At John Stainer, we aim to support all children to become confident, creative mathematicians. Pupils learn that maths is not just about numbers and calculations – they can use their skills to solve problems, spot patterns, create designs, manage their finances… the list is endless!
Our maths lessons follow the national curriculum (the Renewed National Framework from years 1 to 6 and the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in nursery and reception). Over the course of their time at primary school, the children learn about number and place value, calculations (mental and written), shape and space, measures, statistics and algebra (in years 5 and 6). We place a great emphasis on being fluent with numbers; the children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the structure of mathematics to solve quick problems (see example below), instead of just completing a simple equation.
Without working out the answer, is this equation true or false? Use your reasoning skills to tell me why:
24 ÷ 6 = 48 ÷ 12
We have recently launched a new initiative to include one problem solving maths lesson every week. We are learning that ‘problem solving’ does not mean ‘word problems’! The children have been thoroughly enjoying the chance to be creative and ‘think outside the box’ in order to solve complex challenges. As well as improving their reasoning skills, this weekly session has provided an opportunity for all students to develop perseverance – most of the problems do not have an ‘easy’ answer and might involve trial and error or working in a systematic way.
If you are interested in engaging with problem solving at home, please investigate the Nrich website – www.nrich.maths.org – where your children can submit their own solutions to regular ‘live’ problems.
Other useful websites:
Below are some websites that you might like to use for extra support and interactive activities:
In addition to our work in school, all children have a login to Mathletics, the most used mathematics website with 3 million users and 7000 schools worldwide. It has over 850 fantastic activities for ages 5 to 18 years, as well as the extremely enjoyable Mathletics Live where pupils can compete against children from around the world!
Parents can sign up to receive a weekly report on their child’s progress and see the results first-hand, providing a perfect link between home and school. Children are motivated by receiving points and being awarded certificates; teachers set levels for individual pupils so that they will always be challenged and therefore will access Mathletics at the appropriate level. Pupils and parents enjoy the instant feedback after each activity, showing where strengths and weaknesses may be. Please encourage your child to regularly log in and make the most of this amazing resource!