Mathematics plays an important role in our lives. It is used in everyday activities such as buying, keeping time and playing games. We must equip children with the knowledge of how to go about this.
Children enter school as active thinkers, having already experienced mathematics informally, doing things in order, enjoying patterns and so on. They may even have some grasp of numbers, shape, direction, measuring, sorting and sharing.
At school we provide a structure through which children can progress from where they are, developing skills, understanding concepts and learning facts and techniques.
Staff plan for the following aspects:
- Number, Money and Measurement
- Shape, Position and Movement
- Information Handling
- Problem Solving and Mental Maths
An essential feature is the opportunity to see how mathematics relates to the real world. This gives children the opportunity to use their skills in a practical way and allows the teacher to assess if the child can use the appropriate operation for a given task. Children may run a fund raising activity, compile data on a traffic audit, keep accounts of an enterprise fund, plan and design for an area of the playground – all activities where there is a purpose and relevance.
We have recently introduced “Hermie Counts” a programme which takes place at all stages for 10-15 minutes at the start of every Maths lesson to improve mental maths. The whole school focus on one mental mathematical agility skill at a time. This provides the opportunity for learners to practise skills, discuss alternative mental methods and be shown how to use effective approaches. Time is spent discussing how answers have been reached and pupils are asked to demonstrate and explain their thinking.
Problem solving tasks involve the children in group activities of co-operation where a strategy has to be found to solve a particular problem. This engages the children in challenges; which foster thinking skills and qualities of determination and perseverance.