Safe Image Searching

And the copyright has been sorted out as well

 The National Education Network Image Gallery has a mass of useful images, videos and audios for you to use in schools.

 It’s been pointed out to me that sometimes the search methods can be a bit ‘challenging’. There’s also very little to help you navigate (if there is, I couldn’t find it). So – here goes.

On the Teachers Page of the gallery is a very instructive document on how to download images and find either by browsing or by using the advanced search.

So – what about the basic search button?


Let’s see a few terms – I know my daughter put on a picture of a red squirrel. So let’s see what that gets ..


Not really.

Changing our search term to


Gives –


When you have the display on screen, the slideshow button gives you a slideshow of your search results.

A potential use in a school?

Pick a subject – for example Thames.

When the results show, select slideshow,then use one of the transition options and adjust the timing – this could make a great introduction to a subject – or even – ‘do you know what it is yet?’


Could your colleagues benefit from easy to access, safe images? How much more powerful will the gallery be if more people add material to it?


Simultaneous Equations

It’s on the internet – it must be true

When I was at school – in 6th form – we had to take RE (Catholic Boy’s Grammar School – not much choice).

During one lesson, one of the lads said ‘This religion stuff’s all okay, but you can’t prove it’

The Priest taking the lesson, Father Pathe, replied – ‘Like maths? Like this?’

The carnival is over

There’s logic in them there numbers.


tsunami tournament 

Over the years I’ve helped to organise quite a lot of football tournaments. (This one included 500 under 10s at Old Mill and Thomas Estley School Fields in Broughton Astley).

Yesterday I was at the CAS conference – Peter McOwan showed how logic can be applied to card tricks.
Which reminded me of a great knock out challenge.


The scenario

You have a knock out competition in football.
If you don’t have the correct number to start with then some teams will get byes until you do have a proper number. (2,4,8,16 etc)

Q. Can you answer the next question in one second?

There are 119 teams in the tournament. How many games are played?

How about 325 teams?

The answers are 118 and 324 respectively – the reasoning – every team loses 1 game – except the winners!

Here’s how you could use this – start the knockout with 5 teams.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 (Final)  
A vs B      
C Bye B vs C C vs E 5 teams
4 games
D Bye D vs E    
E Bye      

Record the information somewhere, clear the board and start again with a ‘regular’ number like 8.

See how quickly anyone spots a pattern, then see if anyone can explain it. (Works equally well on adults – even better with a beer!).

Excel 3d Surface Tool

Fantastic video Saltash School Excel Surface Presentation (caution- opens in youtube, so you may need to be logged in on your school RBC to show this).

The video talks about using a transparency and overlay – I like the idea of doing part of this job away from a computer.

If anyone wants an interesting challenge – plot this one! (this links to an OS map in Bing).

For a more interesting challenge – walk back UP the hill AFTER being in here for too many hours. Strange how their map just shows the pub being down any old road!

Data Handling and Google Maps

Part 2 – The Hard Bit (Handling the Data)

In part 1 I very deliberately glossed over the work required to make sense of the data presented by the Google App and how it worked inside Excel.       

The value for handling the data from this app depends on the age group and ICT expectations of your pupils.       

If you’re looking at this as a GCSE IT project, then ask your pupils to code the sheet with a VB macro and please can I have a copy?       

If – more likely – you’re looking at this and saying ‘I don’t care how awkward the data is that you start with – please give it to me so I can easily use in a spreadsheet and make a graph without too much effort’ – then read on.       

What you should have at the end of this post is a working spreadsheet you can use again and again and (hopefully) an understanding of some of the powerful string manipulation tools in Excel. I’m using 2007 but I think most of the ideas shown work in Excel 2003 and probably OpenOffice.   

Read more of this post

Google Maps and Data Handling

Part 1 – The Google Maps Bit

(Finally got my finger out – here’s part 2).
I’ve been inspired by some of the stuff that Ollie Bray has been doing with Google Maps, and I’ve been meaning to put the following together for a while. Can the tools with Google maps lend themselves to other curriculum tasks – like data handling.

Before you can do any of the following you’ll need a gmail or googlemail email account. If you’re trying any of this from inside EMBC or some other RBCs you’ll need to log in as an adult to get the correct filtering.  

Start at and – in the location window – the one on the right – make sure you’re somewhere near the right location.  

Let the fun begin..  

Firstly make sure you’re logged in to your googlemail / gmail account  

Sign In

Then – to get your google Apps in to play – select My Maps  

My Maps

If you haven’t used MyMaps before, have a browse to see what else is there  


We’re looking for Path Profiler – so find that one and click it and ‘Add it to Maps’. You’ll now see Path Profiler in your ‘My Maps’.  

Path profiler in your my maps (?)

Click on path profiler and select the options.  

In this case, I’ll pick up a training run (yes, even old people can try half marathons!). This run actually starts with a path through Bradgate Park to another car park – so to start with untick the ‘follow roads’ option. (A photosynth of the park is here)

We're on a path ..

Click on the first point on the run, then the second which is the end of the path. Then click on the ‘follow roads’ as we’re now back on roads. Notice the difference when you put the third point in  – the profiler follows the road.

Follow roads off then on

Keep clicking on points until you’ve reached the end of the lap, then click on the popup tab on the mymaps window.  

Note show roads and popup

To give –  

Is it really that steep?

Now the tricky bit starts – we want to play with the data, so CAREFULLY select the data lines and press ctrl-c to copy it to the buffer.  

If you try to paste it into Excel, you’re in for a nightmare ..  

Excel - not happy..

The challenge is that the data presented from Google Maps is in 2 lines and is not delimited in any way. We could make a macro to mess this about, but let’s try a way that doesn’t need macros..  

Start by pasting the copied text into Notepad, to see what we have – (I also ran the file through debug, but there are no special characters to work with)  

The info in notepad

Now – from notepad – save this as a txt file, then go back into Excel on a new sheet. (Excel 2007) click on the data tab and from text  

Get the data

Then select the file when prompted.
Note that Excel struggles here – it thinks the data is on a fixed filed length – it isn’t – the data is separated by spaces. (Tip – look at the letter W – it doesn’t work!)  

Check the data ..

So – select the delimited option, then select space and ‘treat consecutive delimiters as one’  

Tidying up the input

The next option specifies the start point of where your data is loaded to in to your sheet  

First data slab

Now that was a pretty tough run – but not long enough to give me a clue on stamina, resilience or – more importantly – stupidity! So – let’s make a figure 8..  

If you doubt your sanity..

Repeat the previous procedure – to get the data in via notepad – but this time be careful of the location where the data will go  

Add data AFTER existing

When the data is in Excel, you have some serious tidying up to do. On the run I recorded my times, and Excel produced this – after bits of tidying up and use of chart options  

I earned that beer

This sheet shows a few things. 

I am officially stupid
I am officially slow
I ran faster downhill than uphill
It took much longer going on the park path to second car park second time around because I was slightly cream crackered and the park was much busier

About those blogs ..

On the right hand side of my blog..

I regularly look through the blogs I’ve linked to, and there really are some nuggets in there. A fantastic item on the Kent Blog is details of the free i-board resources.

These are web based, nothing to load, and they are from a long established brand..

And they’re here

Nine Ways to Catch Kids Up

Thanks to Mark McDermott from Arnesby for this info.

It’s an American site and offers strategies to help the understanding of maths. The article contains a few very useful graphics which just don’t copy across well.

Here’s the link – Nine ways to catch kids up – please let me know what you think. (Please note that the site itself appears to be quite slow – it looks like it is worth the wait though)