Category: maths

Help make better maths teachers?

I have regular lecture slot with groups of trainee maths teachers on addressing and supporting special educational needs in the classroom – particularly Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia), ADHD, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health issues.

I believe it’s beneficial and powerful for them to hear from the people who actually have these conditions. Do any readers have these diagnoses (or any other SEN and/or disability) yourself, and feel like sharing something of your experience and opinions? I have a small collection of comments, (varying in length from a couple of lines to a couple of pages) but would like to add more to the bank.

I would really like to know if, as an adult, you remember anything from *your own* experience of school maths that was particularly helpful OR unhelpful for your particular pattern of strengths/weaknesses. What did your teachers do right? And wrong? Do you remember finding anything on the maths curriculum particularly easy / difficult / interesting / distressing / etc?

This is your chance to influence the next generation of maths teachers. What would you like to say to them?

Message me privately, comment below, on facebook, twitter, or whatever medium you prefer.

All quotes used will be anonymous, unless you prefer to use your real name or web handle.

* Although parents, friends, etc. of kids with SEN often (rightly) have strong opinions, for this project I’m only collecting first-hand experiences.


Spatial puzzle games

My favourite online games, most of which involve visuo-spatial perception and reasoning. All have >20 levels, each of which has a different puzzle to solve (unlike, say, the many variations on Tetris and Bubble Bobble), and start very easy then ramp up the difficulty later.

It so happens that I do think they are of educational value, in that visuo-spatial problem-solving is an aspect of mathematical thinking. However, mostly I like them because I just find this sort of thing fun.

Some of these are hosted on several sites, so if a particular link stops working, just run a search. Most are in flash, occasionally java. I’m running them in Firefox on either Linux Ubuntu or Mac OSX.

WARNING: If you’re still playing after the first few levels of any of these, you’ll probably be hooked. They are very addictive to a certain type of brain.

Ball Story

Blix (Edit: This game seems no longer to be hosted on Shockwave, or anywhere else, and searching for it just leads to a more recent (rubbish) game of the same name. NOOOOO! If you find the original anywhere, please send me the link! It has bouncy balls that you have to get into cups.)

Blocks with letters on


Continuity (Edit: Free version of this seems to have gone, but there’s a downloadable smartphone/tablet version for under £1.)


I’ll add more to the list as and when I encounter them.