Weeke Primary School

Irresistible learning at the heart of the community


Supporting Maths Calculations

"It wasn't taught like that when I was at school..."

These overviews aim to give parents an understanding of the strategies we teach children to enable them to tackle mathematical problems and questions in the four key areas of number (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).

Our maths curriculum at Weeke is enriched with a wide range of challenges, outdoor learning and opportunities for children to apply and develop their knowledge and understanding of key mathematical concepts. Rich tasks are embedded across our curriculum in EYFS and across both key stages; these open activities enable children to take their maths learning further and offer opportunities for teachers and children to ask questions and challenge thinking.

Please see below a selection of rich mathematical activities and games which children worked on during our 2014 Maths Enrichment Week. We have also provided a guidance document on Maths Trails outdoors.

Chairs and Tables is a great activity to ask questions and develop knowledge about number for younger children. For example:

  • 'How many cubes do you need for one leg? How many legs are there on each chair? How many cubes would you need for four legs?'
  • 'How many cubes have you used altogether?'
  • 'If your chair was twice as big, how many cubes would you need for each leg?'
  • 'How many cubes would you need for two chairs?'
  • This could be extended for older children, perhaps looking at the patterns in increasing sized chairs and for children in upper KS2, developing an algebraic formula.

The Mystery Matrix provides endless opportunities to develop mathematical thinking for children in key stage two. Rich tasks also develop children's ability to reason and explain. Key questions on the 'Mystery Matrix' may include:

  • 'What can you tell me about the numbers that you can see?'
  • 'Is there anything special about the number 49?'
  • 'Can you suggest why you think that one of the numbers from 2-12 is used twice?' 'What happens if you multiply a number by itself?'
  • 'In the third column, there are two numbers: 22 and 24. What are the common factors of these numbers?' 'Is there more than one factor?'
  • 'Look at the number 40. What numbers could be multiplied together to make 40?' 'What do you know about the factors of numbers which end in 0?'

For more rich activities, see http://nrich.maths.org/frontpage and the examples below.


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During our 2017 Book Week, we explored some of our favourite number books, starting with a whole school assembly on ‘How big is a million?’ – a lovely book about a baby penguin called Pipkin who wants to find out how big a million is. The concept of place value is explored through pictures and a story as the little penguin learns about 10, 100, 1000 and finally 1,000,000. At the end of the story the children got to see a million! They also shared some thoughtful ideas about how big a million was and whether or not they had seen a million of anything...

There are some really fantastic story books available which develop children’s understanding of number and their grasp of key mathematical concepts. Many books link number to real life and often provide a brilliant starting point for mathematical discussions.

We used the following story books during our book week: