This week I started on the 2nd year topic of vectors with my year 13s. I know this isn’t the recommended topic from the Edexcel textbook however the content of year 2 vectors doesn’t drastically differ from that in year 1.

I used the prior knowledge skills check from the edexcel textbook as my starter (I projected the questions on the board instead of directing the students to the textbook) which looked at skills such as magnitude and adding/subtracting vectors etc. My students were competent with these skills, there was the odd murmuring of ‘i’ve forgotten how you know when two vectors are parallel’ but apart from that they had retained the knowlege well.

I then set the following task for the students to complete in pairs:

This activity is recommended on the BOM Maths SOW and I wanted to use it to allow the students to make the connections for themselves between 2D and 3D vectors. Many of them understood that to find the length of a 3D vector Pythagoras’ theorem could be applied where as others did pose the question whether it could be used for 3D vectors. This activity was brilliant as a way of revisiting concepts from last year whilst at the same time introducing a new element. I only allowed 10 minutes for this task but most of my students completed the task. For those who complete the task the recommendation is to ask the student to create their own vectors and create their own answers on the grid e.g. This vector joins the points A (3, -2, -1) and B (0, -5, 1).

Once the acticity was finished, I placed the grid on the board and asked my students to tell me which vectors they placed where and why. There are some sections of the grid that have more than one possible answer. To ensure my students had correct notes, I then put on the board the key points from the activity and asked my students to write them down. These notes included the magnitude of the vectors and the introduction of K. From there, we looked at finding the angle between a vector and an axis and followed this up with practise from the textbook.

I will certainly be using this activity again next year with my students. The activity can be found at: https://mei.org.uk/files/sow/32-vectors-res.pdf

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