This month at the Primary we have been focusing on challenge in maths, using it to both deepen the learning and stretch the more-able pupils. I delivered some training before Christmas that split challenge in maths into 4 main areas: ‘Prove it’, ‘Teach it’, ‘Spot it’ and ‘Predict it’. This has helped staff focus their daily challenge on a skill, ability or concept that links well with that particular lesson. Below are some examples from across the year groups that we are proud to show off!
In EYFS a lot of the challenge is through conversations with the children that encourage them to think deeper or apply their learning. This forms excellent building blocks for the move into Year 1 when the children can then capture these sorts of ideas themselves. In the example below the child had been learning about time, and through conversation with the teacher was able to apply this to their daily routine at home as well as showing understanding of how to read the time too.
In Year 1 we have been experimenting with each of the 4 areas of challenge to see what sorts of questions we can think of and how well the children respond to these. We have been particularly enjoying using ‘Spot it’ and ‘Predict it’ challenges, encouraging the children to make their maths quicker and easier by looking for patterns and using these to predict other answers. In the first example below, the child was asked to spot the pattern and use it to predict the next answers. He has then written his observations: ‘It is the 2 times table and so the answer goes up by 2 more every time’. In the second example, a different child had been set an ‘Teach it’ challenge where he had to explain his reasoning for solving a problem in his chosen way. The child has responded ‘I will do the biggest number first because it will be easier’. It gave great insight into how he is approaching problems and showing, even at 6, he is able to think about how to make his maths more efficient!
In Year 2 the focus has been on challenging the children to draw out maths from number stories as opposed to just formal number sentences. In the example below, the children had been adding 3 one-digit numbers and so were encouraged to find the ‘hidden’ number sentence in the written problem. Their further challenge was then to deepen their understanding by writing their own number story for a similar problem.
Year 3 have also been making good use of number stories in their challenge, encouraging the children to apply their learning and show a deeper level of understanding by being able to put it in context. They have also been trying out the ‘Teach it’ challenge area, being encouraged to explain the way they have approached a problem and why. In the below example the child explains she ‘counted in threes’ to get the right answer, giving insight into how she is applying her understanding of times tables to multiplication.
Next month we will be focusing on the use of concrete resources in maths, as part of the CPA approach from Singapore Maths.