Helping Your Child with Mathematics
Many everyday activities can be effectively used to help to develop children’s understanding of mathematics. Counting is a key skill that underpins much of the mathematics work that your child will do in school. It is very important that your child learns to count throughout their time at this school. They also need to know when to count and why we count (to find out how many). Counting is actually a lot more complicated, and difficult, than it can first appear.
A starting point is to learn to recite numbers in the correct order but this is only the start. Your child needs to be able to recognise the numbers and match them to each count. They also need to know that each number represents an amount, and what this looks like. They then need to be able to use these skills and knowledge in lots of different situations.
Counting is something that we do with the children in all year groups; once they can count up to 10 there is still lots to learn including counting forwards and backwards, counting from different starting points, counting in groups, counting to solve number problems, counting to find the difference and many more.
Alongside developing skills in counting your child will also be learning to add and subtract. As with counting this is more complicated than it may first appear and there are many stages of learning to go through before your child becomes secure with addition and subtraction. It is important that your child is secure with these early stages of maths as moving on too quickly can cause difficulties with further learning. There are many ways to add and subtract and your child needs to be able to understand and use a wide range of these. Combining two groups and counting them all together is a commonly used method but this is just the beginning.
During Key Stage 1 your child will also begin to learn about multiplication and division. Many people think of multiplication (and division) as being about learning ‘times tables’. Whilst at some point in their development it will be useful for your child to memorise tables, this is actually only a small part of their development in this area and there is much more that needs to come first. It is very important that your child fully understands the practical and visual aspects of multiplication and division before learning tables. If your child is not secure in their understanding of the practical and visual aspects then it can be difficult for them to remember the tables and it will be difficult for them to use the tables in context.
Interwoven through all the areas of maths that your child will experience is key vocabulary. Understanding mathematical language and being able to use this correctly will greatly support your child’s maths development.
The following are some activities that would can do with your child in order to support their learning. If you are at all unsure of which are suitable for your child at any stage, please check their highlighted targets in the Home/School Diary or ask their teacher.
- Recite numbers in order; start up to 5 then increase to 10 and beyond when they are secure.
- Include zero in counting but be careful that when counting objects your child realises that zero means none and the first item is one.
- Say/sing numbers rhymes/songs
- Practise reading/recognising number 0 to 10. Use paints, pens, play, playdough, draw in sand, paint with water etc. Please look at the numeral formation below as it is important that your child forms them accurately.
- Count from different starting points e.g. 3 to 10
- Count objects whenever the opportunity arises e.g. touching toes, fingers, toys, steps, food items, cars, trees, animals etc
- Look for numbers on doors, vehicles, signs, clocks, books etc
- Use the number line/s in the home school diary to count and match the word to the numeral
- Visit the supermarket; look for numbers, count items into the bags/trolley, ask your child to get 5 bananas, a pack of 4 rolls, a big pack, a smaller pack etc
- Play board games that involve counting on as often as you can. These can include old favourites such as Ludo and Snakes and Ladders alongside newer versions.
- Regularly us the language of counting (see language below); 1 more, 1 less, altogether, how many, how many more etc
- Count backwards, initially from 5 then 10 and beyond when your child is secure with this.
- Practise reading and writing numbers up to 20; for teen numbers encourage your child to say ‘one ten and 3′, ;one ten and 4’ etc rather than 1 and 3 makes thirteen and 1 and 4 makes 14 etc
- Count in twos; again an early stage is to recite e.g. 2,4,6,8,10 etc but it is important that children also know what each number represents i.e there are an additional two objects for each count and what this looks like as an amount.
- Count in 5s and 10s. Again reciting needs to be accompanied with understanding of what each number represents i.e an additional 5 or 10 objects for each count and what this looks like as an amount.
- Count forwards from ay point up to 100, particularly crossing 10s e.g. 46 to 56, 29 to 31, 73 to 91
- Look at two digit numbers in the environment
- Practise reading and writing all numbers up to 100
- Count backwards from any point up to 100
- Count beyond 100 in ones, twos, fives and tens
There are two key methods used to carry out early addition:
- Combining two sets of objects e.g. two plates of biscuits, how many altogether?
- Adding on to one set e.g. one plate of biscuits, some more biscuits are put on the plate, now how many are on the plate?
Your child will need to be confident in using both methods and you can help them to practise these using a range of everyday items/objects at home and in the environment. Shopping with your child provides an excellent opportunity to do this e.g. two pre-packed trays of apples with 4 in each tray, how many apples altogether. Alternatively one empty bag, place 4 apples in it, now ask your child to add another four, how many in the bag now?
In school, your child will first be introduced to additional through the use of practical resources and simple pictorial instructions. As understanding develops signs, symbols and more traditional methods of recording will be introduced.
All aspects of addition should consist of two stages, the first being to find out and discover using practical exploration and the second to know and remember. It is very important that children are allowed to find out and discover facts before they are expected to know them. Practical apparatus should be used until children are able to visualise all the stages of calculation.
In order to fully develop understanding of the concepts of addition, and be able to use this understanding appropriately, calculations need to be put into real life contexts e.g. the calculation 3 + 6 = ( ) in a real life context could be … I have 3 sweets, my friends has six, how many sweets do we have altogether? There are three sweets in the bag, if I put another 6 in, how many will there be in the bag now?
As your child develop their understanding of the concept of addition, below are some of the areas that they will explore: All of these will be introduced as practical activities with pictorial instructions and will also be put into real life/problem solving context including the use of money.
- Combine groups to find total; as outlined above
- Add to one group to find total; as outlined above
- Find the missing number; how many have been added to a group when given the starting number and the total.
- Find the missing starting number when told the total and how many have been added to the group
- Find and knowing ways to make 10
- Finding and knowing number bonds for all numbers to 10
- Count on to find total using a number line; initially with images and numerals and starting with just 1 more e.g. 5 count on 1 more
- Adding on to 10 e.g. 10 + 6 = ( )
- Find the missing numbers when adding on to 10 e.g. 10 + ( ) = 15
- Adding single digit numbers to two digit numbers e.g. 25 + 4
- Find the missing number when adding single digit numbers to two digit numbers e.g. 41 + ( ) = 45
- Adding 10 to any number using 100 square
- Adding two digit numbers using partitioning e.g. 17 + 12 = ( )
10 7 10 2
10 + 10 = 20
7 + 2 = 9
20 + 9 = 29
Language of Addition
It is very important that your child understands and is able to use the mathematical vocabulary of addition. Please try to use as many of the following words as possible when talking to your child.
add addition plus and more greater bigger increase set group altogether the sum of
make equals total is the same as how many? how many altogether? how many more?
In school, your child will first be introduced to subtraction through the use of practical resources and simple pictorial instructions. As understanding develops signs, symbols and more tradition methods will be introduced.
There are a range of counting rhymes that involve subtraction and these can provide a fun relevant starting point for developing subtraction skills e.g. 5/10 Green Bottles, 5/10 in the Bed, 5/10 Current Buns, 5/10 Fat Sausages.
Your child will need to be confident in understanding and using subtraction and you can help them to practise this using a range of everyday items/objects at home and in the environment. Snack/mealtimes provides opportunities to do this:
- If they have 4 sandwiches (you can cut them into smaller ones!) as they eat each one ask them how many they have left.
- Give them some biscuits e.g. 6, ask them to put two on each plate, as they put each two out ask them how many left.
- Select packets of mini biscuits and count them, then count as each one/two are eaten
All aspects of subtraction should consist of two stages. the first being to find out and discover using practical exploration and the second to know and remember. It is very important that children are allowed to find out and discover facts before they are expected to know them. Practical apparatus should be used until children are able to visualise all stages of the calculation.
In order to fully develop understanding of the concepts of subtraction, and be able to use this understanding appropriately calculations need to be put into real life context e.g. the calculation 6 – 3 = ( ) in a real life context would be …. I have 6 sweets, if I give 3 to my friend, how many sweets will I have left? There are 6 sweets in the bag, if I take 3 out, how many will there be in the bag now?