Monthly Archives: May 2017

Passing the apex of the tutoring year

I seem to say this every year, and like last year this year is no exception. This is the busiest time of tuition all year round for me. I tutor consistently 7 days a week from about March. And I have finally passed the peak of the tuition demand period. This has given me some well needed rest and a little time for reflection before I jump into the next peak of the final Summer half tuition period.

Last Wednesday were the GCSE, iGCSE, Functional Skills maths exams all in one day. Preceded by Physics GCSE and A Level Core 2 on the Tuesday. I was also mentoring and preparing a student for another subject and that too ended on Thursday morning.

Atul Rana

Caught up with a couple of other tutor friends before the Easter holidays.

And that’s just tuition with my students. In the tutoring world I run the Maths Tutors UK Facebook group, along with a few other tutor networking projects where I hold a collaborative space for other tutors. I also organise real life meetups with tutors which are an excellent social space in an otherwise lonely profession. I am getting more and more involved with The Profs and BitPaper Whiteboard who have a great forward thinking and innovative team of tutors.

It has been a really inspiring and intense year so far. Online tuition has worked out like a charm and Dyscalculia tutoring has turned out to be one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. It is all rewarding work and the longer, warmer days in May make it perfect for doing these longer hours.

I post fairly regularly on my Facebook Page, so do join or follow me there. Or even my twitter account. And for all my friends who have been trying to get me out and about to socialise or to music gigs, I promise I will get out of being a hermit stage and catch up with you very soon 🙂


How is electricity made?

Electricity. We all use it daily but how is it actually made and where does it come from? Tutoring how electricity is made is one of my favorite parts of teaching Physics. In this BBC video you will see a couple of young children being shown around a power station, and then seeing an excellent, clear demo of a kettle, a turbine and magnets that show how a power station actually works.

How is electricity made? – BBC Education

Steam Turbine

Steam Turbine

When I was 18 I was sponsored by Rolls Royce’s Industrial Power Generation branch of companies, and I took a year out with them before joining university at 19 as a first year. That year turned out to be an invaluable experience and it has come in so very handy when tutoring. I worked in a steam turbine and diesel engine factory, WH Allen of Bedford. And then a year later I worked for an electrical power generators and transformers company. I got to know a lot about power generation at a young age.

Making electricity is no magic though, and relies on some simple part of Physics all coming together. Amazingly this video is pitched for primary school children, but in reality it is invaluable during my online GCSE Physics tuition sessions. The kids are transported by curios cat the narrator to a gas-powered power plant. They get to see how a boiler, steam turbine and a generator work through a simple demo of a kettle boiling steam into a bunch of spoons set up as rotating vanes. There’s also a simple demo of electromagnetic induction using magnets, a conductor and a LED lamp.

So if you are preparing for your GCSE exam, or are just curious to how electricity is made, then click away on the link above and start your journey!


From Iron Ore to Steel Biscuit Tins

A couple of Welsh children, the animated curious cat, Fur Elise by Beethoven, blast furnaces, biscuit tins, 3rd year undergraduates, iron ore and GCSE Chemistry. What’s all this about? And how can this help with your Chemistry revision?

Picture courtesy of BBC

Blast Furnace and Iron Extraction

There are some superb educational videos out there that I use for my tutoring resources when tutoring Science online, and this one linked below is one of my absolute favourites!

How are biscuit tins made?

The extraction of iron from iron ore in a blast furnace followed by its conversion into steel is a well known process in the industrial world. And what better way to appreciate this than to see for real how this process happens? This video comes in very handy to me when I am tutoring GCSE Chemistry online. In particular the C1 and C2 modules for AQA Science. Also for the iGCSE Edexcel Chemistry syllabus.

But this video, which is made for primary school children is very versatile indeed. I first used this with a Materials Engineering undergraduate in his third year when we were doing rolling mill calculations for hot steel slabs. The calculations were very complex and at times I felt that we were losing track of what the point of the calculations were. So as always I found a video of the whole steel plate manufacturing process, starting from iron ore, going to the blast iron furnace, then going to the blast oxygen furnace, hot rolling of slabs, cold rolling of slabs, to eventually making the tins.

A couple of Welsh children ask the curios cat in this video on how biscuit tins are made. They are transported to a journey where they steel plants and tin factories. So click on the link above and get transported yourself. The music is very good too, especially at the end with Beethoven’s Fur Elise.