Home Maths Packs
To help your child to practise the maths that we do in school, we are sending out ‘home maths packs’. Your child will have worked with the equipment before and you may remember some of the items from your own school days, while other items will be new to you. This introduction is to tell you what is included in the kit and show some examples of the activities that can help your child’s understanding.
Number frames and two-colour counters
Using these together can really help your child to explore number and ‘number bonds’ (the way in which numbers combine in different ways to make new numbers). For example, in the picture above, one frame shows blue counters representing the number ‘4’ and the bottom one shows how ‘5’ (represented by the blue counters) and ‘3’ (the red counters) come together to give a total of ‘8’ counters.
In the photo below, the frame at the bottom right shows ‘7’, made up of ‘6’ (red counters) and ‘1’ (yellow counter). The other two frames take understanding a little deeper, by showing that numbers can be built up in different ways, in this case showing ’10’ represented in one frame by ‘5’ (red counters) and ‘5’ (yellow counters) and in another frame by ‘1’ (red counter) and ‘9’ (yellow counters).
Exploring practical ways of ‘putting numbers together’ will give your child confidence as they go on to learn about mathematical concepts like ‘addition’ & ‘subtraction.
Here’s a link to a cartoon video that you might like to share with your child after they have been working on ‘making 10’ with their 10 frame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS5w8LRnnp0
You will probably not have seen Numicon numbers before but they are another practical way in which your child can explore numbers and grow more and more confident in their understanding of how numbers work. Numicon helps children to reason mathematically through the use of concrete objects and spoken language to explain and justify. In that way, it will help your child to develop into confident problem-solvers.
Like number frames, Numicon can be used for a variety of activities, starting with matching and counting. Here is a video that you might like to watch with your child, featuring a ‘counting song’ activity.
The following video shows some of the wide range of practical activities involving Numicon that are possible in a classroom setting as they explore more difficult mathematical ideas over the coming months. Indeed, over the years to come, Numicon can continue to be used to aid understanding of some challenging maths ideas, like multiplying fractions by fractions! However, it is by growing confidence in the early stages that your child is most likely to achieve mathematical success throughout their schooling. That’s why it is important not to rush ahead: we need to make sure that your child is very confident with early ideas before going forward.
If you are somebody who likes to see ‘where things are going’ and would like to know more about ways in which we might use Numicon in maths as the months/years progress, here are some more example activities:
Connecting Blocks and Number Beads
The connecting blocks and number beads provide additional ‘hands-on’ ways of representing and exploring numbers: providing a variety of ways of doing that is important in order to avoid boredom, of course, but these particular ‘mathematics manipulatives’ also have individual strengths of their own.
As well as the work possible on counting and number bonds, unifix blocks are a great way of developing understanding of shape and of measuring.
Number bead strings are particularly good for practising ‘adding on’ and, later, adding on in 2s, 3s, etc.