Reader in Mathematics Education at the Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University
Colin Foster explains why the guessing game isn't necessarily a bad thing
Improve your secondary students' mathematical fluency, confidence and reasoning with these free maths lessons
Whether it's mean and median, highest common factor or lowest common multiple, Colin Foster has you covered with his free Key Stage 4 maths lesson plans
Uncertainty is all around us in the world. Understanding probability helps us make better decisions about risk.
Colin Foster suggests rethinking the order in which we do things when supporting teachers at the start of their career…
We've got everything you need for your secondary maths classroom from algebra and geometry to improving number sense and mathematical fluency
Colin Foster suggests some ways of supporting students who have convinced themselves they have no aptitude for maths, and never will…
Walking under a ladder without banging your head provides an interesting context for thinking about similar triangles...
These lesson plans come in all shapes and sizes and cover every angle of secondary geometry you could wish for
The way in which the pages are numbered in a newspaper gives opportunities for students to explore number patterns and structure
Thinking proportionally helps to make sense of lots of different real-life situations
Enough. Put down the pens and close the laptop. Because there is another way, urges Colin Foster...
Just because a particular way of teaching comes instinctively to you, that doesn’t necessarily make it the most effective for your students, warns Colin Foster...
Calculations involving multiplication of whole numbers don’t have to be boring if the answers contain surprising patterns
Lots of learners have heard that ‘two minuses make a plus’ but may not apply this rule correctly or have much...
In this lesson, students are asked to decide where the centre of enlargement can go for a given shape with a...
Flowcharts are a highly visual way of communicating information and are used in this lesson to set up rules about operations...
Patterns in numbers arise in many different circumstances in the world around us. Making sense of these with mathematics allows students...
Understanding when one integer will divide exactly into another helps students to ‘make friends’ with the integers and feel more secure...
In this lesson, algebra is used to make sense of a number trick that the teacher performs. Students are asked to explore...
Ladders leaning against walls is a classic scenario for mathematics problems and is often used to address topics such as Pythagoras’...
In this lesson, students use Pythagoras’ theorem to find accurate values for the perimeters of some triangles. Although the values of...
Can you make a shape sorter, with at least four different shapes and holes, so that each shape will go through...
Learners are often asked to practise finding the third angle of a triangle when the other two are given. In this...
Mathematical questions about a photo in a carpark gives a real-life context to this maths lesson. Students will devise their own...
Calculating the angles for sectors in pie charts involves some useful thinking, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students learn how to...
Bearings are a precise way to describe one location relative to another, and have widespread uses. They can be a useful...
Square numbers provide an interesting context for students to make conjectures and use algebra to prove them, says Colin Foster… In this...
When a goat is tethered to a shed, how much of the surrounding area can they reach? Colin Foster explains how...
If you choose which student will answer a question by drawing lolly sticks bearing their names from a cup, how many...
A counting-out game provides a context for students to apply knowledge of sequences, multiples and powers, says Colin Foster… In this lesson,...
A counting-out game provides a context for students to apply knowledge of sequences, multiples and powers, says Colin Foster In this lesson,...
Prime numbers are all around us, and they’re important, yet some are more important than others. Help your pupils discover how...
Understanding how different kinds of averages are calculated and behave is an important skill, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students tackle...
Making sound decisions about purchases is an essential use of mathematical thinking… In this lesson, students consider pairs of alternative discount vouchers...
Get them exploring this important method for solving triangles, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students will explore how the sine rule...
Understanding distances and movements in 3 dimensions is vital for living in a 3D world, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students...
In this lesson, students are asked to create and solve some puzzles involving decimal calculations where the decimal points have been...
Percentages are commonplace in everyday life, but can be sometimes be confusing and difficult to interpret. In this lesson plan by...
Instead of treating algebra as a foreboding, abstract topic to be feared, says Colin Foster students ought to see it as...
In this lesson, students have to find a solution to a problem where the unknowns must be non-negative integers. This constraint means...
Sometimes a technological approach is neither the best nor the easiest way to tackle calculations, says Colin Foster. In this lesson, students...
In this lesson, students are given 15 angles and 15 lengths and have to work out how they can be placed...
Working out how to carry enough food to stay alive in a challenging environment poses interesting problems. In this lesson, students use...
In this lesson, students have to find a solution to a problem where the unknowns must be non-negative integers. This constraint...
In this lesson, students explore a scenario involving two robots, each moving at a (different) constant speed along the same straight...
In this lesson, students explore decreasing arithmetic sequences in which the common difference is a decimal number. The task is to investigate...
In this lesson, students explore a set of two-variable linear equations, constructed so that when you solve any pair of them...
This lesson is about calculating how long it will take to paint a wall if several people work at it at...
In this lesson, students have to find the possible total scores when spinning two different spinners. Spinners are quick and easy to...
In this lesson, students examine two box plots showing marks obtained by two classes. First, they have to interpret the box plots,...
Students need to understand the reasons behind the formulae for the area of different quadrilaterals, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students...
Students need to understand the reasons behind the formulae for the area of different quadrilaterals, says Colin Foster… In this lesson, students...
The most obvious patterns are not always the ones we should be looking for. In this lesson, students will explore a situation...
Applying their knowledge of scale and Pythagoras’ Theorem, students are tasked with calculating the shortest route between two destinations on a...
People frequently vastly overestimate or underestimate many everyday risks, which can lead to poor decision making. One way to estimate the probability...
From this page you can download the ‘Connected Quadratics’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 2.1 ‘Connected Quadratics’ helps students...
If your maths students are struggling to see the point of why we have histograms, this lesson devised by Colin Foster...
In geometry students need to use their spatial reasoning and visualisation skills to understand the shapes and how they will move...
Mathematics teachers often say that ‘maths is all around us’, but how often does the stimulus for a mathematics lesson come...
Quadratic expressions are considerably more complicated to work with than linear expressions, and students often find them hard to handle. Students may...
In this lesson, students work on a task about pink paint, which is made from a mixture of red paint and...
Combining four numbers in a multitude of ways shows the creative power of mathematics and allows students to develop their facility...
Traditionally, pupils are taught geometrical transformations by learning a set of skills they can apply to reflecting, rotating and enlarging shapes...
Remind your students that maths isn’t just about numbers with this detailed lesson from Colin Foster that encourages pupils to take...
A million pounds sounds like a lot of cash, but exactly how much is it really? Converting a vague notion of...
In many everyday scenarios, we cannot calculate a theoretical probability of something happening. Even some simple-sounding games involving dice are complicated to...
In this open ended lesson, learners explore a sequence of gradually larger shapes and consider what mathematical questions they can ask...
Multiplication is an essential part of any student’s understanding of mathematics. Getting a sense of place value enables students to estimate...
Using a unit circle can help develop a deeper understanding of working with right-angled triangles. In this lesson, students explore the behaviour...
From this page you can download the ‘Hopping Along’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 1.1 ‘A Day at the...
From this page you can download the ‘Change the Subject’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 1.2 ‘Change the Subject’...
From this page you can download the ‘The What Factor?’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 1.4 ‘The What Factor?’...
From this page you can download the ‘Shape Up’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 1.5 ‘Shape Up’ teaches students...
From this page you can download the ‘What’s the Point?’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 1.3 ‘What’s the Point?’...
Working out how many large and small bags of doughnuts to buy so as to get your treats as cheaply as...
They’ve been taught the technique a dozen times or more…but through embedding it within a richer problem, ‘adding and subtracting fractions’...
The angles created by overlapping regular polygons can be easy or difficult to calculate, depending on what information you are given....
From this page you can download the ‘Hopping Along’ lesson plan originally published in Teach Secondary issue 5.4 and accompanying task...
‘Simplifying Expressions’ lesson plan and accompanying task sheet (originally published in volume 5, issue 2 of Teach Secondary magazine). Exercises are...