An iPod based maths lesson. (Including work on 2d and 3d shapes, measurements, area, perimeter and nets)

This lesson has been created for a level 1 Functional Skills maths class.

The following ideas are for a design based lesson that uses pretend iPod headphone packaging as a tool for reinforcing learning on shapes, measurements, area and perimeter. The lesson involves students measuring various shaped packaging, recording the data and then designing and creating their own packaging.

For this lesson you will need:

1 pyramid box, 1 cuboid box and 1 hexagon box for every two students.
Pens and pencils
Nets for pyramid, cuboid and hexagon boxes
Various logos (suitable for iPhone headphone packaging)
Worksheets (iPod Worksheet 1, iPod Worksheet 2, iPod Worksheet 3)

  1. Start the lesson by revising the names of 2d and 3d shapes and the definitions and formulas for working out length, width, perimeter and area.
  2. Reveal the different shaped packaging and illicit ideas from the students with regards to the lesson objective.
  3. Either introduce the lesson objectives yourself or alternatively a fun way to introduce the lesson would be via an ‘Apprentice’ style video clip. For the extra wow factor you might want to collaborate with one of your colleagues and film them playing the Alan Sugar style presenter.                                                                                                                                                    Using one of the groups other teachers can add an extra wow factor and make the lesson a lot more interesting for the students.
  4. Once the students have been introduced to the task present them with worksheet 1.               
    Tip: To add a competitive element to the lesson you could hold a competition for the best packaging with the learners voting for the winning entries. 
  5. Once the students have completed the worksheet and packaging it is now time to move on to worksheet 2. Worksheet  2 is designed to test the student’s knowledge.
  6. Worksheet 3 is an evaluation sheets where the students comment on what went well, what was difficult and what they’d do differently in the future.

A Yorkshire Yarn

A Yorkshire Yarn

A Yorkshire Yarn is a short documentary series exploring the English language learning experiences of three students at the University of Huddersfield. There are three episodes in the series.

The Tales  of a Trainee Tutor

‘The Tale of a Trainee Teacher’ is the first episode  and explores the experiences of Wafaa Fathy. Wafaa was born in Egypt and now lives in Leeds. She is studying for a PGCE in Lifelong Learning and is training to become a Skills for Life Tutor specialising in teaching ESOL and ICT.

Waffa – pre-video worksheet is a short introductory worksheet that students can complete before watching the video. The worksheet gives students the opportunity to guess Wafaa’s answers to the following questions;

1.Did you first come to England to study?

2.What methods did you use to learn the English language?

3.What advice do you have for current ESOL students?

Once they have complete this sheet the following worksheet, Waffa — during the video worksheet, has been adapted slightly for the students to fill in whilst watching the video. You can download the answers here – Waffa – during the video (answer sheet)

After watching the video there is a questionnaire based worksheet to complete –  Wafaa – post video worksheet.  The worksheet provides students with the opportunity to ask their fellow classmates why they started  to learn the English language and what resources have helped them with this . The students also have a chance to provide their own advice on ways to learn the English language.

Rafal’s Adventure

‘Rafal’s Adventure’ is the second episode in the series and explores the language learning experiences of Rafal Hanzel. Rafal was born in Poland and now lives in Huddersfield. He is studying for a degree in business studies and runs Raf Buy an on-line supermarket specialising in Polish products.

The worksheets for this video can be downloaded below or through Skills Workshop at

The worksheets follow the same format as the Wafaa worksheets although the questions are slightly different.

Rafal – pre-video worksheet

Rafal – during the video worksheet

Rafal – during the video worksheet (answers)

Rafal – post video worksheet

Juliet’s Story

‘Juliet’s Story’ is the third and final episode in the ‘Yorkshire Yarn’ series. Juliet Ngwenya originates from Zimbabwe but now lives in Leeds with her family. She is studying for a PGCE in Lifelong Learning and like Wafaa is training to become a Skills for Life Tutor.

The worksheets for this video can be downloaded below.

The worksheets follow the same format as the Wafaa worksheets although the questions are slightly different. The final worksheet is a paired speaking activity.

Juliet – pre-video worksheet

Juliet – during the video worksheet

Juliet – during the video worksheet (answers)

Juliet – post video worksheet

Band Night – an ICT and English lesson.

I recently observed a magnificent lesson that involved a group of students using Power Point to create a short TV advert. I thought this was a fantastic idea and all of the learners seemed to feel the same way so  I decided to adapt the lesson into a mini project for Entry Level 3 and Level 1 English and ICT students. The project is based on the theme ‘band night’ and involves the students creating their own band with their own  logo, two posters to advertise the event and a short TV advert.

Depending on the resources at your establishmets you could arrange a photoshoot for the students to take promotional photos of their band and you could also use video cameras so the students can record short interviews for their TV advert. The basic equipment that you will need to run this project is; a pack of flip chart paper, pens, one computer per student, internet access, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Power Point.

The project is designed to run over three 1.5 hours sessions.

Creating your own band.

In pairs the students create their own band. They need to give their band a name and decide on the genre of music that they play. Once they have decided these details the next task is to use a logo generator webiste ( or to create a logo for their band.

The logo will be used as part of the poster and tv advert.


After creating the logo the students next task is to work together to plan two posters to advertise the event. Once they have planned both of  the posters the students will use the computers to create one poster each


Once the students have created their poster it is now time to use Microsoft Power Point (PPT)  to create the TV advert – the advert will be a series of slides that have been set to play at a certain speed. Before they start working on the computer in their pairs the students will work together to plan their advert. Once the plan is complete they can use the computer to design their advert. For details on on how to convert the PPT to a movie file click here.

Once all of the adverts are complete you could hold a class screening and awards ceremony where the class vote for their three favourite adverts.

A worksheet that I have produced for this project can be dowloaded by clicking on the ‘Band Night Worksheet’ below.

Band Night

What’s the connection?

‘What’s the connection?’ is a fantastic literacy/ESOL game that provides students with the opportunity to explore links between groups of words.  The game can be adapted for low level learners as each word could be printed with its picture in order to help students recognise the word.

Can you figure out what these words have in common?

1.  Banana
2.  Dresser
3.  Grammar
4.  Potato
5.  Revive
6.  Uneven
7.  Assess

No, it is not that they all have at least 2 double letters..

Answer: In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.

Spelling games and activities

I’ve spent the morning organising my PGCE paperwork and came across a handy hand-out on spelling. The hand-out contained ideas and resource websites for spelling games and activities. I’ve pasted the ideas below:

Words within sentences.

How many different words can you make from one phrase or a sentence – you could try the name of your college for starters.


Print and laminate the alphabet as a series of large letters. The students then pick a random selection of  the letters and organise into constants and vowels


Using a tiled board and a random selection of letters this is a game for two or more players. Each player uses their own letter selection to create new words. Each word should contain one letter that is already on the board. An online version is available at


(AnagramA word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase)

For an anagram maker and lots of other puzzles try

Word searches

For one you can easily make yourself try


Boggle is a letter grid that can be used as a puzzle where the student uses the letters to create as many words as possible, An online version is available at

Lost consonants

Graham Rawle’s work on changing the meaning of sentences by losing one letter – look at  Look under Lost Constants for lots of examples that can be used for Entry Level students to play spot the missing letter and for inspiration Level 2 students to create their own sentences.