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What do Sherlock Holmes, black swans, Vicky Pollard, and Alice and Bob all have in common? That’s right… they are all examples used in a new professional development event coming up this term.

The 2017 revisions to A level included a new section on Proof. Whilst proving things has been in A level forever, it’s previously been employed primarily as a tool to establish something; now, however, proof is a topic to be studied for itself. For instance, previously students might have seen or used a proof that

is irrational, but the issue has been the irrationality, not the method of proof. Instead, now the focus can be on the proof rather than the irrationality. Students may be asked to prove some unimportant result (which may not even be on the curriculum) to see whether or not they understand the methods of proof.

In this new professional development event, we will explore the nature of proof in A level Mathematics as it has emerged in sample materials, examination papers, and examiners’ reports, and consider the pedagogy required to help students master the four different types of proof specified. With the demise of STEP 1, many schools will be looking at MAT and TMUA to extend their students’ problem solving capability. Both MAT and TMUA include logic, and we’ll also explore the range of logic questions required in these papers.

As usual, keep an eye on the AMSP events page for further details nearer the time, or contact your local Area Coordinator.

By Martyn Quigley

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