Thank you for all that you are doing during these unprecedented times to support us. We recognise that mathematics teaching may well look or feel different to how we were taught and wanted to provide some guidance on this, along with links to useful websites and resources to support your children. We hope that you find this useful – please let us know if there is anything you would like added in the future.
Why is maths being taught like this?
Although it may seem at times like the maths your child is studying is confusing or different to how we were taught, the focus is now on conceptual, deep understanding, which will hopefully mean that children do not create misconceptions, such as x by 10 means you add a 0 (not helpful for decimals, such as 10 x 0.75) or x makes a number bigger (x by 1, 0, fractions or decimals are an issue here). These misconceptions, when they lead to wrong answers, eventually weaken confidence and create maths anxiety.
The Maths curriculum is giving them the tools to be in control so that they make choices about the most efficient way to approach their work, hopefully building mathematical resilience which leads to confidence in their own abilities.
This is not something that happens quickly. Our children are on a learning journey towards a deep, conceptual understanding of mathematics. This will take time; there may be bumps on the journey, where things seem difficult but the journey is worth it. We know because we have seen the benefits; the light bulb moments, the smiles because they ‘get it’, their increased confidence in talking about mathematics. We know we are preparing them them with life skills. It is worth it.
Maths Curriculum: What Will my child be learning?
Third Space Learning have some detailed guidance and support. Click on the relevant link below:
- Teaching + and –
- Teaching Multiplication
- Teaching Division
- Teaching Fractions
- Power Maths calculation progression
Oxford Owl have some brilliant guidance for maths (at home). Click on the relevant link below:
How can I support my child?
Recent research funded by the Department for Education and Skills and the Welcome Trust showed how important parents are as part of a pupil’s success in maths. They also found that for primary pupils, attainment in maths was heavily influenced by their attitudes to maths. They found primary school children who like maths gain almost a year of learning, compared with children who dislike the subject the most, by the time they reach secondary school.
‘Maths for Mums and Dads’, written by Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew has useful advice, such as:
What are the DOs and DON’Ts for helping my child?
- Play maths with your child – games are fun, full of maths and mathematical thinking.
- Make maths a casual part of what you do – there are the three Cs of everyday maths: ‘cash, clocks and cooking’ – these are the perfect opportunities to practise maths.
- Recognise there’s more than one way for calculations – there isn’t a single method that is the best method for all problems and we should also shouldn’t force a method that means nothing to them.
- Expect them to ‘get it’ after you’ve explained it once; it can take a little longer.
- Tell them that you are hopeless at maths – it will build up an expectation that maths is going to be something they won’t enjoy or succeed in, and ultimately won’t be any use to them. Click here for research on attitudes to maths.
Please read on for links to further useful resources, websites and guidance.
Manipulative to support understanding
In school we use a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach, which means that we use physical and visual aids to help children build an understanding. We introduce new ideas through the use of concrete resources (Numicon, blocks,bead strings, counters, etc).
These manipulative help children’s understanding and also can challenge the children to prove their thinking.
Some websites with free online Maths manipulatives:
You can use whatever you have at home as resources. Below are some examples; Food seems to feature a lot and the bonus of using Smarties or Skittles as counters is that you can eat them when you’re finished!
Clever Tens Frames, plates are useful grouping .Key Stage 2 are using them too :
There is a real focus on getting children to think and explain their mathematical thinking, using exact mathematical vocabulary.
To help you support your child in understanding and using this vocabulary:
- Maths is Fun illustrated maths dictionary
- STEM Mathematical Vocabulary book
- Oxford Owl maths glossary
Useful websites to explain mathematical concepts:
Math is Fun – you can search for specific guidance or click on links – provides easy to understand help including pictures and videos
Useful websites with suggestions for activities to help your child practise skills:
Family Maths Toolkit – useful ideas for 3 to 13 year olds and guidance on what they are learning
Herts for Learning YouTube channel – some great videos explaining how to play maths games
Oxford Owl – guidance by year group, by strand, blogs and videos
Useful websites full of online games to practise maths skills:
Top Marks Maths Games – choose age range (3-5, 5-7, 7-11) and the category of maths you want to practise
Maths Frame – KS2 maths games – scroll down the homepage to choose which category
IT games – KS1 maths games
Number fact online practice games:
TT Rockstars – you will need your school log in
Hit the Button – times tables, halves and doubles, number bonds
TimesTables – resources to practise times table facts