Maria McLarnon


The origin of this study is rooted in an interest to design an innovative resource to teach the GCSE Mathematics topic of Loci in a more engaging and contextualised way. The aim of the resource is to provide pupils, of differing learning styles, with the opportunity to learn Mathematics through a range of mediums, particularly through hands-on and contextualised learning. The effectiveness of producing a hands-on learning resource to teach the GCSE topic of Loci is the main research question considered in this study.  The planning, design and creation of the resource consisted of two key elements; a set of five hands-on learning boards, each relating to the five specific concepts of Loci, and a Prezi Presentation, ‘5 Loci in Locustown’ which will guide both pupils and teachers around the tasks. This resource is also accompanied by a teacher-guide, acetate overlays and counters.

The resource was trialled with two experienced GCSE Mathematics teachers, four undergraduate Mathematics teachers and two GCSE Mathematics pupils. Qualitative and quantitative data, was collected for research purposes through the conduction of semi-structured interviews and completion of web-based questionnaires.

The results in the interviews and questionnaires highlighted that the resource was very successful in engaging students in the topic of Loci through the implementation of hands-on learning and ICT. However, some respondents commented that perhaps more time could have been spent trialling the product and developing it further to ensure a deeper understanding of the hidden Mathematics.


The research project provided the opportunity to be creative in designing an innovative resource to teach the GCSE topic, Constructing Simple Loci. Like many other Mathematical topics, Loci can be exciting when incorporating hands-on learning and ICT and made relevant to pupils when problems are contextualised. This way of teaching avoids isolation within learning and ensures that a pupil’s learning in Mathematics is linked to their real-life experiences.


Based on these key findings and taking account of the strengths and limitations of this research, the project could be further developed to ensure there is full understanding of the underlying Mathematics. More research needs to be invested into how pupils of all abilities and learning styles can benefit from using manipulatives in the classroom and relating Mathematics to real life situations.