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Generating Genuis at Birkbeck University | Teaching A Level Mathematics

BYT maths tutor James Weber took part in the Uni-Genuis programme run by Generating Genius. Here he recounts his experience working with sixth formers at Birkbeck University

BYT James Weber teaching C3 A Level MathematicsBYT James Weber teaching C3 A Level Mathematics

I led two 3-hour sessions held at Birkbeck University for bright, determined sixth form students on the Uni Genius programme run by the educational charity Generating Genius. I found the experience really enjoyable, particularly given the determination of the students to improve their understanding of maths, and a great learning opportunity in terms of planning lessons and ensuring that students of mixed-ability can all improve their understanding of a topic.

James Weber graduated from the University of Cambridge with a double first in Natural Sciences in in 2016. Since then he has garnered over 280 hours of tutoring experience covering A Level Sciences and IB Maths.James Weber graduated from the University of Cambridge with a double first in Natural Sciences in in 2016. Since then he has garnered over 280 hours of tutoring experience covering A Level Sciences and IB Maths.

The morning session covered the C1 A-Level Mathematics syllabus and was attended by 13 students, mostly in Year 12, of mixed ability.

We worked through the topics of

  • QuadraticandCubic Functions

  • Inequalitiesand Simultaneous Equations

  • Indices, Line andCoordinate geometry,

  • Differentiation and Integration.

I used the common theme of graphs to links these topics and demonstrate to the students that…

… to excel in A-Level Maths it is important to understand the connections between different topics, rather than see them as disparate elements.

For example, understanding the law of indices is vital for the differentiation and integration modules.

Simultaneous equations can pose a challenge!Simultaneous equations can pose a challenge!

We also worked through a lot of past exam questions, something many of the students had not done before. I believe working through such questions is key to improving one’s understanding of the syllabus and also helps teach exam technique. Several students said they would look to attempt past exam questions when revising in the future.

The afternoon session covered the more advanced C3 -Level Mathematics syllabus and was attended by 14 Year 13 students. We covered functions, graph transformations, trigonometry, differentiation and integration, again largely through exam questions.

Trigonometry in particular is a tough topic and when offered the choice between looking at trigonometry and iteration, the classes responded with a resounding desire to cover the former!

This group were more confident and so most of the students were called upon during the lesson to write their answers to exam questions on the board and explain them to the rest of the class; something they found challenging but ultimately, I feel was beneficial since it made them think hard about their reasoning.

Teaching A Level Mathematics with Generating GeniusTeaching A Level Mathematics with Generating Genius

Generating Genius is a fantastic charity which helps students with both their academic work but also their general confidence and the challenging high school to further education & employment transition. I would like to thank Generating Genius and Bright Young Things for giving me the opportunity to work with the students. I was delighted to read about the positive feedback from the attendees and I am looking forward to working with them again in the future.

James Weber is a Science and maths tutor and graduate of the University of Cambridge (Double First in Natural Sciences.) With his significant tutoring experience, he has helped a number of students dramatically increase their grades at A level Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

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