At Bethersden Primary School, we have been learning our mental maths skills through our ‘Maths Blasters’ programme. This is a high energy, quick paced and fun way to learn different strategies needed to complete the trickiest of maths questions. We use a variety of different resources, including, an interactive whiteboard, count down games and maths aerobics! Maths Blasters have successfully improved our children’s mental maths skills and Ofsted agree, with our latest inspection stating that ‘pupils are currently learning more effectively as a result of daily ‘maths blasters’ sessions, which enable teachers to identify gaps in pupils’ learning’. Ofsted also agree that our pupils enjoy mathematics lessons and many say it is their favourite subject!
Activities to try at home
- Run around – lay large digit cards or word cards on the floor and the children run to the area of the room, in response to mental arithmetic type questions.
- Chinese whispers – children pass on a sum and the end person in the chain has to show the answer either using digit cards or a whiteboard.
- Bingo – grids can be drawn up for the children to input sets of numbers to concentrate on tables facts, multiples, number bonds as well as problem solving.
- The police inspector – this is a variation of the game ‘Guess my number/ shape?’. A child is given or picks a number and is then ‘interrogated’ by the teacher or another child. The rest of the class can be constables and can write down the evidence as it is given (scrap paper, whiteboards) and can discuss the correct answer. The constables can be encouraged to ask the ‘suspect’ questions too.
- Who wants to be a millionaire? – A child sits at the front of the class with and is asked a question by the teacher or another pupil. They can either answer it, or phone a friend (some teachers actually use play phones), or ask the audience! The friend can only answer by offering a strategy that could be used. When asking the audience the class could have their fans, digit cards or white boards and show their answers.