These are all great investigations/rich problems with plenty of practice working with square numbers  a little more interesting than fifteen questions out of a textbook. If pupils have to learn facts, such as the squares to 15, I think it's better to embed them into something a little mathematically rich than just drill.
Five ideas for square numbers25/2/2016 Post 25/29 in the Staffrm #29daysofwriting challenge: Lesson ideas for exploring square numbers As we've got two squares in today's date, I thought I'd go for a square themed post. Also I've just realised that this year contains 25/04/16, and 25/09/16, both even better excuses for a lesson on square numbers.
These are all great investigations/rich problems with plenty of practice working with square numbers  a little more interesting than fifteen questions out of a textbook. If pupils have to learn facts, such as the squares to 15, I think it's better to embed them into something a little mathematically rich than just drill. Cuisenaire rods and introducing algebra23/2/2016 Post 23/29 in the Staffrm #29daysofwriting challenge: Putting ideas into practise So I had one of those lessons today that reminds me exactly how great this job can be. I snuck in an extra blog over half term about using Cuisenaire rods to introduce algebraic expressions with Year 7, and I guineapigged the lesson with them today  it worked so well, and I imagine would have been even better if we'd actually had sets of Cuisenaire rods rather than working on square paper.
We started by playing around with the Cuisenaire interactive from NRich  none of them had used the rods at primary, so I thought it was probably important that we got used to the basics. I started by building a couple of bonds to 10, then getting the pupils to explain what was there. They started by using numbers, referring to "the eight block" and "the two block", but quickly started describing them as "brown" and "red", and saying things like "brown plus red" quite naturally. Teaching Pythagoras' theorem31/3/2015 I absolutely love teaching Pythagoras' theorem  not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the sense of "wow" I got when I first learned about it and realised that maths isn't all about doing sums. There's loads of really interesting stuff you can do with it, and as the first real theorem that most pupils will meet, I think it's worth doing it justice.
Teaching rounding24/3/2015
Introducing fraction arithmetic (2)8/3/2015 This is part of a series of blogs on my favourite way to teach adding and subtracting fractions in a way that sticks and really develops understanding of the process. If you haven't already done so, you can read about Lesson 1 here. Lesson 2  The importance of equalsized bars At the start of the next lesson, present pupils with two more sets of data, this time comparing two groups of unequal size. Using group sizes of 20 and 30 are particularly effective. I usually get the class to first represent both sets of data on two more bar diagrams using the template from the previous lesson and get them to record the fractions of Year 8s and 9s that preferred each fruit, cancelling down to the simplest form.
Introducing fraction arithmetic (1)8/3/2015
The lesson(s) detailed below have been absolutely groundbreaking for me in terms of teaching adding and subtracting fractions in a way that makes the topic stick and that pupils really understand. The ideas behind it were introduced to me as part of the NCETM's Multiplicative Reasoning course (previously mentioned in my blog about bar modelling). Unfortunately, while I have the lesson materials, I'm still unsure about their status in terms of sharing  they were presented to us as trial materials, with the suggestion that they would be available to schools nationwide once the project had finished, but I can't find them anywhere on the NCETM's website (yet). So although I can't post a link to the PowerPoint and lesson materials I'm using, I thought I'd pop up a quick blog about the ideas behind the materials.

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