“In mathematics and statistics, students explore relationships in quantities, space, and data and learn to express these relationships in ways that help them to make sense of the world around them” (New Zealand Curriculum Document, Sep 2007). There are many things we can do to support our children's learning in mathematics by using the everyday experiences and resources that we find around the home.
As a school, we understand and appreciate that our parent community is committed to helping their children to become strong and confident in their mathematical learning. The aim of this section is to support you in this through:
- Links to true and tested websites that consolidate number knowledge,
- Links to videos of games shared by our own Louis Heap to support quick recall of basic facts,
- Tips on how to use Math Whizz at home to support your child, whether they are looking for that extra challenge or are in need of a confidence boost.
You have probably heard how important it is for children to know their basic facts in order to make progress in maths. But what exactly are they?
Addition/subtraction basic facts refer to all the additions (and the corresponding subtractions) that can be made up to 20: from 1 + 1 = 2 right through to 19 + 1 =20.
Multiplication/division basic facts refer to all the possible multiplications (and the corresponding divisions) between numbers up to 10: from 1 ⨉ 1 = 1 through to 10 ⨉ 10 = 100.
Knowing these facts off by heart enables students to free up space in their minds so that they can complete more complex mathematical thinking without having to dedicate brainpower to ‘working out’ the basics. Once a student understands how the maths behind the basic facts work (e.g. what is multiplication or division etc.) the best way to learn the facts is to memorise them – this is often called rote learning.
At KTS we encourage students to use games, songs and repetitive chants as well as traditional written forms to help memorise the facts. We have developed a number of resources that can guide parents in how to support their children in this respect.
Addition facts to ten song:
played once a day this song can help students memorise important additions to make ten which will support their addition strategies
a game that uses ordinary playing cards to encourage learning basic facts
a video describing how, by understanding that multiplication and division are connected, students only have to learn 35 basic facts instead of 120.
There are also heaps of online games that support the learning of basic facts and wider mathematical concepts – the NZ Ministry of Education has a list of recommended sites
here and I encourage you to explore them with your child. Also, you can find ideas on how to use a range of materials at home to explore maths with your child here.
Your child will also be doing regular work on learning the basic facts as part of their classroom mathematics programme so talk to them and/or their teacher about how they are learning at school too.
Finally, our advice for learning the basic facts is to do a little each day – up to 5 minutes daily is enough as that will add up as time goes on. Focus on mastering a family of facts for a few days then move on. Most importantly, try to make it fun.
Maths Whizz is the online Maths Tutor software that has been adopted across the primary school. There are two learning modes: tutor mode, through which the student learns new skills; and replay mode in which the student consolidates newly learned skills. It is important to encourage your child to spend time in both modes so that their learning is rounded and well understood.
When learning new skills (tutor mode) students will be presented with an exercise that teaches a concept and then gives them ten questions to work through. If they complete this activity well enough they can complete a test to see if they have understood the concept. As they progress through the concepts, Whizz chooses increasingly advanced subject matter to present to them.
To get the best out of the programme, we recommend following a few guidelines when your child is working on it at home:
For more information about how parents can get the most out of Maths Whizz, take a look at this online guide.
- Sit with your child while they are doing exercises or using replay mode. In this time you can support them by clarifying questions and discussing the mathematical ideas. However, please do not give them the answers!
- Make sure you give the child no help at all if they are doing a test. This will ensure they do not progress too quickly through each concept causing the mathematics to become too hard for them.
- View your child's report card (available in their study) with them each week and celebrate their successes.
We hope you and your child enjoy Maths Whizz and get maximum benefit from using it.