance of winning the race. We have still not been able to come up with the answer but you can follow the discussion on the Snail Race Teacher’s Version page. If you are an expert in Negative Binomial Distributions we need to hear from you!

Previous newsletters can be found with podcasts (the audio versions of the newsletters) online and for the latest news of Transum updates follow @Transum on Twitter. Thanks to all you who have left comments on the Transum web pages and sent feedback about how your pupils have enjoyed using the resources.

Finally the answer to the Tri-junction puzzle. As a subscriber you can see a tree diagram which can be used for solving this puzzle on the Tree Diagrams Challenge page. The answer can be found by considering the probability of all three cars turning left or all three cars turning right. The answer is 0.53 + 0.53 = 0.25 or 25%.

Enjoy the month of April.

John

ps. Parallel lines have so much in common it’s a pity they’ll never meet.