At Danson Primary School, we believe that mathematical success is possible for all. As a school, maths lessons will include the use of concrete materials, pictorial representations, varied fluency, reasoning and problem solving to ensure that children are able to master the curriculum and approach abstract concepts with confidence. This process enables children to think mathematically, using their language and communication skills, so that they can independently apply their learning to a new problem in an unfamiliar situation. From EYFS through to Year 4 we follow the Mathematics Mastery programme for teaching and learning and, in Year 5 and 6, we follow the White Rose Maths planning scheme.
Danson children are inspired to be passionate about maths and to think critically when working in a mathematical manner. They are taught to deepen their thinking through their approach to tackling challenging problems and investigating possible outcomes. Children are posed with a series of questions to increase their knowledge and understanding of specific objectives and then they are encouraged to create their own questions to make connections between different mathematical concepts and topics.
The National Curriculum for Mathematics:
The National Curriculum sets out what children need to cover throughtout their time in Primary School. Teachers link their planning to the national curriculum and understand how these support children to make progress in learning. The national curriculum for mathematics says:
- Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
- Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
In our curriculum we meet the National Curriculum expectations and provide rich and exciting opportunities within Mathematics. The children are taught a vareity of key concepts across the core strands of maths.
Teaching Mathematics at Danson
As a school, maths lessons include the use of concrete materials, pictorial representations, varied fluency, reasoning and problem solving to ensure that children are able to master the curriculum and approach abstract concepts with confidence. This process enables children to think mathematically, using their language and communication skills, so that they can independently apply their learning to a new problem in an unfamiliar situation. We call this the ‘Dimensions of Depth’.
From EYFS to year 4, we follow the Mathematics Mastery programme for teaching and learning and, in year 5 and 6, we follow the White Rose Maths planning scheme. Both of these schemes provide a range of opportunities for children to apply their mathematical thinking skills. Teachers use this to help plan exciting and challenging opportunities that involve mathematical talk and application of key concepts.
Throughout the week, we provide children with a broad and balanced range of opportunities for maths learning to take place both in and outside the maths lesson. This include but are not limited to:
- Daily maths lessons
- Daily counting
- Quick recall of known facts
- Low stakes retrieval quizzes
- Outdoor learning
- Arithmetic fluency practise
- Mental maths quizzes
- Number games
- Data collection and statistical analysis
- Scientific graph drawing
- Storytelling in maths
- Problem solving
- Reasoning and vocabulary applications
Children at Danson focus on vocabulary in every maths lesson and in relation to all maths tasks. The correct terminology is modelled for children and it is discussed in context and related to real life situations. ‘Star words’ are used at the start of, and within, all lessons for children to practise using crucial vocabulary. Children will have many opportunities to discuss maths language with their peers and ‘talk as thought’ dialogue is promoted in all lessons. Children are supported with sentence stems, word banks, visual displays and additional resources when appropriate. Parents are provided with a list of key maths vocabulary when children enter a new year group.
By the end of Year 4, all children should have a quick and accurate recall of all multiplication facts up to 12 X 12. This vital knowledge supports children in other areas of mathematics, such as fractions and division. Also, children in Upper Key Stage 2 must have a secure grounding of times table facts to successfully solve problems. For depth of learning, we believe it is important that children are given the opportunity to see, explore, and understand the mathematical structures, patterns and relationships within the times tables.
Online Resources to Support the Teaching of Mathematics:
At Danson, we believe that technology plays an important part in our society and it should be reflected in our practice of teaching and learning. We use a variety of technology software and hardware to inspire children and enhance the teaching of mathematics.
This software is aimed at pupils in EYFS and Key Stage One who are practising crucial place value and arithmetic skills. NumBots supports every child in achieving the understanding, recall and fluency in mental addition and subtraction, so that they move from counting to calculating. Pupils choose their own avatar of a ‘Bot’ before launching into ‘Story’ and ‘Challenge’ modes, where pupils can practise different addition and subtraction methods and calculations. As they progress, pupils collect achievement badges and unlock hundreds of new levels and challenges. In the Story Mode, they will also discover parts, helping RustyBot upgrade from Rust to Diamond - so he can shine inside and out. Tables and charts enable teachers to keep track of progress and usage at a class and individual level.
Times Tables Rock Stars (TTRS)
We use Times Tables Rock Stars as a resource to support children in improving their accuracy and speed when recalling multiplication facts. Times Tables Rock Stars is a fun and challenging programme designed to help students master their times tables. It is accessible at home and school and children earn coins for correctly answering questions. Each child creates their own rockstar avatar and, by playing in different game modes (such as ‘Garage’, ‘Gig’, ‘Rockslam’, ‘Arena’ and ‘Stadium’), earns coins to buy special items to modify their avatar. The platform is safe for children to use and encourages a competitive element when ‘battles’ are arranged between groups. ‘Battles’ are low-stakes competitions that can be against classes, year groups, teachers, other local schools or even against other classes and schools in the country as part of national battles. Furthermore, children are able to practise specific times tables that they need to consolidate as the programme makes use of a meticulous automatic training mode which tracks children’s success and gaps in knowledge to set times tables questions.
Pupil Voice - Times Table Rockstars
“I enjoy playing Times Table Rock Stars because it is fun and competitive when I play against my friends and people around the world.”
“I like that when I’m using Times Table Rock Stars I can solve multiplication and division equations.”
“Times Table Rock Stars is fun while learning the times tables that I don’t know.”
To inspire all our pupils to enjoy and value maths learning, Danson hosts a special Maths Week each year with a range of activities in lessons and beyond. Each day had a different focus to inspire and interest the children in a variety of areas of maths.
An important part of our curriculum at Danson is learning about money and we are proud members of the Centre of Excellence in Financial Education. This year, in Maths Week, we brought maths into a real-life context through hosting classroom shops. Children experienced the important life skill of exchanging money.
In EYFS and KS1, children took part in a ‘Bring and Buy Sale’ during Maths Week to raise money for school funds and important maths resources. Pupils kindly brought in donations that were age-appropriate and inspired purchases to be made. This ranged from toys, books, stationery, sweets or biscuits (no nuts) or homemade items. Children priced their items and were supported in buying things from the sale and acting as ‘shopkeepers’.
In KS2, children took part in the ‘£20 Shop Challenge’ during Maths Week to raise money for school funds and important maths resources. Each class was given £20 to spend on items such as toys, stationery, sweets (no nuts) and drinks.The challenge was to sell all their items and make the most profit for their class. Children priced their items and were responsible for selling and buying things from the sale.
The shops across the school were highly competitive and as you can see, everyone enjoyed it. Overall, we raised an astounding £2350.77 during the week.
As part of the week, we also held a dressing-up competition for the whole school related to numbers and what the children wanted to be when they grow up.
Maths Homework and Supporting Your Child At Home
The role of parents does not just mean supporting. It is vital that parents show a positive attitude towards mathematics and share the need for it in real life with their children. It is commonplace in the UK to hear adults say, ‘I can’t do maths’ but it is much less common to hear adults say, ‘I can’t do reading/ writing’. Negative mindsets towards maths can become a barrier to learning for pupils and parents/carers should aim to enthuse their children about the subject.
The maths curriculum has greatly changed over the last two decades and Danson supports parents with this through workshops, information on the school website, homework letters and suggested digital and non-digital resources to use at home. Parents and carers can positively impact their child’s mathematical understanding by engaging with the suggested materials from school and discussing maths with their child.
- Talk positively to their children about their maths learning on a regular basis
- Engage with homework and newsletters to see what topics are being taught
- Ensure regular rapid recall of key facts are practised at home (e.g. times tables or number bonds)
- Ensure regular real life maths is drawn attention to (e.g. telling the time on an analogue clock, paying with coins and notes or measuring ingredients while cooking)
- Encourage the practice of new and alternative written methods
- Support the completion of MyMaths weekly homework and termly topic homework.
At Danson, we set mathematics homework as part of the topic grid and a weekly task.
The weekly task is provided via the Online portal of Mymaths. This portal provides tasks for the children to complete that are linked to their current learning and consolidate what has been covered in class. It provides an opportunity to recap learning via a video and there is an option to add sound buttons and a colour overlay. Teachers set this weekly and monitor whether the children are completing it.
On the topic grids, there is a maths problem that is linked to the different areas of the curriculum. It is a problem solving and investigation style question and children are encouraged to complete this independently.
Children are also given the opportunity to practise number bonds and times tables through our online platforms of Numbots and Timestables Rock Stars. Teachers encourage the children to participate online and they are certificated for the children who are practising at home.
Websites to support children’s learning in maths are many and varied. Some recommended sites are listed below.