Mathematics plays an essential part in our daily lives as it is all around us in everything we do. It is a fun and creative life skill, which we all need.
Our mastery approach to the curriculum is designed to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts from the Early Years through to the end of Y2. As a school we use White Rose Maths https://whiterosemaths.com/resources/primary and https://numbersensemaths.com/ to support the teaching of maths through small progressive steps and a confidence and fluidity of number facts.
From a very early age all children are exposed to maths: climbing stairs, doing up buttons, sharing out sweets, putting out cutlery for each member of the family, completing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a simple dice game, getting dressed. These everyday objects, games and activities help children understand and apply mathematical ideas long before the need to write down any formal calculations.
At Trafalgar, emergent mathematics is encouraged (similar to emergent writing) where children are supported to record their ideas and learning in their own way. The adults to assess the children’s understanding and develop it further, alongside the necessary vocabulary and language of maths use this diagnostically.
When new concepts have been approached through practical work and discussion, then reinforcement and consolidation of learning takes place through mental and written activities which may include appropriate addition/subtraction/multiplication/division problems, or through the search for and application of a systematic pattern, or a measuring task, etc. A range of methods and ways of recording are taught and modelled for the children, alongside their emergent recording. Both are equally valued and expected.
We foster a positive attitude to maths where a ‘growth mind-set’ is encouraged. Our children are supported to talk about and discuss their learning, share ideas, use and represent their own ideas, actively engage in a problem (try ideas out), link methods and ideas in using and applying their knowledge, listen to and build on the ideas of others, use more formal methods taught by the teacher.
Children may work alone or collaboratively. In talking to each other and the adults about ideas, they are encouraged to ask questions to help their learning. Why did I choose this method? Does it work with other cases? How is the method similar or different to methods my friends/the adult used?
Our aims in maths are to enable all children to:
- Appreciate the power and beauty of maths
- Enjoy taking on challenges, when learning new concepts or skills
- Think logically, creatively and imaginatively in solving problems, developing the ability to think for themselves
- Learn to work collaboratively, negotiating others’ points of view
- Work mentally with increasing confidence
- Learn the facts and techniques that they will need in order to further their maths learning
- Reach the highest standard possible
Therefore, our aim is for our classrooms to be places where we believe all children:
- Show confidence in believing that they will achieve.
- Demonstrate a quick recall of facts and procedures.
- Have flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of maths.
- Develop the ability to recognise relationships and make connections in maths lessons.
- Master mathematical concepts and skills and can demonstrate them in in multiple ways.
- Use mathematical language to explain their ideas
- Can independently apply concepts to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
- Children show a high level of pride in the presentation and understanding of their work.
Mathematics will help children in their lives, not because they will see the same types of problems in the real world but because they are learning to think quantitatively and abstractly and develop an inquiring mind where they will be prepared to take a risk to tackle a problem, approaching it with curiosity, courage and confidence.
If children are having difficulty mastering a particular mathematical concept at school (or you want to update your skills) then this is a particularly useful website to explore. Children click on a skill they would like to learn e.g. ‘Subtracting within 10’ which takes them to a learning page. On the page will be examples and/or a video before a short activity.
Oxford Owl games are for children aged 3-5, and 5-7 years old. There are printable worksheets to reinforce the skills practised in the games. Many of the games follow exactly the same format so there is the danger of boredom. On the plus side this means that they’re easy to understand and so even very young children can play independently. There’s also an audio button so the instructions can be read aloud to young children.
Nrich is a Cambridge University initiative which aims to develop both children’s mathematical thinking and their problem-solving skills. These games or ‘interactives’ are aimed at primary aged children and they really do challenge children’s thinking. Although an excellent resource, adult support will be needed to navigate this website and the activities.
Topmarks divide games into age categories: 3-5, 5-7, 7-11, and 11-14 years. Categories cover all relevant areas of the National Curriculum.
This website contains free to play games designed by a teacher and linked to the National Curriculum. Games are organised by topic e.g. Place Value, Money, Fractions.
This is a US website with logic games, puzzle games and racing games for practicing skills across the mathematics curriculum. Games are easy to understand so they can be played by young children independently.