I got a bit nervous this week. I had to teach my high-flying year 11s how to solve simultaneous equations algebraically when one is a circle and another is linear. This was the first time I’d taught this topic and one I foresaw as having many potential obstacles to them gaining a good understanding. It links so many areas of maths: substitution, rearranging equations, expanding brackets and solving quadratic equations. Whilst I was reasonably confident they could do all these things individually, using them all in one question was going to be a real challenge for them I thought.
I decided to produce a ‘model answer’ for them to stick in their revision notebooks. That way they could concentrate on understanding the concepts and process rather than have to do that and also copy down the example. I chose the equations carefully so the x and y solutions were whole numbers. This kept it neat and tidy for the example which needed to emphasise the method for solving these problems rather than the calculation skills.