Maths skills are an important part in the world that we live and use across a range of different activities. Children will be developing their skills in different ways, through doing baking at home, buying something from a shop, figuring out what fraction of a pizza is better to have and calculating how far their pocket money would stretch. At St. George’s, we understand the importance of children having a firm mathematical foundation for children to continue to develop through the school and beyond.
In school, there is a focus on developing arithmetic skills (solving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculations) and problem solving and reasoning. Alongside both of these strands, there is the importance of developing children's fluency across the maths curriculum through: quick fact recall, knowing times-tables, addition/subtraction facts and number bonds. This will help children to use known facts to solve additional facts, building up their repertoire of mental facts and taking more of flexible approach when deciding which method can be used to solve problems efficiently.
We teach and provide opportunities within the maths lesson and through a short fluency session just before or after lunch; these skills are taught discretely and in context to help build children's abilities. It is taught in a fun, interactive way through games, using mathematical resources and through quizzes. The children also learn about and explore shape, space and measure as well as interpreting data including reading and constructing charts and graphs.
We also provide opportunities for maths talk and for children to reason and justify their answers. Having the answer to a question is important, whilst so is the process. We celebrate children's thought processes and this is integral to learning and developing their mathematical understanding. Planned opportunities for regular problem solving are a key element of maths teaching and learning at St. George the Martyr.
How can parents help?
In order to encourage more home-based mathematical activity, try some of the following:
1. Count everything! Count the number of steps to the shop, the number of books in a box, the number of sweets in a packet. Later, introduce estimating the same quantities. Reasonable estimates are one of the most useful strategies for successful mathematical thinking.
2. Count in a range of ways! As age-appropriate, move from counting by one’s to counting by 2’s, 10’s, 5’s and later to counting by 6’s, 7’s, 8’s and 9’s. Count forward and backwards. Count beginning at different numbers, such as starting the count at 4 or 5.
3. Bake together! Let your child become familiar with the purpose of measuring, the various measurements (ml,g, l) and an understanding of quantity. At later stages, let them work out amounts naturally, such as doubling or halving a recipe and then starting to think about termperature and timings.
4. Point out fractions! Cut food into equal pieces. Point out 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc. Help establish the concept that 1/4 of a piece of a pizza is smaller than 1/2 of a piece.
5. Set a maths reading time! Set aside time every week to read a maths story rather than a traditional story. Make sure they are interesting stories that both engage the reader and provoke mathematical thinking and asking questions.
6.Ordering take-away food night! If your family sometimes orders take-away food, keep the take-out menus handy and have your child calculate the amounts required and the total cost. If the amounts are beyond your child’s mathematical understanding, help them use a simple calculator.
7. Do a shape hunt! Look for shapes in your home, playground, etc. (e.g., our house has a rectangular door; our windows are square). Use terms that will be introduced at school (e.g., our house is shaped like a rectangular prism – square or rectangular sides; our roof is shaped like a triangular prism – triangle shapes at the ends but squares or rectangles on the sides).
8.On the road! Play number games in the car, adding and subtracting with road signs, thinking about speed by dividing distance by time. Take turns choosing and searching for something specific, such as a lorry with eight wheels, a speed limit over 30 mph, a house number, or shapes in the environment.