I’m experimenting with some of the more complex questions that will be asked in the forthcoming GCSE examinations – the sort of questions which often draw together a number of areas of mathematics. Of course the best way to answer these questions is the break them down into their constituent parts. The question is, do the students remember how to solve each constituent part?

As an example I’ve put something together based around 2 questions that caused some consternation in the Edexcel 2015 higher tier paper 1 GCSE paper – the Hannah’s sweets problem, which hit the news, and (in my opinion the much harder) grain container question.

The process I’m trying is starting with the big question (the actual question) they looking to break it down into the different mathematical techniques required to answer the question and giving an example of how to solve each. Then finally try and solve the big question now they’ve experienced how to solve each of its constituent parts.

So, for example, the Hannah’s sweets problem needs an understanding of conditional probability, how to form algebraic expressions, how to solve a quadratic equation and how to solve an equation involving algebraic fractions.

You can download the PDF file for each under its picture.

As always, let me know if you want the editable word versions and if you use them, let me know how it goes.

The big question HANNAHS SWEETS The big question GRAIN CONTAINER