We have an abundance of problems, so many in fact that we have three entire books full of them and desperately need your primary school pupils to help us to solve them!
They are problems of a mathematical nature which is why we are contacting you as we think you will be the best person for the job. Your responsibilities will involve managing a young team of investigators, working out which pupils are best suited to solving each of the problems based on their level and ability.
We understand that you have a curriculum to teach, so we have only included the problems which are relevant to this and have left out problems regarding our fence that got blown down a couple of months ago by Storm Callum (a very inconsiderate man if you ask me) and how to get our rabbit to stop eating our shoes. I suppose we will have to solve these problems ourselves.
What is the most effective way of giving KS2 pupils an understanding of how maths actually works?
There is no doubt that the rote learning of times tables is helpful to most pupils. But for progress to be made beyond that point children also need to understand the meanings behind mathematical problems.
Perhaps the most effective way of encouraging children to think about such issue is to give them maths problems that need them to use their knowledge of the four basic functions to solve simple problems.
Of course this can be done through the classic, “A man goes to a shop three times and buys four items each time…” type of question. But before children are ready to enter into those conundrums, they need to be able to solve the maths problems in purely mathematical terms, without any words in the way.
And the most effective way of doing this is through missing digit puzzles in which the mathematical question is set out with one part of the problem missing.
Thus they can be presented with an additional problem in which part of the answer is written in, and one of the two numbers to be added together. They have to work out what is missing.
Later they can be asked for a number in the eight times table where the first number is between 1 and 6 and the last number is six.
The big benefit with this approach is that because the questions are presented as puzzles to be solved rather than maths to be learned, they are much more stimulating and attractive to most KS2 children – and they really do help the children progress towards a mastery of mathematics’ basic functions.
You can order Missing Digit Puzzleson our website either as a PDF for £10.99 or as a hardcopy book for £16.50. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price of £19.80.
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.