Category Archives: Mathematics

FREE Creative Homework Tasks for Year 5 and Year 6

Follow this link to get a FREE 84-page e-book, Creative Homework Tasks for 9-11 Year Olds.

The activities are ideal for English or maths homework as they reinforce literacy and numeracy skills. The tasks link to other subject areas including science and technology, art and design and PSHE

But more than that, the imaginative, open-ended activities are sure to spark enthusiasm.

The tasks have been designed so that they can be given out with little or no input from the teacher if need be.

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Filed under Art and design, Brilliant Publications, English, homework, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, Primary school, PSHE, Science, Teaching Ideas

FREE Creative Homework Tasks

Follow this link to get a FREE 84-page e-book, Creative Homework Tasks for 7-9 Year Olds.

The activities are ideal for English or maths homework as they reinforce literacy and numeracy skills. The tasks link to other subject areas including science and technology, art and design and PSHE

But more than that, the imaginative, open-ended activities are sure to spark enthusiasm.

The tasks have been designed so that they can be given out with little or no input from the teacher if need be.

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Filed under Art and design, Brilliant Publications, English, homework, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, PSHE, Science, Teaching Ideas

Can your pupils help us to solve some of our problems?

Urgent Appeal

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!

Multiplication strategies

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.

For more information on problems to challenge your pupils or to order the Maths Problems and Investigations Series for £45, simply visit: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/maths-problems-and-investigations-for-primary-schools-428

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

There are two maths: one is better

What is the most effective way of giving KS2 pupils an understanding of how maths actually works?

Missing Digits Addition Puzzle

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 see examples of how this works on our website at: Missing digit puzzles for times tables

And there is more information about the book and its contents here.

You can order Missing Digit Puzzles on 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.

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

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