Mathletics.

Scan 150 - Version 2

Mathletics is an online Maths website. I first came across Mathletics when I was visiting a school as an Advanced Skills Teacher, and when I needed time to talk with a teacher, she suggested that the class went to the ICT suite and that if children went on Mathletics ‘everyone will be happy, working and learning’ and we would get time to talk! I was fascinated by the site which ‘hooked’ the pupils into their learning and Maths… and discovered Mathletics.

Mathletics is an online Maths game, which covers the Maths curriculum from Year 1 to GCSE. In my opinion Year 2 is a good time for children to start to use it as it is vital that they are taught Internet safety first. At Hovingham Primary we also encouraged ex pupils to come and support the after school clubs and they were working on the Year 7 & 8 curriculum, while my parents group worked between the Year 2 and Year 10 activities.

Schools subscribe to the site and then all users are given their own username and passwords to access the site. Mathletics can now also be used on the iPad and the App is free. Children use the username and password they are issued at school. Currently the App doesn’t work brilliantly on the ipad 1, but is fine on newer iPads, as long as there is a decent wifi.

Teachers have their own log in details and set their pupils at appropriate levels. You can put your class into groups and assign different levels of the curriculum to each group. Teachers can use the site to demonstrate during lessons and have access to all the brilliant features, including an animated Maths dictionary, Concept search and Times table songs.

Teachers can view the results of their class and assign specific tasks to the pupils. Pupil reports show the children’s areas of strength and weaknesses.

My class has done some brilliant explanations about ‘What is Mathletics?’ Here are some examples…

Scan 148 Scan 149 Scan 150 Scan 151 Scan 152 Scan 153 Scan 154

 

The children also produced these videos below to explain what Mathletics is.



Below is a book which my previous Year 2 created together as part of a Literacy block on the Mr Men.

 

Frequently asked questions.

What is the impact?

At Hovingham Primary School in the 3 years that followed the implementation of Mathletics our KS2 SATs results rose by over 30% at L4. Check out the rest of the blog for more detailed information. More importantly was the change of children’s attitude towards Maths… in an assembly when the pupils were asked who liked Maths, virtually every hand shot up! The increase in confidence that the children showed in Maths also began to spread to other areas of the curriculum.

How easy is it to set up?

A representative from Mathletics came and demonstrated Mathletics to my class. The children were immediately hooked. The site is very well put together and easy for a Maths coordinator to take charge of as the School Mathletics Administrator. Useful teacher guides can be printed out from the site and provide all the information needed to get going. Having watched the initial lesson led by the representative from Mathletics, I then led the first lesson for the other classes. Alternatively a staff meeting would be long enough for staff to become confident and able to launch Mathletics with their own classes.

Student usernames and passwords can be printed out in a document which can be cut up and made into individual logging in cards. We printed several copies of these – one copy was sent home attached to a letter for parents.

How much does it cost?

Schools pay per pupil for a years subscription from £6. This amount decreases depending on the number of pupils playing. In my opinion it is worth every penny, and as a Maths co ordinator on a tight budget I was able to reduce the amount of money spent on Maths to just enough money to pay for Mathletics. The subscription  includes all the teachers access to site including very useful ebooks which can be printed out for lessons and homework.

Aware that schools are currently on very tight budgets I believe that if parents understood the benefits of regularly playing Mathletics most would contribute the money or be involved in some fund raising event to raise it.

Individuals can subscribe to the site but the cost of this is around £30 per year – this illustrates the value which schools are getting.

How best to implement it in school.

Following the initial introduction of the games most pupils will be full of enthusiasm, but the real impact this program has is seen when pupils continue to play over a longer period of time. The challenge for schools is keeping this momentum going.

Encourage all staff to take an interest in the program – adults saying well done to the pupils will keep them motivated. Teachers need to make sure that the level is set correctly so that the child can access the games, find them sufficiently challenging, and yet not too easy. This is best achieved by setting up groups with in your class and then assigning them  slightly different levels. My current Year 2 class has some pupils set at Year 1, most at Yr 2 and a few on Yr 3. Because the children design there own screen and avatar the children are not aware of this difference.

It is best if there is one teacher – probably the Maths coordinator who takes on the role of the Mathletics coordinator in school. They can access the data and see which classes have lots of pupils using the site, and support teachers if their classes appear to be playing less frequently.

How to keep the momentum going.

Noticing achievements – print out certificates, hand them out in assemblies, send them home, blog about them… just make a general fuss about them. At Hovingham there were so many weekly certificates that Bronzes were only printed in Black and White, but the Gold Certificates were awarded every half term at big special assemblies to which the parents were invited, and often a special guest such as Lucas the Cop Cat from Leeds United, or an Olympic Torch bearer.

Not all children have access to a computer and the Internet at home – and some have to share with other siblings and busy parents, so it is important to ensure that children have the opportunity to play at school. This wont be possible in most ICT lessons. so set up lunchtime or after school clubs. At Hovingham we had a breakfast club 3 mornings a week, and daily lunch and after school clubs. This was possible with the help of teachers, support staff, parents and ex pupils.

What happens on World Maths Day?

World Maths day is part of a spelling learning week, with World Spelling Day and World Science day. It is one of a series of events set up by 3P learning and gives schools who don’t yet subscribe to Mathletics an opportunity to sign up and play for free for a limited time. World Maths day this year is on March 6th. At Hovingham I opened the school early for a longer Breakfast Maths session and we had an after the after school club too! The computer suite and every other available computer was used from 7.30am to 6.30pm and classes could organise a day of exciting Maths activities in the classrooms too. Sometimes we also held one of the Gold Mathletics on the day, and even held a ‘Come to school dressed as your avatar day!’

Why I think Mathletics works.

The program has been carefully put together with the team looking at the Maths framework we use in school, but also using all the skills of games designers. The pupils love having their avatar, designing their screens, spending credits to change how their avatars look, seeing their points accumulate and achieving certificates.

A pupil commented, ‘It’s like having your teacher looking over your shoulder.’ They get immediate feedback as to whether their answer is correct or not, and when it is incorrect they are shown the right answer. If a pupil is unsure how to do the question they can access help by clicking the question mark. pupils can also select easier or hard options when choosing games to play, and teachers can allocate specific tasks for pupils to play.

While most of the game is not competitive and they are just working to improve their personal best. those who enjoy a competitive game will like Live Mathletics – a timed game to test their mental maths. The upgrade to this element which now means that children can play against their class, school, the world or the computer has given my pupils a lot of fun. In recent snowy weather they enjoyed playing against some of the children who were stuck at home!

Mathletics greatest success is that it gets children thinking ‘Maths is FUN!’



Leave a Reply