Year 9 and I have been working on algebraic expressions this week, and the lesson I taught yesterday was successful enough to deserve a "Lesson of the Week" post.
We did the Standards Unit card sort earlier in the week, which was far more successful than usual, possibly because I attempted to structure the activity far more than I have done before. After a starter on area of a rectangle, the pupils sorted out the diagram set first, copied these into their books and worked out the area using their own terms before then matching the words and algebraic expressions. Yesterday, I'd photocopied this great resource from Tim Buckton and was planning to use it as a straightforward tenminute cut and stick, but as I had a spare halfhour of PPA before the lesson, I decided to plan and try something a bit different. 
I started the lesson with a quick introduction / explanation of the tiles, with a couple of example diagrams. In order to emphasise the area links (and for later work on factorising), I demonstrated making a tile arrangement into the "best" rectangle I could.
After we'd done this bit, I gave each pupil a pack of tiles and the card sort, spacing them out one per desk so they didn't get all their cutout bits and diagrams mixed up with their partner's.
The activity worked really well in terms of engagement for most, and I had lots of discussions with individual pupils revealing and quashing lots of common misconceptions. 
We addressed:
I'm planning to explore the area idea in a little more depth next week. You can get the slides for this lesson here. 
