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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Developing maths skills for five to 11 year olds

Some children develop a better understanding of numbers than others. You can support your child in the classroom by providing opportunities for them to explore number concepts at home.

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Developing maths skills in everyday life

Successful learning depends on having problem solving skills and thinking logically as well as the ability to read and write.

Primary school children have a daily maths lesson, but an easy way to boost their skills and motivation is by showing them how useful number skills are in almost everything they do.

Children can have fun:

  • measuring their height and working out how much they've grown
  • on car journeys - playing number-plate games, adding and subtracting with road signs, thinking about speed by dividing distance by time
  • at the shops - weighing fruit and vegetables, budgeting with pocket money, working out the relative value of products by comparing prices and weight
  • in the kitchen - with weighing and measuring, and temperature and timings
  • making models and origami shapes

Working it out, thinking it through

Make a game out of putting little problems to your child and letting them reason things through, prompting as little as you can. For example, while cooking ask them to work out ingredient amounts if a recipe is doubled. Praise your child for trying, even if they get stuck or get things wrong.

New experiences and discoveries are always stimulating, and they don't have to be expensive or elaborate:

  • if you go for a country walk, try collecting leaves of different shapes, looking for insects or signs of wild animals, and thinking about why metal goes rusty or lichen grows on one side of trees
  • introduce your child to simple map-reading using a road atlas or map of your area
  • on holiday, be aware of all the things that are different to home - buildings, accents and languages, clothes, food, customs, and so on
  • find out if there are clubs in your area which will interest your child - try the local library or leisure centre for information

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