Category Archives: Mathematics

The 3Ms of times tables

The three factors within the extraordinary 3M method of teaching times tables.

There are indeed three factors that need to be present if all children are going to learn their times tables in good time.
 
First, the children need to be motivated. Second, they need to be taught using a method that keeps that motivation going from one lesson to the next. And third the children need to find the whole process enjoyable.
 
Now, as you may have realised, the only problem here is that “enjoyable” rather breaks the alliterative approach that I was building up with the ideas of “motivation” and “method”, so for my third factor I’m going to say, “mighty fun.”  I hope that’s ok with you.

Motivation, method and mighty fun. That’s our aim.
 
So, to begin: motivation.  We’ve achieved this in the “Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables set for Primary Schools” by using superheroes through the materials. These instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning among the children. 

Second: the method. Of course, each child learns in different ways and each needs to have opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the lessons. Therefore, for each times table there is a mixture of practical activities to develop their understanding and written activities to consolidate their knowledge.

Finally, the mighty fun.  By using superheroes the books instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning which not only permeates through these times tables activities, but other areas of classroom work as well.

And although I wrote “finally” above, there is one more M benefit. The books contain reproducible sheets and are designed to be used as flexible teaching aids, which teachers can dip in and out of in any order to support the learning of any times table.  

In other words, “Multi-use”.  They work equally well as stand-alone 5 to 20 minute lesson reinforcements or as regular times table learning.

There are more details on our website (although less playing around with the letter M) where you can place an order.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Primary school

When they get puzzled.

What is the one activity that can stimulate children’s interest and ability in maths more than any other?

When a child first comes across number puzzles she or he is more than likely to try out solutions at random.

In fact, making random guesses as to the solution is for most children phase one of the journey towards maths mastery. 

However if we as teachers can then stimulate learning in a way that leads to logical thinking, the child will be en route to being able to break problems down into steps.  And that, of course, is what is required at all levels of maths.

Logical thinking permits a methodical working through of every solution possible – something that can bring the right answer eventually.

But this is slow and laborious, and so we need to move the child on to phase three where the child possesses an insight as to how the problem works and so is able to head towards the solution in a matter of moments. 

Indeed it is when children reach this stage that the great benefit of training in puzzle-solving becomes apparent.  For now children gain the ability to learn the issue lurking behind each problem. 

In short, people who are adept at problem-solving save huge amounts of time, both in maths and in life in general. 

Ultimately a child trained in solving problems by searching for patterns can move on to activities such as solving Rubik’s cube in a couple of minutes.  And generally such children can then solve a large number of problems by applying the process of looking for the underlying rule.

This ability is primarily learned through appreciating how to approach puzzles and problems.  And that is why we have produced “Missing Digit Puzzles”. 

Missing Digit Puzzles allows children to learn that problem-solving is a matter of applying rules rather than guessing or working through each possible solution.

Missing Digit Puzzles is available for just £16.50 as a printed book, £10.99 as an e-book or you can order both for just £19.80.  

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, Primary school

Engaging pupils’ fluid intelligence

The important link between fluid intelligence and learning times tables

It has been argued that “crystallized intelligence has become disproportionately valued over fluid intelligence”, yet it is fluid intelligence that is closely linked to working memory and which is responsible for the ability to recognise patterns.

It is therefore important that pupils are taught their times tables in a way which engages their fluid intelligence so that they are not only able to understand why times tables form as they do, but also see how their learned knowledge of times tables can help them to solve maths problems in the future.

With this in mind, Brilliant Publications has developed Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables – a series of photocopiable activity books suitable for Years One to Six.

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series uses superheroes to motivate children to practise all of the skills needed to solve multiplication, division and word-based times table problems.

The books contain reproducible sheets and are designed to be used as flexible teaching aids which teachers can dip in and out of in any order to support the learning of any times table. They work equally well as stand alone 5 to 20 minute lesson reinforcements or as regular times table learning.

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series is divided into three books:

For more information and to download sample pages you can try with your pupils, simply visit the links above.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Times tables and the mental block

Is it too much to hope that ALL your pupils will be fluent in their times tables?

There is a reason why some of us can’t decode maths problems. An increasing understanding of dyscalculia among professionals has meant that pupils with the specific learning difficulty are getting more access to materials which will help them to overcome their difficulties with maths.

For a pupil with dyscalculia, the very essence of number cannot be understood – thus, manipulating numbers with mathematical functions can be somewhat of a challenge. Indeed, it is possible for some dyscalculic pupils to understand numbers and simple mathematical functions (addition and subtraction) using mainstream methods, albeit at a slower rate than their peers. However, when the pupil advances to learning multiplication and division, there is often a mental blockage.

These pupils need to learn maths, and the functions of multiplication and division, using a multi-sensory approach. Using a multi-sensory approach with non-dyscalculic pupils has also proven to improve mathematical performance.

It is for this reason that we have produced: Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables.

This book provides stimulating and imaginative games to make the process of learning the times tables both effective and fun. The games require minimal preparation and ensure that all children gain a firm understanding of their times tables and will be able to recall and apply them rapidly and accurately.

The first half of the book contains games specifically aimed at teaching the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. The second half contains games appropriate for any of the times tables. These games are subdivided into three groups:

  • Games for learning each table in sequence
  • Games to test pupils’ memories and thinking skills as they try to identify the table they are working on
  • Games to teach children the different factors that can make up each answer.

For more information or to order Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables for just £18.50 as a printed book, £12.99 as an e-book or both for a discounted price of £22.40, visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/fun-games-and-activities-for-teaching-times-tables-746.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Teaching Ideas

Teaching division to beginners

When we teach division to primary children, we tend to introduce it as being a sharing operation where objects are divided into a number of groups of equal number. We also discuss that division has an opposite, multiplication. We talk about Division being about separating groups, while its opposite, multiplication is about combining groups.

We often assess our children’s understanding by using worksheets which can be printed for each child or which can be projected onto a white board. This worksheet is taken from Brilliant Publications ‘How to Sparkle at Beginning Multiplication and Division’ for 5’s to 7’s.The children are asked to share the objects evenly between the crackers.

If you like it, you will find more in the book. Click the button below to download a free copy to use with your class.

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Filed under Key Stage 1, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Primary school, Uncategorised

Springtime can be a source of great ideas for the Early Years

Springtime is fun – the days are warmer and the children feel happier. One idea is to set up a large spring picture on a wall or using powerpoint on a whiteboard, with a tree, pond and field. You can add frogspawn, tadpoles, frogs, blossom, spring flowers, etc as the season changes and as the children learn about them. Attach them with a tacky substance so that you can move them about and change the number of each of them on a weekly or daily basis.

Ask the children to count the number of butterflies, daffodils, tadpoles, lambs, ducks and caterpillars.

Each day or week change the numbers in the picture and ask them to count again.

Download the free worksheet from this blog and when the children are confident, ask them to complete it.

If you like this activity there are more in our book called Springtime Activities for the Early Years.

You can order Springtime Activities for the Early Years in any of these ways:

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Early years, Key Stage 0, lesson plans, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Nursery and Preschool, Teaching Ideas

Another FREE worksheet set from Brilliant Publications

1) Who won the race?

2) What order did the team come in?

3) Show how you worked it out.

4) Make your own ‘Who Won?’ problem. Continue reading

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, homework, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics