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The West Midlands Core Maths Teacher Network event took place at The University of Warwick on Tuesday, 7 March. Teachers of Core Maths from across the region were once again brought together to discuss, share, collaborate, and support one another with their classroom practice. The session aimed to update teachers with the latest information about the qualification, and to give an opportunity to share resources and sources for activities. It also allowed teachers to offer insight into past pre-release materials and to offer teachers the opportunity to create resources collaboratively. 

The initial discussion was centred around the topics of Core Maths statistics, exam grading, university admissions, and the future of Core Maths. However, the conversation soon turned to data visualisations, focusing on the Desmos online calculator. In previous years, we have seen demonstrations of how GeoGebra’s spreadsheet function can be utilised to analyse and display statistics, including the normal distribution. This can support understanding of mathematics in the classroom. Arguably, with Desmos’ more ergonomic functionality, teachers could engage with several data sets, taking samples, producing graphs and charts, and analysing the results. This exercise met its aim of showing how valuable it is to use dynamic technology to make statistics more real, interesting, and understandable.

Focus then switched to engaging with the examination pre-release materials. This initially involved looking at materials from recent years from across the different awarding organisations. Teachers were challenged to consider how these materials could be used in the classroom to help students develop the skills required to have a secure understanding of the contexts involved and the mathematics that could be performed whilst engaging with these. They also considered the exam questions that could be asked about these and analysed how the exam papers used these materials. This, in turn, helped create a picture of how the 2023 pre-release materials may be used. At the time, AQA and OCR B (paper 2 only) were the only organisations to release their materials for 2023. So, the teachers, who were all following the AQA specification, engaged with the AQA materials. This involved reading and discussing the content, sharing ideas, researching useful links, generating quick questions, and collaboratively working on materials to use in the classroom. The results can be found on a Padlet specifically created for the session – teachers are welcome to utilise this for their own use.

by Tom Carpenter

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