I introduced my S4 (Year 11) class to quadratic functions this week. They need to be able to recognise both the root form and vertex form of a quadratic, and be able to sketch a graph and also find the equation of a given graph. They do not need to be able to complete the square, however they do have to deal with coefficients of x² which are not 1. I used a set of three desmos pages I had created around the principles of variation theory. I revealed one graph at a time, getting students to sketch a prediction of the graph on a mini-whiteboard, before revealing it. Once revealed, they sketched it in their notes. Over each set they saw the links between the different parts, and even went further than I expected, making links to the y-intercept from the equation. By the end of each they were able to confidently sketch any given quadratic in either form (and perform again the next day giving slightly stronger evidence of learning). After a quick example problem pair, students were able to calculate the value of the coefficient of x² for root form problems, and next week I will return to look at vertex form problems.

I am currently doing an online course on the Science of Learning. I am enjoying it, and finding some useful ideas. I am trying to reflect on how these will become a part of my teaching. I am summarising and giving initial reflections (week 1 and week 2).

I have reviewed my weekly quizzes this week, and made the structure a little more standard, and tried to make more use of the hypercorrection effect and students reflecting on their own mistakes. I wrote a full post about this here.

I updated the unit resources for the IB Maths Studies class, which now contains links to the lessons from all bar the last two units, which we are currently finishing. I have plans to upload resources for my IGCSE classes too in the near(!?) future.

This week I ran four sessions on Cognitive Load Theory with our sixth form students. The idea was to introduce them to the concept of a limited cognitive load, and get them thinking about what they can control. We had a nice discussion about the control they have over intrinsic load (my favourite comment was that they can reduce intrinsic load through practice), and that breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks is a good way to do this. But the main focus was on how students can manage their extraneous load, both in class and in private study time. Students had lots of ideas of things that would "distract" them, and we had a discussion about the study on phones lowering cognitive abilities (http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/06/28/ut-study-smartphones-reduce-cognitive-ability-even-when-off/). This was after our collaborative working group presented at the recent INSET day on CLT.