Thanks to Jenny for hosting!
Present: Cam Fehr, Jenny Barker, Rachel Brookins, Ian Noakes, Bridget, Cecilia Freer, Tabitha Steel, Lydia Hewitt (Swavesey), Sarah Kupski, Sarah Denney (Ely), Agnes Davies (St Peter’s), Helen Harris (Newport), Barbara Sterecki (Chesterton), Deborah Gordon (Longsands), Mark Dawes (Comberton)
Notes by Mark Dawes
Focus: The broad focus of the meeting was manipulating algebraic expressions.
Cam showed us the iPad app ‘Dragon Box 2’, where expressions and equations can be simplified. This looks good when projected using AppleTV and also looks like it would be good for individuals to use.
Tabitha was excited about the possibilities afforded by the software ‘Grid Algebra’, which is available from ATM. http://www.atm.org.uk/shop/products/sof071.html
A site licence is £135 for members of ATM. Creating and simplifying complicated expressions looked good. Tabitha suggested that it was important to receive support from experts (she had seen Dave Hewitt, the author, demonstrate it) initially.
Mark wondered about extending the negative numbers ideas from last meeting (where +1 and -1 together formed a circle and equalled zero) to include x and -x too. We discussed the possibilities this could offer. This could start with simplifying expressions, it could also include expanding brackets and solving equations. It might be useful to have card/laminated versions of the materials to act as manipulatives too.
The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) requires Java, but has some interesting ideas. http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html
We liked the ideas included in ‘Algebra Tiles’, but wondered whether it would be better recreated on the IWB (although the facility to change the size of the ‘x’ was useful). We liked being able to factorise quadratics using this.
Sarah shared a QR-code idea she had downloaded from TES. http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/BIDMAS-BODMAS-QR-Code-Treasure-Hunt-6295093/
Posters are put up around the room and pupils use their phones to get the next question. She used this as a revision exercise.
To create your own QR codes: Google will do this automatically (and will also act as a URL shortener).