Give your child lots of
praise and encouragement!
CALCULATION SHAPES AND MEASURES
The maths work your child is doing at school may look Choose a shape of the week e.g. cylinder.
very different to the kind of ‘sums’ you remember. This is Look for this shape in the environment (tins, candles etc).
because children are encouraged to work mentally, where Ask your child to describe the shape to you (2 circular
faces, 2 curved edges ..)
possible, using personal jottings to help support their
Play ‘guess my shape’. You think of a shape. Your child asks
thinking. Even when children are taught more formal
questions to try to identify it but you can only answer ‘yes’
written methods (from late year 3 onwards), they are
or ‘no’ (e.g. Does it have more than 4 corners? Does it have
only encouraged to use these methods for calculations any curved sides?)
they cannot solve in their heads. Hunt for right angles around your home. Can your child also
spot angles bigger or smaller than a right angle?
Look for symmetrical objects. Help your child to draw or
paint symmetrical pictures / patterns?
Make a model using boxes/containers of different shapes
and sizes. Ask your child to describe their model.
Practise measuring the lengths or heights of objects (in
metres or cm). Help your child to use different rulers and
Discussing the efficiency and suitability of different tape measures correctly. Encourage them to estimate
strategies is an important part of maths lessons. before measuring.
Let your child help with cooking at home. Help them to
measure ingredients accurately using weighing scales or
measuring jugs. Talk about what each division on the scale
Talk to your child Ask your child to
about how you explain their
Choose some food items out of the cupboard. Try to put
work things out. thinking.
the objects in order of weight, by feel alone. Check by
looking at the amounts on the packets.
Practise telling the time with your child. Use both digital
and analogue clocks. Ask your child to be a ‘timekeeper’
(e.g. tell me when it is half past four because then we are
Use a stop clock to time how long it takes to do everyday
tasks (e.g. how long does it take to get dressed?).
Encourage your child to estimate first.
PRACTISING NUMBER FACTS
When faced with a calculation problem,
Find out which number facts your child is learning
at school (addition facts to 10, times tables, doubles etc).
encourage your child to ask…
Try to practise for a few minutes each day using a range of
vocabulary. Can I do this in my head?
Have a ‘fact of the day’. Pin this fact up around the house.
Practise reading it in a quiet, loud, squeaky voice. Ask your
child over the day if they can recall the fact. Could I do this in my head using
Play ‘ping pong’ to practise complements with your child. You
say a number. They reply with how much more is needed to
drawings or jottings to help me?
make 10. You can also play this game with numbers totalling
20, 100 or 1000. Encourage your child to answer quickly, Do I need to use a written method?
without counting or using fingers.
Throw 2 dice. Ask your child to find the total of the
numbers (+), the difference between them (-) or the Should I use a calculator?
product (x). Can they do this without counting?
Use a set of playing cards (no pictures). Turn over two cards
and ask your child to add or multiply the numbers. If they
answer correctly, they keep the cards. How many cards can
they collect in 2 minutes?
Play Bingo. Each player chooses five answers (e.g. numbers
to 10 to practise simple addition, multiples of 5 to
practise the five times tables). Ask a question and if a
player has the answer, they can cross it off. The winner is
the first player to cross off all their answers.
Give your child an answer. Ask them to write as many
addition sentences as they can with this answer
(e.g. 10 = + ). Try with multiplication or subtraction. Also help your child to estimate and then
Give your child a number fact (e.g. 5+3=8). Ask them what check the answer. Encourage them to ask…
else they can find out from this fact (e.g. 3+5=8, 8-5=3, 8-
3=5, 50+30=80, 500+300=800, 5+4=9, 15+3=18). Add to the
list over the next few days. Try starting with a x fact as Is the answer sensible?
Children are taught to understand addition REAL LIFE PROBLEMS
as combining two sets and counting on.
Go shopping with your child to buy two or three
items. Ask them to work out the total amount spent
2+3= Children could draw a picture and how much change you will get.
At a party, I eat 2 cakes and to help them work out the Buy some items with a percentage extra free. Help
my friend eats 3. answer. your child to calculate how much of the product is
How many cakes did we eat free.
altogether? Plan an outing during the holidays. Ask your child to
think about what time you will need to set off and
how much money you will need to take.
Use a TV guide. Ask your child to work out the
7+4= Children could use dots or tally length of their favourite programmes. Can they
7 people are on the bus. 4 more marks to represent objects calculate how long they spend watching TV each day
get on at the next stop. How (quicker than drawing a picture) / each week?
many people are on the bus Use a bus or train timetable. Ask your child to work
now? out how long a journey between two places should
take? Go on the journey. Do you arrive earlier or
later than expected? How much earlier/later?
47+25= Drawing an empty number line Help your child to scale a recipe up or down to feed
My sunflower is 47cm tall. helps children to record the the right amount of people.
It grows another 25cm. How steps they have taken in a Work together to plan a party or meal on a budget.
tall is it now? calculation (start on 47, +20,
then +5). This is much more These are just a few ideas to
+20 +5 efficient than counting on in give you a starting point. Try to
ones. involve your child in as many
47 67 72 problem-solving activities as
possible. The more ‘real’ a
or problem is, the more motivated
+20 +3 +2
they will be when trying to
47 67 70 72 3
487+546= Children will be taught written
Practise chanting the number names. There are 487 boys and 546 methods for those calculations
Encourage your child to join in with you. When girls in a school. How many they cannot do ‘in their heads’.
they are confident, try starting from children are there altogether? Expanded methods build on
different numbers - 4, 5, 6 . . . mental methods and make the
Sing number rhymes together - there are lots 546 value of the digits clear to
of commercial tapes and CD’s available. +487 children. The language used is
Give your child the opportunity to count a 13 very important
range of interesting objects (coins, pasta (6+7, 40+80, 500+400, then
shapes, buttons etc.). Encourage them to 900+120+13 - add this mentally
touch and move each object as they count. NOT in columns).
Count things you cannot touch or see (more
difficult!!). Try lights on the ceiling, window 12 786 + 2 568= When children are
panes, jumps, claps or oranges in a bag. 12 786 people visited the confident using the
Play games that involve counting (e.g. snakes museum last year. The numbers expanded method, this can be
and ladders, dice games, games that involve increased by 2 568 this year. ‘squashed’ into the traditional
collecting objects). How many people altogether compact method.
Look for numerals in the environment. You can visited this year?
spot numerals at home, in the street or when
Cut out numerals from newspapers, magazines
or birthday cards. Then help your child to put
the numbers in orders. 15354
1 1 1 1
Make mistakes when chanting, counting or
ordering numbers. Can your child spot what
you have done wrong?
Choose a number of the week e.g. 5. Practise
counting to 5 and on from 5. Count out groups
of 5 objects (5 dolls, 5 bricks, 5 pens). See
how many places you can spot the numeral 5. 4
Children are taught to understand subtraction as taking 84÷6= It would take a long time to
away (counting back) and finding the difference (counting I need 6 drawing pins to put up jump in sixes to 84 so children
up), before moving on to vertical subtraction. a picture. How many pictures can jump on in bigger ‘chunks’. A
can I put up with 84 pins? jump of 10 groups of 6 takes
you to 60. Then you need
5-2= Drawing a picture helps +60 +24
another 4 groups of 6 to reach
I had five balloons. Two burst. children to visualise the
10 groups 4 groups 84. Altogether, that is 14 sixes.
How many did I have left? problem.
0 60 84
Take away 192÷8= It is helpful to split 192 into
8 pencils fit in each packet. If sensible ‘chunks’ before
you have 192 pencils, how many dividing. As you are dividing by
A teddy bear costs £5 and a doll
packets can be filled? 8, the ‘chunks’ chosen must also
costs £2. How much more does the
be multiples of 8. Divide each
192 = 160 + 32 ‘chunk’ (how many groups of 8?)
and then add the answers
20 groups + 4 groups = 24 together.
7-3= Using dots or tally marks is
184÷7= This method is known as
Mum baked 7 biscuits. I ate 3. quicker than drawing a
I need 184 chairs for a chunking. In this example, you
How many were left? detailed picture.
concert. I arrange them in rows are taking away chunks of 7.
of 7. How many rows do I need? First subtract 140 (20 groups
26 r 2 chairs of 7) and you are left with 44.
)1 8 4 Then subtract 42 (6 groups of
Lisa has 7 felt tip pens and Tim has
- 140 20 groups 7), to leave 2. Altogether, that
3. How many more does Lisa have?
is 26 sevens with a
Find the remainder of 2.
- 42 6 groups
= 26 r2 10
5 = 27 rows
Children are taught to understand division as
84-27= Children could count back
sharing and grouping.
I cut 27cm off a ribbon measuring
I cut 27cm off ribbon measuring 84 using an empty number
6÷2= More pictures! 84cm. How much is left?
cm. How much is left? line. This is a really good
6 Easter eggs are shared between 2 Drawing often gives -7
-20 way for them to record
67 74 84 the steps they have taken
children. How many eggs do they get each? children a way into
solving the problem. (start on 84, -20, then
Sharing 57 64 84 –7).
between 2 or
Or -3 -4 -20
-3 -4 -20
67 70 74 84
There are 6 Easter eggs. How many
children can have two each? 57 60 64 84
874-348= Children move onto
in twos The library owns 834 books. 348 are
The library owns 874 books. 378 are recording vertically.
out on loan. How many are on the
out on loan. How many are on the They begin by partitioning
shelves? the numbers into
12÷4= Dots or tally marks hundreds, tens and units.
4 apples are packed in a basket. How many can either be shared Ihere are not enough
874 800 and 70 and 4
baskets can you fill with 12 apples? out one at a time or units to subtract 8 from,
- 348 300 and 40 and 8
split up into groups. so a ten is changed into
Grouping ten units. You can now
526 500 and 20 and 6
subtract 8 units from 14
Leading to compact units.
28÷7= To work out how decomposition This is then shortened to
A chew bar costs 7p. How many can I buy many 7’s there are 6 1 the compact method,
with 28p? in 28, draw jumps of 8 7 4 which many of us are
7 along a number 3 4 8 familiar with.
line. This shows you 5 2 6
0 7 14 21 28
need 4 jumps of 7 to
reach 28. 6
Children are taught to understand multiplication
6x4= Children could count on
as repeated addition and grouping. It can also There are 4 cats. Each cat has 6 in equal steps, recording
describe an array. kittens. How many kittens are there each jump on an empty
altogether? number line. This shows
2x4= Again a picture can be 4 jumps of 6.
Each child has two eyes. How many useful.
eyes do four children have? 0 6 12 18 24
13x7= When numbers get
There are 13 biscuits in a packet. How bigger, it is inefficient
many biscuits in 7 packets? to do lots of small
2 + 2 + 2 + 2 +70 +21 jumps. Split 13 into
parts (10 and 3). This
5x3= Dots or tally marks are gives you two jumps
0 70 91
There are 5 cakes in a pack. How often drawn in groups. This (10x7 and 3x7).
many cakes in 3 packs? shows 3 groups of 5.
6x124= This is called the grid
124 books were sold. Each book cost method. 124 is split into
£6. How much money was taken? parts (100, 20 and 4)
5 + 5 + 5 and each of these is
100 20 4 multiplied by 6. The
4x3= Drawing an array (3 rows of 4 6 600 120 24 = 744 three answers are then
A chew costs 4p. How much do 3 or 3 columns of 4) gives added together.
chews cost? children an image of the
72x34= This method also works
answer. It also helps
A cat is 72cm long. A tiger is 34 times for ‘long multiplication’.
develop the understanding
longer. How long is the tiger? Again split up the
that 4x3 is the same as 3x4.
70 2 numbers and multiply
or 30 2100 60 = 2160 each part. Add across
7 4 280 8 = 288 the rows, then add
2448 those two answers