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Cashing in on the Latest Craze – Lego Cards

Louise Racher is a Primary Maths Adviser for Herts for Learning.  In this blog she harks back to the crazes that have blighted or enlivened the teachers’ year and how we can exploit the latest one for mathematical ends in KS1 this summer.  

As another academic year comes to a close it is time to reflect on all the crazes which have dominated children’s (and parents’) lives.  The dab (may it rest in peace), bottle flipping, fidget spinners and last but not least Lego Cards!

Not all these crazes might have touched your lives, but as a teacher, it is hard to remain aloof when a certain craze occupies pupils conversations in and out of class.  Teachers are creative and flexible, along with a craze comes an opportunity to be seized.  Before you know it you’re measuring the length of time a fidget spinner can spin unaided, comparing that to other varieties, conjecturing about whether the weight affects the length of spinning time.  Word problems will no longer feature sweets, it is the number of dabs, the price of a fidget spinner and the mean average of time a bottle can be successfully flipped which are included in order that they have a bespoke context relevant to the pupils. Continue reading “Cashing in on the Latest Craze – Lego Cards”

Finding Maths in Storybooks – A Tale of Turning Training into Good Practice

In the Summer term 2016 Nicola Randall and Gillian Shearsby-Fox, Teaching and Learning Advisers for Mathematics at Herts for Learning, created and delivered a day of training on how to use books in maths. In this guest blog, Raj Khindey, an inspired maths subject Leader and Year 6 teacher at Chater Junior School,Watford; set about introducing the range of ideas she learned across her school.

In this blog she explains which ideas she trialled in her own class, as well as how she shared this good practise throughout KS2.

Following the training I was inspired to use a variety of fiction books that were recommended by Nicola and Gillian. I wanted to share this with the rest of the staff so the children as well as teachers could enjoy a different dimension to a traditional Maths lesson! So I held a staff meeting in Autumn Term and trialled some of the activities delivered in the course. Continue reading “Finding Maths in Storybooks – A Tale of Turning Training into Good Practice”

Do You Believe in Life After SATs?

Nicola Randall is a Primary Mathematics Adviser at Herts for Learning.  In this blog Nicola channels her inner Cher in order to provide Y6 teachers with some ideas for teaching mathematics in that difficult last half term. 

If you have ever taught in Year 6, you will be well aware of the mad rush of emotion and relief as the pupils complete their final SATs test in May. Glad that they got through it with minimal crying, relieved that they all followed your advice and double checked their answers (yeah, right!) and completely exhausted with the high expectations required to meet the expected standard.

The following week is a cross between the Walking Dead and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where the pupils either go completely bonkers or turn into exhausted little zombies, slurring their way through the poetry that you thought would be a good idea when you planned it before the SATs.

So after the dust has settled, what do you do in Year 6 for the remainder of the term? You know that you must continue topping up their subject knowledge and prepare them for life at secondary school but are also painfully aware that they have already metaphorically left the building.

My view is that the second half of the summer term is perfect for some outdoor learning and cross-curricular maths. It’s fun, motivating and keeps mathematical knowledge fresh.

Destination Estimation!

Many schools are lucky enough to live near a swimming pool, or even an outdoor lido, which provides an excellent treat for the weary Year 6’s. To make the most out of this, show the pupils the new Boots Advert, filmed at Letchworth Outdoor Pool in North Hertfordshire. Pause on the final frame, on the birds-eye view of the swimmers.

How many people do you estimate there are?

Gather pupil’s estimations on post-it notes and then ask them to discuss their strategies.

lifeaftersats2lifeaftersats3

 

Other images could then be explored for pupils to apply the different strategies and consider their effectiveness. Objects such as a pile of jelly beans, trees in a woodland or a flock of birds provide pupils the opportunity to hone their skills of estimation and rehearse place value of large numbers. You could even take the class outside and gather objects in the natural environment. How about estimating a pile of pebbles and then trying to organise them into arrays, or estimating how many leaves there are on a tree.

The book ‘Great Estimations’ by Bruce Goldstone is perfect for some inspiration and contains images that you could easily use with your class.

Using a photo as a stimulus can also be an opportunity to incorporate other areas of maths, such as money, measure and ratio.

For example, questions related to the swimming pool could be:

  • For a family of 3 adults and 2 children, what would the cheapest ticket cost be?
  • The pool works on a ratio of 75:2 for swimmers and lifeguard. How many lifeguards would be needed for 330 swimmers?
  • The greatest depth of the pool is 2.4m. Are there any animals that can stand upright and still be able to breathe?
  • There are 660,430 gallons of water in Letchworth Outdoor Pool. How many litres is this if there are 4.5L to the gallon?
  • What is the perimeter, area and volume of the pool? Compare this with measurements of other local swimming pools. What is the difference between them? Do any of them share the same area but have different perimeters?

References:

Goldstone, B ‘Great Estimations’ (2006)

Boots Summer 2017 advert [accessed on14.06.17] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEzTnjKneU8


Herts for Learning is a not for profit organisation that provides a wide range of training and CPD courses, events and conferences to support teachers and school staff in their professional development and also offers an extensive range of resources to support their offering through the HfL e-Shop.  Please visit the website for more information.

We are reading – One Thing featuring Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child

Gill Shearsby-Fox is a Primary Mathematics Adviser for Herts for Learning

Charlie and LolaOne Thing featuring Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child (published by Orchard ISBN 978-1-40833-900-8).

One Thing, is the latest book, from the well know author and illustrator Lauren Child. It features her well know characters Charlie and his little sister Lola who ‘is small and very funny’. Continue reading “We are reading – One Thing featuring Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child”

Maths across the curriculum (Pattern)

Nicola Randall is a primary maths adviser for HfL

In the aims of the new curriculum for mathematics, it states that a high quality mathematics education provides ‘an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics’. What better way to appreciate this beauty than to looking at nature? Continue reading “Maths across the curriculum (Pattern)”

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