Going Mental! Part 4

Post date: May 3, 2014 3:43:53 PM

Going Mental! Part 3 looked at number line activities, the bead abacus and mini-white boards. In this, the fourth and final post in this series, we're looking at ten frames, basic number facts and mental calculations, before finishing up with some information on where you might get some of the equipment explored in the series.

Ten Frames:

A ten frame is a simple tool that helps children keep track of counting, see number relationships, understand and learn the number bonds of numbers to and above 10, and helps develop their understanding of place value. Therefore it probably is of most use in the infant and junior classes.

If you've never seen ten frames in action before, then watch this short video, from http://tenframesystem.com/home.html (their site also includes teaching ideas)

The ten frame can be used horizontally (five wise) or vertically (pair wise). Each configuration has its merits. The five wise configuration encourages links to five. The pair wise configuration emphasises, the idea of doubles, and one more and one less than doubles and odd and even numbers.

It is a very valuable tool, that encourages children to visualise numbers. For exploring numbers up to five, a five frame could be used; however, it is perfectly acceptable to use a ten frame for numbers up to five. Beyond the smaller numbers, the ten frames are also extremely useful when teaching the basic number facts (see next section)

The New Zealand Maths website has a fantastic suite of mini-lessons, which incorporate ten frames, using them to teach numeration, combining and partitioning of numbers up to ten, of teen numbers etc. For specific links to these lessons, ten frame templates and other general links please click here. For free interactive ten frame activities, check out the ones included here, with other free IWB teacher tools, from Dreambox Learning.

Basic Number Facts & Mental Calculations:

Central to every individual's ability to calculate mentally, is their knowledge of the basic number facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Traditionally referred to as tables (because of their presentation in a tabular layout for memorisation), we now recognise that the key to helping children be able to instantly recall these facts, is through a structured approach based on developing an understanding of the connection between numbers, rather than one of rote learning.

Last year, in response to requests from some schools that wanted to look at number facts as part of their SSE, I put together these two articles: Approaches to teaching the basic number facts - Multiplication & Division and Approaches to teaching the basic number facts - Addition & Subtraction Both of these articles emphasise how rote learning doesn't work for the basic number facts; where we teach children to do, rather than understand the connections and patterns both within and between groups of number facts. This can be done easily using thinking strategies, the name given to specific strategies that can be taught in a developmental way, building on prior understanding, with the ultimate aim of children being able to apply these mental calculation strategies to numbers outside of the limits of the tables of the past eg.

  • Teaching 5x as half 10x 29x5... 29x10 is 290 so 29x5=145

  • Teaching 4x (and 8x) as double, double, (double) 17x8 Double 17 is 34, double again 68, double again 136

The articles explain, step by step, how we should be teaching number facts (ie using a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach) and why this is better. It is also worth pointing out that teaching the basic number facts for addition shouldn't just start in 1st class, nor multiplication in 3rd; rather the foundations for understanding the relationships between facts should be laid in younger classes (ie infants in the case of addition facts or first and second in the case of multiplication facts) through the exploration of concrete manipulatives, many of which have already been explored in this series of Going Mental posts

And finally....

I hope you found this series of posts beneficial! Don't forget to check out my oral and mental maths board on Pinterest for these and more ideas.

Also, it is often the case, when I do a session on oral and mental maths in education centers or school, that the most common questions are not about the methodologies or approaches, rather about the equipment! "Where can I buy a counting stick?" "Do you know where they do those flips you have?"

So a couple of weeks ago, I contacted a number of education suppliers, who responded with prices and details. Please click here to access that information. Many of these suppliers have agreed to give a discount to Primary CPD's follower and subscribers, so if you do place an order, please let them know it was via Primary CPD!

Most of the companies also deliver nationwide although charges may apply – please check with individual vendor and or their website for specific details.

Vendors: If you are not included here and wish to be included, or if prices/stock changes, please contact claire.primarycpd@gmail.com