Cellular Automata in Google Sheets

Piers YoungLife, Thoughts6 Comments

I’ve been exploring binary with Year 8s and thought they might like to have a look at the weird world of Cellular Automata. There are lots of resources out there but I couldn’t find one that helped them create their own easily. So I made this in Google Sheets. It’s pretty simplistic but essentially there are 2 steps. Step 1) … Read More

Early Steps in Blended Learning

Piers YoungThoughtsLeave a Comment

I think a penny has finally dropped. I’ve been mulling over blended learning for a while but have never quite summoned up the energy. I’ve also been thinking about ways I can apply the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle to my teaching, so I can spend more time doing the fun parts of teaching. Slower than most, I suspect, but … Read More

Research on Ability Grouping and Setting in Maths Classes

Piers YoungNotesLeave a Comment

I’ve been trying to tie together some of the various bits of research I’ve come across for and against ability grouping in maths. Below is what I’ve got so far, but would love any other pointers, for or against. The last 30 years’ research suggests setting marginally improves high-achievers, but to the detriment of everyone else. Sources are: DfES (2004) … Read More

Doodling and Maths

Piers YoungNotes1 Comment

Vi Hart’s site is fabulous. I keep banging on to my students that it’s not just OK but important to doodle in maths. It helps you ‘see’ problems if nothing else. Some get it, some think it’s just a bit weird. Then I show them videos like this. Vi, despite the manic voiceovers, shows that maths can be explored with … Read More

The Indiana Jones of Solar Power

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Aidan Dwyer – at 13 years old – has made a solar power breakthrough by looking at the way trees are shaped. That’s pretty darn impressive – a little bit like the Blackawton primary school science class and their academic paper on bees. What I love, though, is his explanation of the process of his discovery. It has pattern-spotting, curiosity, … Read More

Passwords and Powers

Piers YoungNotesLeave a Comment

xkcd’s Password Strength cartoon might be a fun prompt for a maths lesson. Children at primary school seem to like cracking codes, and hackers have a certain murky glamour to them. Better yet, password, security and spying is a rich topic. My Year 5’s have loved some basic frequency analysis. It ties in with the Tudors and the Babington Plot … Read More