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Where's the Father?

Sunday 1st August 2021

This is the Transum Newsletter for the month of August 2021. It begins, as usual with the puzzle of the month.

A woman is 21 years older than her son. 

In six years' time she will be 5 times as old as her son. 

Where is the father?

While you think about that (the answer is at the end of this newsletter) here are some of the key resources added to the Transum website during the last month:

I am very grateful to White Rose Mathematics for allowing me to share their Schemes of Learning (known as schemes of work back in the day) on the Transum website. I am making each scheme into a clickable page linking to the Transum resources for each of the Blocks (topics). For example here is Year 8: > Enter > Curriculum > Year 8

Year 8 Scheme of Learning

I hope those of you using the White Rose schemes find this directory useful.

One of the new set of exercises I created while working on the Year 7 scheme is called Fraction of... It proved to be particularly popular as many pupils earned trophies from it in its first day.

Product Square is a randomly-generating puzzle presented in eight levels. The objective is to place the numbers one to nine on a three by three grid so that the row and column products are as given. At level one all but two of the numbers are already in place on the grid but as you go forward through the levels the number of ready-placed numbers is less generous. At level eight no clues are given and you will find that knowledge of the divisibility tests is really useful.

Product Square: New Maths Learning Resource


Bar Charts was suggested by the Conyers' School Head of Mathematics and went live in the middle of last month. It begins with reading simple bar charts then continues with dragging bars to the correct height then comparative, composite and grouped bar charts.

New Bar Charts Learning Resource


Angles Mixed has a new Level 4 which includes circle theorems.

Equivalent Fractions has a new Level 4 dedicated to cancelling fractions.

Venn Diagrams of Sequences is one of the wonderful ideas from Craig Barton and he kindly gave me permission to make an interactive version of the activity. I've already tried it out on some students and have been very pleased with the results. The best time to use it is just after the time when students can look at an arithmetic sequence and figure out the formula for the nth term in their heads.

Venn Diagrams of Sequences


How can the game of Dots and Boxes be upgraded? By adding fractions as scores is the answer. I would like to introduce you to Boxed In Fractions.

Boxed In Fractions


Overloaded Fraction is yet another new resource (can you tell I'm in lockdown?). It is presented in the form of a ten-level puzzle in the drag and drop style. Use the digits provided to produce a fraction equivalent to the simplified fraction given.

For those in the northern hemisphere it won't be too long until you are Back to School. I hope you find one or two of the resources I have selected useful.

I heard recently that each ear of corn has an even number of rows. I haven't checked and have yet to find a nice way to include that in a mathematical activity. Ideas welcome!

When you use Google it sometimes goes above and beyond the normal list of search results and provides instant search cards at the top of the page. These cards contain the information you searched for, but also include interactive controls to let you experience the information in a more engaging manner. A canny pupil might use these cards as a short cut to answering their maths homework.

With this in mind I remembered a poster I had in my classroom when I first started teaching many years ago. I think it was produced by the Mathematical Association but I can't find it on their website so I assume it is out of print. Here is the gist of the poster as best I can remember it.


Looking up the answer in the back of the book to check you have answered the question correctly is not cheating.

Asking a friend how to solve a problem is not cheating.

Using a calculator to check your work is not cheating.

Cheating is when you pretend you understand when you really don't. That's when you are cheating yourself.

So in 2021 we should add "Using Google search cards to help develop a better understanding of a concept is not cheating."

Transum subscriber Claudette suggested a modification to the teacher's Trophies page. She wanted to be able to be able to select which trophies she can view by selecting the activities in the key below the table. That feature has now been included. It does make me realise just how many trophies pupils are earning and how easy it is for teachers to keep track of progress. Just think of all that marking you are spared!

Trophy cabinet


Don't forget you can listen to this month's podcast which is the audio version of this newsletter. You can find it on Spotify, Stitcher or Apple Podcasts. You can follow Transum on Twitter and 'like' Transum on Facebook

Finally the answer to this month's puzzle:

W = S + 21 

(W + 6) = 5(S + 6) 

S + 27 = 5S +30 

4S = -3

S = -3/4

That's strange. A negative amount! In terms of time this represents nine months before the son is to be born. I will leave the last part of this puzzle for you to work out yourself. Where was the father nine months before his son was born?

That's all for now,


P.S. I'm a Maths teacher ... of course I have problems!

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