year nine

Making a box

Problem I gave to Year 9 a few weeks back: Imagine taking an A4 sheet of paper, and cutting the corners out so it folds into a box. What is the maximum volume possible? Or how I actually presented the problem: I'm sure that any non-metric types could easily adapt…

Pythagoras Problem Solving Redux

Year 9 and I are working through Pythagoras' Theorem at the moment. After a little shuffling of units around, this is a little earlier than last year. An interesting consequence of this is that this is the first unit I've taught that I've blogged about previously. Getting to go back…

Parabola Transformations

Second last week of the year, and my Year Nines have a serious case of the I-don't-cares. End-of-year activities next week and the fact their reports were written last week have given them the idea that they don't really need to work this week. Unfortunately for them, I see this…

Kicking goals using technology

So I ended my last post with the words "I'm excited to see where we end up on Monday". And now it's been a month since I actually taught that lesson, and I haven't blogged since then. Oops. Let's see how I go remembering what we did... Quick recap (though…

Kicking goals with trig

So I need to start this post with an admission: I got this activity from our textbooks. In my own defense, I really only took the initial idea from the book, but then made up the rest of the lesson myself. So the idea I "borrowed" today was about rugby…

Triangles and Streamers

First day of term 4 (which was Monday - I really am running behind at the moment!) saw the start of our Trigonometry unit with Year 9. I wanted a way to get my students to start thinking about how the angles of a right-angled triangle affect its sides, while…

Volumes of pyramids

One of the most exciting things in maths is realising a connection you didn't see earlier. Hopefully this experience is what we're giving students all the time, but as teachers we get it too. And sometimes, the connection seems so obvious (to someone with a maths degree), that's it's a…

Area of a Sector

(Quick confession: this was actually weeks ago. I'm not sure why it took me this long to get around to blogging it.) Why do textbooks bother trying to explain concepts before each exercise? The kids don't read it, I don't refer to it. And the explanations take all the fun…

The distributive law

Teaching the distributive law is an interesting prospect. Because really, if students know how to multiply numbers with more than one digit they already use the distributive law, even if they don't know it. But if you write this on a board: a•(b + c) = a•b + a&…

Areas of shapes mini-posters

In my Year 9 textbook, the start of the chapter on area and volume starts with a "review" of areas from past years. And by that, I mean it says something along the line of "you should remember these formulas from Year 8," then proceeds to list the formulas for…

Jumping puzzle

So, I think a lot of people will be familiar with this puzzle. Start with an arrangement like this: The aim is to swap the positions of the green and blue counters. The counters can move either one or two spaces forward, and each space can contain only one counter.…

My first SBG units

Yesterday I wrotes about the reasons I'm experimenting with Standards Based Grading this term. Today I want to show how I'm planning to implement SBG in my classroom. Because I was away in the last week of last term, we weren't able to finish our unit on Pythagoras' Theorem before…

Testing the SBG waters

One of the changes I'm experimenting with this term is the introduction of Standards Based Grading. I've never really been satisfied with the systems I've used in the past for assessment. I really hope and believe that SBG could be what I've been looking for. I've seen people claim that…


Shaun used to be maths, IT and ocassional physics teacher at a small P-12 school (primary and secondary) in rural Victoria, Australia. He is currently in the process of starting his career again in the United States.

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Shaun Carter
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