Bespoke professional development in department meetings

Thursday 25th March 2021

On Monday 4 January 2021, Cath Moore, GCSE Professional Development Lead for the AMSP, delivered a bespoke INSET session during The Downs School, Inset Day. The session ran for two hours and covered the content requested by the Head of Maths at the school.

Cath ran the session in two parts. In the first hour, we looked at how we could define Sine and Cosine using the unit circle rather than SOHCAHTOA – in fact, the whole idea of the session was to remove the need for students having to rely on this pneumonic and to have a better understanding of the definitions of Sine, Cosine and Tangent. This was done through animations and visual representations which can easily be shown on an interactive whiteboard. The first part focused on teaching from KS3 to GCSE. There were lots of great questions from the teachers and good discussion.

The second part of the session drew on knowledge from the first part and how these ideas can be extended for A level students and their knowledge of Trigonometry. Some of the teachers found this session more challenging, and feedback on the whole session was good.

Some of the feedback that we received included:

  • I liked the idea of linking to similar triangles using a scale factor rather than SOHCAHTOA so that it could be extended. Also that they advocate unit circle and then graph and not the other way around. I'd seen the tangent before but had forgotten it.
  • Good to see how the Trigonometry could be introduced by the unit circle and then follow-through and extend using the same basic concept.
  • Today’s session was useful to try to see it as a student and feels like a good match to idea of mastery with opportunities for investigation and problem solving. The GeoGebra diagrams were very good showing the sin and cos or \(x\) and \(y\) values changing with angle as well as the negative values for larger angles but animations are even better especially for \(>360\) and \(<\) \(0\).
  • I really enjoyed this today the first part was pretty straightforward but with some useful information. The second part (A level) had me stretching the grey cells somewhat but I’ll have a look back at the recording just to ensure I haven’t misunderstood. It is always good to have refreshers on things especially when it has been some time since you looked at them.

If your school has a need for some bespoke maths-related training, not necessarily Trigonometry, then it’s always worth contacting your local Area Coordinator to see if it’s possible. We have access to many experts through either the AMSP or many of our partner organisations. As with all of our professional development offers, this would be free of charge to state-funded schools and colleges.

By Yvonne Scott

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