World Maths Day 2009

worldmathsdayTension is rising as the clock runs down towards this year’s World Maths Day. With just four days to go it’s not too late to sign up for the 4th March.

Remember last year’s World Maths Day? Yes, over 370 000,000 (370 million) correct answers to maths questions across the globe.

This year looks like beating that and creating a new record.

At the moment there are over 1 million registrations including 28 500 schools from over 200 countries with the UK leading the way and they are getting plenty of practice in ready for the big day.
It’s not too late to sign up and have fun with maths!

Y4 maths worksheet: fractions tenths

fractions-tenthsI have not added much in the way of work on fractions so far, but it is an area of maths that causes a lot of confusion. This page looks at tenths including some key concepts:

a. that ten tenths is the same as one whole one

b. that a half is the same as five tenths

c. recognising 1/10 as one tenth and that it means one whole one divided into 10 equal parts.


Spaced learning: a new way to develop long term memory

boy31School lessons have traditionally been in blocks of around 40 minutes to an hour, but this is not necessarily the best way to learn, especially to develop long term memory. When doing work at home you could adopt a different approach; one such method is called ‘Spaced Learning’.
Monkseaton School has been pioneering this method with great success. The core of the method is to have three highly stimulating sessions separated by two ten minute gaps. So a typical Spaced Learning session would look like this:

1.    Stimulating key fact/explanation by the teacher + presentation (powerpoint etc)
2.    10 minute break to do some physical activity
3.    Repeat of the first high powered session
4.    10 minute break for more physical activity
5.    Repeat first session again.
The 10 minute breaks are crucial and during this time the students must not stimulate the brain pathways being formed: hence the physical activity where they would be thinking about something else.

The theory behind spaced learning comes from neuroscience, in particular a US scientist called Douglas Fields and his research into what stimulated  long-term memories in the brains of rats. The key seems to be that brain cells need to be stimulated and then not stimulated in a particular pattern. The length of the stimulation was not important but the length of the gap between stimulations was. 10 minutes appears to be the optimum time.

Obviously this would not always be an appropriate way of learning, but it certainly has advantages when there is a need to pack a lot of information in a short period of time, such as revision time. It seems to work at Monkseaton High: could it work in your home?

Find out more

Maths vocabulary puzzle: ordering and place value

Year_1_wordsearch_10104Here is a little word search to help children recognise and use the vocabulary expected of them in Year 1 to do with ordering and place value.

The words are:

more, less, plus, double, altogether, subtract, take, minus, half, difference and equals.

This is quite a difficult set of terms for children of this age (5/6 years old).

All the words on the wordsearch are either straight across or straight down – no diagonals.

Maths wordsearch: ordering and place value for Year 1

Primary Education too narrow?

For some years now schools have been pushing Numeracy and Literacy above all other subjects, especially in Year 6 when SATs are taken. Unfortunately this does not appear to have resulted in the expected improvement in these areas. Now a new study, The Cambridge Primary Review, suggests that too much emphasis on these ‘basics’ is resulting in an impoverished education for our children.

We need to get back to the fundamental question of what the purpose of primary education is and striking the right balance between basic skills of reading, writing and maths and all the other fascinating areas of learning. Continue reading “Primary Education too narrow?”

Maths worksheet: divide by 5 mentally

divide-by-5Here is a page on dividing by 5 ‘in your head’. Divide each of the numbers in the circles by 5 and place the answers in the outside hexagons.

This is a useful exercise as it helps to show the relationship between division and multiplication. If the 5 times table is known these are quite simple; if the 5 x table is not known then they are very difficult!

It relies on the knowledge that if 5 x 7 = 35 then three other facts are known:

1. 7 x 5 = 35 and

2. 35 divided by 7 = 5

3. 35 divided by 5 = 7

Divide by 5 mentally (pg 1)

Maths worksheets: adding 10 to a single digit

add10Another two pages in our series of simple addition worksheets, adding ten to a single digit. This, of course is easy if place value is understood. Another point to make is that as addition can be done in any order it is easier to think of these as adding the single digit to 10.

Adding-10-to-a-single-digit (pg 1)

Adding-10-to-a-single-digit (pg 2)

Maths worksheet: revise mental addition

5401-07Here is a maths worksheet on addition for year 5 which challenges children to use all the mental methods of addition that they have developed.

One of the key features of adding mentally is that it is usually done in a different order than when using pencil and paper methods. When adding two 3-digit numbers it is usually much easier to start with the hundreds, then add on the tens and finish with the units: the opposite of standard written addition. Also remember to look for pairs of numbers that make 10 or 100, especially when adding three numbers.

This page is not as easy as it looks!

Year 5: revise mental addition

Billy’s Beetle by Mike Inkpen

Billy’s Beetle is another of Mike  Inkpen’s great books for young children. Little Billy’s beetle escapes from its matchbox leading to a hunt to find the missing beetle. Billy seeks help from a variety of people and animals to try and find it. First of all he gets help from a girl and then a dog. The dog finds a hedgehog, spiders and worms but not his beetle. As the hunt goes on other creatures get involved, including a polar bear and an elephant. Look out for a hidden beetle on each page! Great illustrations and brilliant for reading aloud; you might find that you will have to read it time after time! It also helps with beginning to understand the language of addition and subtraction.