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How our school teaches Maths

The school staff has put togeher some guidelines on how we teach Maths from Infants to 6th class. It is intended to assist you if you are “keeping an eye” on the homework or just giving a small amount of assistance without confusing your child by teaching them methods you might have learned at school yourself.

However, if your child is having a real difficulty with any area of Maths and you have to actually “teach” him/her, please draw the class teacher’s attention to the difficulties. Please do not try to teach your child aspects of the topic which are beyond his/her class level as the concepts can be too advanced and children can become frustrated when they are unable to grasp them.

Mental Maths
If you want to do extra work with your child, you can really help him/her develop mathematical skills by posing problems at the relevant class level and by asking your child to work out answers in his/her head – mental maths. It is school policy that mental arithmetic is a feature of daily mathematical activity. Resources used include Bingo Boards, Target Boards, Number fans, Tables. Children from 1st class up use the book “Mental Maths” on a weekly basis to improve their abilities in this area. It is also useful for constant revision as there is a variety of topics in each mental Maths assessment.

Practical Maths
Helping your child with practical maths is also of great value – again at the relevant class level – counting, measuring, weighing, estimating, dividing fruit/sweets/cakes etc. Playing Maths games is also very valuable – Counting cars, houses etc when going on journeys is very helpful. Snakes and ladders can be used to help children identify numbers and add in their head. When playing football even young children will quickly learn to keep the score and add 3 points in their head every time they score a goal!

Methodologies
Throughout the school, we use common methodologies when teaching the following aspects of the curriculum:

Addition (including addition with re-naming)
Subtraction (including subtraction with re-naming)
Multiplication (including long multiplication)
Division (including long division)
Fractions of a Number
Decimal Place Values
Measures
Time
Estimations
Tables
Problem Solving

Calculators
Children from 4th to 6th class use calculators. They will not be used all of the time and children will continue to do the sums themselves for a large portion of the maths curriculum. When using calculators, they are encouraged to estimate what the answer to a problem should be first before completing it.

A calculator can be used for checking answers, but they are especially helpful when problem solving as they enable the children to concentrate on solving the problems instead of the accuracy of their number work. We also use a calculator for:

  • Teaching place – value: e.g. 7846 - change to 7046. 800 has to be subtracted, not 8. 7846 - change to 7806 etc.
  • Repeated addition: Press the number, then press +, and finally press = as often as required. E.g. Press 6: Press + Press = Press = Press etc. The display should read 6, then 12, then 18, then 24, then 30 etc
  • Repeated subtraction: Press the number being subtracted from, then press = as often as required. E.g. Press 60: press -, press 7, press =, press = etc. The display should read 60, then 53, then 46, then 39 etc.
  • Directed numbers: Press a number, then press - and finally press = as often as required. The calculator will show minus numbers below zero. e.g. Press 31: press -, press 8 , press =, press =, press= . The display should read 31, then 23, then 15, then 7, then –1, then –9 etc.,
  • Mental Strategies: e.g. 85 + 96. The 9 key is broken. How do you do this sum on the calculator? Find ways of making 96 without the 9 key, e.g. 85+ (100 – 4).
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