Getting a taste

This post was prompted by a tweet from @rufuswilliam who asked about A-level taster sessions for year 11s in today’s #mathsTLP chat (7pm-8pm every Sunday). For those of you who are unaware, most schools invite their year 11 students back after their GCSE exams for a couple of days to give them a ‘taste’ of A-levels and what they are all about. The idea is to help them mentally prepare for what awaits them after the summer (not that anything really prepares them for the huge jump from GCSE to A-Level).

All teachers have their preferred approach to these taster sessions and I thought I would share what I have done over the past couple of years.. After an intro into the course and sharing what our department expectations are, I like them to get their hands dirty with a bit of exploring and coming up with conjectures. I stick to their GCSE knowledge so there is no new learning, but there is a higher level of challenge and the opportunity for some students to go on and prove their conjectures. A useful approach as it is easy to differentiate and everyone feels some success and, most importantly, it gives them an insight into what maths is all about. Here is the lesson I used last year with our A-Level maths taster sessions (Smart Notebook). I have taken the main ideas form the fantastic RISP activities. If you haven’t come across these before, RISP stands for ‘Rich Starting Points’ – definitely recommend you check them out!

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Download A-Level maths taster session (Smart notebook version Dropbox)

Download A-Level maths taster session (Smart notebook version)

Download A-Level maths taster session (Exported PPT version)

A couple of years ago, I ran the taster sessions for our further mathematicians. Rather than just stick with GCSE content, I took a slightly different approach by building on their knowledge and introducing the idea of complex numbers. It helped that I had some knowledge of the students already so knew that they would be able to engage well with this. Here is the lesson I used:

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Download A-Level Further Maths taster session (Smart notebook Dropbox)

Download A-Level Further Maths taster session (Smart notebook)

Download A-Level Further Maths taster session (Exported PPT version)

Feel free to use and adapt any of the resources above. The twitter conversation below may give you some further ideas. I would be interested in any other ideas so please use the comment section below to share. Also, if you haven’t done so already, make sure you subscribe below.


photo credit: amanda tipton via flickr cc


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