One of the things that my eldest has struggled with a little is maths. I’m not sure what the blocker is, but he is quite resistant to doing anything that looks like maths. I decided that we would have a real back to basics approach with him and go back to basic addition, number bonds and subtraction before moving onto anything more complicated.
It’s hard to know what the best approach is, but I ended up printing a whole range of worksheets from both Activity Village and Teaching Packs to have to hand for when we were covering maths. I also picked up some workbooks in Home Bargains which have been really good for Daniel. I am not sure what it is in particular that has worked for him, but the workbook follows a Wizard and the student is training to become his apprentice. It’s a book we have picked up a couple of times a week and has enjoyed doing, and it’s been good to see the areas he is secure in, and those areas he needs a bit of help with.
We have done maths most mornings for the last month, only 10-15 minutes but enough to reinforce the things he is learning. Using the book mentioned above I have been able to spot gaps in knowledge – for instance there was a real mental block on number bonds past ten so I made sure we did plenty of other things focussed on that and looked for practical ways to demonstrate why being able to calculate number bonds was a useful skill to have.
One such opportunity arose last week when the children asked if they could count the coins in their respective money boxes. This seemed like a good opportunity to do some practical maths with them, and there are many different ways that counting coins can teach maths.
For Harry (who is just under 2.5 years) we sorted the coins into piles – so all the 2ps together, 5ps etc. We then talked about bigger and smaller coins, the shape of them and the colour of them. We then ordered them from small to large, large to small and grouped the bronze coins together and the silver ones. This was a good opportunity to introduce new language to him as well as sorting the coins and seeing where he could do that.
For Emma, (who is 4) we looked at the value of the coins. She could sort the coins into their respective piles with ease but wasn’t always sure which was the most valuable – understanding that the 5p coin is worth more than the larger 2p coin takes a while sometimes! We then counted them together and looked at the different ways we could make piles of 10p with the coins.
For Daniel (who is 6) we grouped the coins by value and I got him to think about ways he could sort them to make adding them all together a quicker and easier task. He wasn’t sure initially so we grouped the 2ps into piles of 5, each pile representing 10p. We then skip counted the total number of coins ( so working on times tables). We did the same with the other coins and practised a couple of his tables. We also looked at calculating past 100 and different ways that we could make £1 using the coins we had.
This was a really easy thing to do with all three children and was a good way to demonstrate the practical application of mathematical knowledge.