Category: IB Maths

New Year, new resolutions

The start of every new teaching year for a teacher is like waking up on January 1st. New objectives, resolutions, most gone by the third week of September. As I start my 25th year as a Maths teacher I am going to commit mine to my blog. They are:

Keep a weekly blog going with some of the best resources I have used.
Learn to use GeoGebra in support my IB HL AI group especially.
Develop more class material for and
Develop a detailed bank of material from some of the best resources out there.

SSDD Questions

Same surface different deep (SSDD) problems are a concept from Craig Barton, where he asks different questions based on one concept. You can read all about them here on Craig’s website. There are plenty of resources that can be used for IB, mainly look through the A-level content. I have also started developing some for the IB. Here are my attempts so far, all made in Google, so you can copy for your own class.
Straight lines,  Completing the Square, Functions, Logarithms, Binomial probabilities.
They are also added onto my website under the appropriated lessons.

My website ( is now fully updated ready for the new courses that start August 2019, for first examination in 2021. I am phasing out paid memberships, so all new courses are free. I am including many resources, such as Google Docs for use in teaching that will allow teachers to edit and adjust to their own style.
At present the website is fully functional, but their are some areas that are lacking in content, such as Voronoi for AI courses, and some areas of the HL AI course. I have material ready to publish but it will need checking first. I plan to grow these areas as I teach and plan for them.
Some major changes that will happen are more resources from other teachers, such as Geogebra and Desmos lessons that are already in the public domain – all of these have been credited on my website.

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice for me goes hand-in-hand with spacing or spaced practice. In the 2018-2019 academic year I tried various retrieval ideas, but settled on setting spaced/retrieval homework, and completing starter low quiz tests twice a week (I teach most classes 4 times a week, for 50 minutes). 
Thanks to @BeckyHall75 on Twitter who gave me the idea of making up these quizzes: last lesson; last week; last unit; last year. Making these quizzes can take a little time, but they are invaluable to students.

The learning scientists episode 3

The learning scientists episode 14

Spaced Practice

Spaced practice was one of the aspects of my teaching that I worked on for 2018-2019 academic year. The idea is simple and I worked on implementing two very easy strategies: spacing tests, spacing homework. I also put in regular low-quiz retrieval tests to complement the spacing.
With my classes I spaced all end-of-unit tests to be at least one unit apart. So for example at IB I would teach Quadratics, then functions, logarithms. The test for quadratics would be at the end of the functions section. I allowed students the opportunity to have one or two lessons revision time, that included structured work and a revision form for homework.
Homework was all on work that had been completed, getting away from the model of teach and then set homework. I set homework (usually online Myimaths or Google forms) that I knew we had covered, and left links for video or example work if required.
Did it work? I have no evidence to say it worked, but it made my teaching seem better, and put a structure in place for the students.
I have included links to the learning podcasts on spaced practice, but also check out the retrieval practice posts with more links.

The learning scientists episode 4

Hannah Fry

Hannah Fry should be the goto source for anyone who wants to understand the importance of maths in the modern world and its use in ToK. Hello World, her book about algorithms and AI is a must read for ToK students who wish to do anything on Maths for their assessment.
I have included a few links here to some Ted talks and other various videos that have an insight into ToK and maths. There is so much more to explore and plenty to use in ToK, but start with watching these videos and then look into reading her books.

IB New Courses

Since the changes were made public in February I have been working on updating resources and getting my head around the new 2019 curriculum. Opposite is a very simple slideshow on the changes. The colour codes will be used on my free resource platform ( for the teaching of each level.
I am also sharing a more comprehensive guide from Revision Village.

Google Classroom

I did a training session with local international school teachers with a focus on Google Classroom. Often these sessions feel like information overload so I always try and create a site with video and key points. Here is the site with the basics of Google Classroom for anyone interested.

HL Day 1
My students need to revise before their mock examinations in mid-January. Trying to get them to do a past paper question a day is troublesome so I have created a Google form with a question a day and a video with the answer. All the questions are from old IB HL papers.