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Jul 032014

If you have not yet tried Squares and Cubes do this first.

A square root is the opposite of squaring a number. The symbol for square root is  √.

So if 3²=9 then  √9=3

A cube root is the opposite of cubing a number. The symbol for cube root is ³ √.

So if 3³=27 then ³ √27=3

TrySquares, Square Roots, Cubes and Cube Roots to help you become familiar with the important examples of this.

Jul 032014

To square a number you multiply it by itself. For example 3² =3×3=9

To cube a number you multiply it by itself three times. So 3³=3x3x3=27

If you are studying GCSE it is very helpful to learn the common squares and cubes to save you time in the non calculator exam. This exercise will help you do that-don’t be tempted to use a calculator! For Functional Skills students you can use a calculator. Look for the x² and x³ buttons on your scientific calculator and use these.

Each time you do this exercise you will get a different selection of questions. To do it again click the refresh icon on your browser.

May 062014

Here is a great phone app that will help you with your arithmetic so you don’t need to be afraid when you are faced with that non-calculator exam. It’s called Maths Tricks and shows you lots of short cuts to performing calculations and gives you endless practice to improve your speed and accuracy. Best of all it’s free!

You can find it on Google Play. I am recommending this because it is good, not because I have any connection to the app.




Sep 292013

Image from the Lisa Simpson Bookclub

Simon Singh has written a book about maths in the Simpsons. Read all about it here on the Guardian website.

Have a read of the article and find out about Fermat’s Last Theorem,  Perfect Numbers, Narcissistic numbers, Mersenne Primes, Googols and Googolplexs and lots more! You may not need to know this stuff to pass your maths exam, but hopefully you’ll see that maths can be both fascinating and fun!

Sep 292013

Find as many different calculators as you can. Your phone, your computer, the one in the back of the overflowing drawer in the hall. Then try this sum on all of them.

4+ 7 x 3

Do all the calculators give the same answer? What is the correct answer?

If you have a cheap four function calculator you will have got the answer 33, because it always calculates in the order you enter the sum. Unfortunately this is not mathematically correct!

If you used a scientific calculator you will have got the answer 25 which is correct. Scientific calculators understand the correct order to do calculations. Multiplication is more important than addition, so this comes first.

So how do we know what order to do calculations in? We use a rule called BIDMAS.

B rackets

I ndices

D ivision ÷

M ultiplication x

A ddition +

S ubtraction –


Always do brackets first. Then do any indices (like 2 squared or square root of 16). Some people refer to BODMAS where the O stands for “of”.) Division and multiplication come next (these have equal priority). Last is additions and subtractions (also equal priority)

Try this interactive worksheet to see if you’ve got it.

May 282013

Dr Eugenia Cheng from Sheffield University hit the news today as she published her findings about the maths behind the perfect cream tea. An internet search will find articles on BBC and ITV news and many national newspapers. Have a go at this activity to see if you can use the formulae for a perfect cream tea..

Oct 052012

Download, print and cut out the triangles. Work with a friend to try and match all the questions with the correct answers and make a shape.

Square and Cube Numbers Jigsaw