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Moulding a Marvellous Mathematician

Posted by on in Junior Primary
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Maths can be practical and fun! Maths is all around us; by this I mean that one is able to practise your numeracy skills throughout your normal daily routine. Here are some more enjoyable Maths activities to use.

Over the past few posts I have been writing about the sometimes tedious and time consuming task of homework. This afternoon activity is one that will follow your child (and you) throughout his school career. Setting a routine for homework and creating a homework habit is so important within the Junior Phase and sets the foundation for the increasing amounts of homework that your child will receive as your child progresses through the grades.

During my years of teaching I have always found that Maths homework in particular is either loved…or loathed! As I have mentioned before, always start your homework session with the subject that your child finds the most challenging; to ‘get it over with’ before the tiredness sets in.

Bring Maths into your child's life with some of these left brain developing activities:

  • Shopping by numbers: It is a good idea to start your Numeracy homework session with a bit of oral counting. You can do this in the car on the way home or while you are at the shops! Get your child to count the number of apples you buy or work out how many rolls you will need if each family member has 2 for lunch.
  • Money, money, money!: Let your child handle cash and help you to pay at the cashier. Children are not exposed to cash as much as they used to be and it is amazing how many kids are unable to recognise the value of coins. Once your child is in Grade 2 let him work out the change that you should get.
  • Playing with numbers: Set up a date night with your family once a week when you can spend time together and play some board games, instead of switching on the telly! Even an evening of a simple board game like Snakes and Ladders will help to reinforce counting skills. There are many board games out there that are fabulous for developing numerical skills.
  • Mathematical chatter: When talking to your children in everyday activities use ‘mathematical language’. I’m not saying talk to them about Pi and square routes, but rather, expose them to mathematical vocab. that will help them to understand and be able to describe mathematical questions and concepts more easily. Use words like: More than, less than, bigger, smaller, larger, taller, shorter, full, empty, greater than, multiply, divide, sharing, grouping, add, subtract, minus, take away and plus. Use these words when describing the weight, size and capacity of certain everyday items and situations. Eg. “Zach has a greater number of jelly beans than Sienna.”  Or “Dad has filled the bath. There is less water in the bath than there was yesterday.” It sounds a bit ridiculous, but when you get used to it you will find yourself explaining things to your children using more mathematical vocabulary. The concepts of weight, size and capacity are important in the Junior Phase.   
  • Driving maths home: When in the car and stuck in traffic, play a game with your child. Have him sequence the numbers on the number plate of the car in front of you. Then add the numbers together. Extend this activity for older kids by multiplying or dividing the numbers, or ask them to create their own sums using the numbers on the plate.
  • Number watch: Play this game when travelling or on a day out. Give each person a number (or a few numbers eg. 2 or 1, 2 and 3) that they are on the lookout for. Each person gets a point if they spot their number on a signpost, billboard or anywhere else. The person who has the most points at the end of the day could get a small reward.

We live in a digital age. There are some great websites online that offer fantastic educational games that can assist in making Maths more exciting. Some need you to subscribe to them, but they are a fantastic resource to help develop your child’s Mathematical skills in an entertaining way.

Here are just a few:

http://www.mathisfun.com/

http://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/5-7-years/ordering

http://www.primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/maths/

http://www.ictgames.com/

http://www.mathletics.co.za/

Have fun moulding your marvellous mathematician!

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