Using the 5Es in Remote Maths Instruction

This is an outstanding article from Edutopia about the benefits of the 5Es instructional model, although it doesn’t address a lot of the specific difficulties in adapting this model to remote instruction.

It suggests, for example, dragging and dropping clipart on a Google Slides presentation to simulate the physical manipulation of objects in the classroom. I question the extent to which this is a substitute for physical manipulation and the engagement that results, although any interaction is better than none.

There are two good links to activity websites: Desmos, which offers a good range of algebra and geometry activities, with a section curated for British GCSE Maths, and Open Middle.

Sugar Awareness Week

‘Sugar Awareness Week’ runs until 24th January – and I don’t know about you, but I can always benefit from being reminded of the healthy limits on sugar intake.

Young people may also need some extra guidance to interpret food labelling and so there is a very important role for mathematics here, including developing a better understanding of measurements and proportions.

You can use food labels from students’ favourite foods and explore potential sugar intake; with the students learning remotely from home, they could use the food they have to hand. E.g. How much sugar is in a can of baked beans?

This factsheet provides a useful introduction to the topic:

There are numerous resources on food labelling here:

Today is World Religion Day

World Religion Day is an opportunity to promote understanding and harmony between different faiths. It was started by the Bahá’í faith, which itself promotes respect and understanding between religions.

Here is a fabulous table that breaks down the proportion of religious followers in every country in the world, providing an opportunity to learn about religions and percentages simultaneously!


There are a number of ‘Countdown’ simulators on the net – this one has some added functionality and features the letters and conundrum games, as well as the numbers.

Have fun using it, either as a starter or as a buffer between sections of a lesson.

Today is ‘World Braille Day’

Louis Braille was born on this day in 1809. His invention is a writing system that allows blind and partially-sighted people to communicate, using patterns of raised dots that can be identified as letters by touch.

There are a number of opportunities to raise awareness of Braille in the maths classroom:

  • There are a limited number of configurations of dots in a Braille cell. Can you work out how many?
  • Can you describe the layout of dots in a Braille cell in words? (Promotes use of language such as ‘parallel’, ‘rows’ and ‘columns’.)
  • Which letter in the Braille alphabet has the most lines of symmetry?

You can find out more about Braille and its usage here:

And here is a very engaging maths activity that use Braille to encourage mathematical thinking:

Improve Your Digital Skills

If you’re one of those teachers for whom technology is a constant source of bewilderment, or would like to discover what’s changed in technology since calculators became smart and started doing graphs, then you might want to pay a visit to ‘Enhance’ – the Education and Training Foundation‘s online training offer.

It supports the Digital Teaching Professional Framework – a competency framework for teaching and training practitioners in the FE and Training sector.

The main offer is a free suite of modules offering training on EdTech (educational technology) that covers the range of strands in the DTPF. Each module features a short video introducing the module’s concepts, including one or more case studies illustrating the main points. There are then 2-3 activities that provoke the teacher to think of how the concepts introduced affect teachers and learners and how they can be incorporated generally into teaching and learning practice. Finally, there is an opportunity to record reflections on how the teacher might change their practice using their own resources or teaching practice .

To enhance motivation, digital badges can be earned for completion of modules, which can be tracked by reference to a profile page.

The quality of the modules is variable; some modules introduce general concepts that fail to provoke much useful thought beyond what most teachers will consider to be core knowledge and skills. Others are extremely thought-provoking and motivating, opening up innovative ways of thinking about how technology can be harnessed to improve teaching and learning.

New categories of modules have recently been introduced, including ‘Creating Content Fundamentals’, ‘Engaging Learners’ and ‘Innovation and Change’ – all of which are vital strands of knowledge, especially in the current situation in which remote teaching and learning has become a core requirement.

The Education and Training Foundation has produced an excellent introductory video to the Enhance system, which you can view below.

I’ve really enjoyed working through the modules and found many of the modules extremely motivating, especially where they’ve provided additional ideas for introducing creativity into the teaching and learning process.

Enjoy discovering!

H5P content

I’ve become interested in creating interactive learning resources using H5P, which is an open-source framework based on Javascript.

It offers a powerful selection of tools that make it easy to create all kinds of learning content – including interactive quizzes, presentations and games.

No programming knowledge is needed – just creative thought and a willingness to spend time putting together content.

Below is my first attempt at using it. I’ve created a short lesson on ‘circle elements’, using public domain images and my own simple circle graphics. Have a go at it below and give me your thoughts in the comments – either as a student or a teacher.

You can find out more at