Research School Network: Teaching Mathematics Remotely Our maths department has been holding regular remote meetings to share their experiences and to refine their practice.

Teaching Mathematics Remotely

Our maths department has been holding regular remote meetings to share their experiences and to refine their practice.

by HISP Research School
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Adapting Learning Checks.

In the classroom we regularly do learning checks” which allow us to check understanding, influence planning and implement classroom interventions. To help with this during remote teaching we have tried to use some of the IT that is already available to us. An example is to set a few quick questions on Mathswatch for the pupils to complete at the end of the lesson, similar to an exit ticket. Feedback is given instantly to the pupils and results can be quickly and easily checked by the teacher to support future lessons and learning.

Another way of adapting Learning checks was to use FORMS in the style of an online quiz. I set 4 questions on a particular topic which has informed my planning for future lessons.

Looking ahead to September, home learning tasks could be adjusted to include the use of FORMS as pupils are now familiar with this tool and can easily adapt.

Slates / Graphic Tablets.

Using a slate or graphic tablet has several benefits when teaching face to face with pupils either using a Zoom’ or Teams’ platform. I have been using Promethean activslates which in many respects are technology from a bygone era.

Maths 1

Quality and explicit instruction is at the heart of all frameworks of effective teaching; not having a whiteboard and in many cases being denied or restricted access to responses to effective questioning and immediate classroom assessment has been challenging. Many students have not embraced using a microphone when on line and teaching can seem a fairly isolated task.

Sharing my screen and using my normal IWB platform has allowed pupils to develop their thinking and seeing my normal’ modelling style in front of them at home I believe has increased their confidence; developing greater participation in the learning.

Pupils like the capability of asking me to model a particular question; give live prompts and model answers. Saving either annotated power point presentations or IWB files allow emailing of notes to pupils needing extra input or those not attending a particular session.

Maths 2

The challenges include:

  • Not being able to see written questions from pupils when sharing a screen.
  • The quality of my writing which is normally poor is compounded by using a slate.
  • Copying all mediums, pdf and word documents into a format which allow the teacher to annotate live.
  • Switching between can be intimidating when starting.


All students benefit from modelling and the use of concrete’ examples to help with their understanding. Teaching remotely has meant the greater use of a visualiser to ensure this modelling is taking place.

Maths 3 cropped

When teaching the challenging topic of Trigonometry in 3D’ practical resources such as geometrical shapes are often used in the classroom. These assist students’ visualisation of planes running through the shapes. Using the visualiser remotely to show a model (albeit a home-made cuboid) meant that students could see the shapes within a 3D solid, and hence use trigonometry to calculate missing lengths. The camera was able to get closer and show more detail than would be possible by holding up or passing round shapes in a classroom, so will be used again on our return to the classroom.

Another form of modelling has been to use show model answers rather than just solutions. So for those who want to self-mark or to get a tip to get started on problem solving questions in Maths workings have been hand-written, photos taken, uploaded and attached to the assignment. This has allowed students to become more independent and work at their own pace.


Moving from the classroom to video makes you think more about the language of maths. Using words with multiple meanings without the use of body language, when sharing a screen with only sound, can create uncertainty in the minds of lower ability pupils.

While in a booster class it is easy to move a question from pupil to pupil. Online if the words are not clear and appropriate to the level then some pupils who struggle a bit more lack confidence in the topic freeze and do not answer.

As a LSA sometimes trying to work out when to step in and take over without denting their willingness to engage has been a something to overcome.


Remote teaching has highlighted (even more) the need to develop teaching and learning activities that are designed to foster confidence. Adapting teaching strategies was essential to meet the needs particularly of lower attaining pupils. Reducing cognitive load and increasing working memory helped to ensure engagement and quality teaching and learning. A guidance fading model was adopted (examples where the working is only partially complete, with students needing to do the rest).

We did this when teaching with live worked examples (pupils copy directly from the screen onto templates) and when designing / setting independent tasks. Some examples are below.

Maths 4

We chose this method because with live-handwritten worked examples it is sometimes impractical to demonstrate extra examples if needed or to produce faded examples.

Using applets, also enabled us to overcome this problem as, in the example below, it was possible to select the number of steps that a pupil had to complete by simply dragging a slider.

Maths 5

Pupils have been successful in being able to use and apply this approach during lessons, and are used to the I do, we do, you do’ approach. In fact, pupils were able to make good progress leading to gradually removing the guidance until there was none.

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