Learning with LEGO!

September 6, 2015

LEGO is such a brilliant toy; with a little imagination there is nothing you can’t create with LEGO. I’ve used it in so many ways in class but this year I’m spreading the ‘love’ and have created LEGO Maths manipulatives for all KS1 and some for KS2. It has been a labour of love and araldite! The pick a brick tubs are ready now and relabelled for tens and units!


The 10s are created with the standard 2×4 brick glued to a 1×2 brick. (Although of course, you could be creative and do it in many different ways) LEGO does do a 10 stud brick, but it is a 1×10 stud piece and not often found in the brilliant ‘Pick a Brick Wall.’ 2×5 is a better visual for 10, it replicates our 2 hands with 5 fingers and helps children to visually build bonds to 10.

Having bought single stud bricks in the Leeds shops for years, this summer they didn’t have any, but Liverpool did! Look at the statue that greeted me in the Liverpool shop! They had even made my little dog, ‘Penny’, for me!!


I’ve created 20 tubs full of LEGO tens and we have plenty of units to go with them. Later in the year, I’ll add some 100 towers to the collection. Smartboard pages have been created and designs are ready to be laminated for use with the LEGO.

We’ve got family after school sessions in the diary, ready to show everyone how to use their bricks at home to help them with Maths  and we’ll be sharing all our Maths learning on our class blog http://ffks1.primaryblogger.co.uk.

Learning Maths with LEGO is so much fun! It works so well because you can see and feel how numbers work together.


Maths Measuring Breakfast

January 17, 2015

Did you know that the Kellogg’s Variety pack was first sold in 1963?

So this week our Maths has been all about cereal and measures.  We had four different activities going on all week and the children got an opportunity to do each one.

  • We measured the height, width and depth of the cereal boxes using rulers and measuring in centimetres.
  • We measured the weight of bowls of cereal using weighing scales and measuring in grams.
  • We measured the capacity of the milk we poured on our cereal using a measuring jug and using millilitres.
  • We created a tally chart and bar chart to show the most popular cereal.

Here is a link to a fun site to help you practise this weeks learning about measures

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The children learned a song called ‘Pirate Captain Hugh.’ Here are a couple of videos of the children performing the song. What units of measurement does the pirate use to make his stew?

In ICT the children used Pic Collage to create posters about measures.
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Problem solving and logical thinking – Maths Games

January 10, 2015

As part of our work on Growth Mindsets, and to ensure that we really stretched our ‘fantastic elastic brains,’ we have done a circuit of Maths games and also worked through some tricky problems on the carpet together with Mr Walker.
The 4 games that we all learned were – Rush Hour, Power Lines, Suduko and Strike it out. Here are links to each game. Can your child show you how to play the game? Have a go, they are lots of fun!

Click this image to link to the online version of Rush Hour. You can also download a free app or purchase the game board.
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Click this image for a link to child friendly Sudoku with a 4×4 square. Some of us also tackled the 6×6 squares.
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Click this image for a link to an online interactive version of Powerlines.
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This poster links to the Strike it Out puzzle. You need to draw a numberline to 20 to play this game. Can you play it and only end up with one number that hasn’t been crossed out? That’s a really tricky challenge, but one group did manage to do it.
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Can you see the concentration on our faces? We did really enjoy these challenges and learned that difficult things are actually fun to do. We helped each other by encouraging our teams to keep going and not give up.

Addition and Subtraction.

October 26, 2014

This Half Term we have focused on Addition and Subtraction in Maths.
These short videos show you some of the strategies we have used.
You might like to watch the videos with your child and discuss how they would do each sum. Being able to explain how you do Maths is really important and helps you to really understand what you are doing.
The children use lots of different strategies to begin with and then we begin to think about which strategy is the most effective for which sum. For instance when we are adding a 1 digit number to a 2 digit number, then putting the largest number in our heads and counting on works, but it isn’t a good strategy to choose for adding bigger numbers. We are also encouraging the children to choose a different strategy to check their answers, or to use the bar model or inverse operation to check. ( if 27 – 15 = 12, then we can check our answer by doing 12 + 15 = 27)
Some of the strategies we use for addition –

Some of the strategies we use for subtraction –

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Keep practising all the skills you have learned in Maths by aiming to achieve your weekly Mathletics Certificate. This week EVERYONE in 2F achieved their certificate and we managed to get into the Top 10 classes on Friday morning.


ImageJames in 2H was our Mathlete of the Week, with an amazing score of over 16,000 points. Well done also to Phoebe for her score of over 12,000 and to Ben, who scored over 13,000 points.







Our Number Bond games created on Purple Mash.

October 11, 2014


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Click on the images above to play our games.

In ICT this week we began to create our own games using 2DIY in Purple Mash. Our Maths Passport Targets are all about learning our Number Bonds to 10, 20 and 100, so our games help us to practise these skills. Some of the children had a little help with writing the instructions for their games, others wrote them independently. During the next couple of weeks in Literacy we will be working on instruction writing, so our next batch of exciting games will have ‘new and improved’ instructions too! Well done everyone for being great learners and using the skills you learn in one lesson to help you in another lesson.


Maths Passports and subtraction.

October 5, 2014

All the children in KS1 have been issued with Maths Passports. They will use they to record the Key Maths Facts which they have mastered and can recall quickly. During Morning Task time the children will be able to show an adult that they have mastered a skill, for example, knowing bonds to 20 and the passport will be signed and dated for them.

In Year 2 we will begin with Bonds to 10, 20 and 100. Children need to practise both the addition and subtraction facts until they can recall them accurately and quickly. A previous blog post showed us skipping and jumping as we practised our bonds and the links below may also be useful. On Purple Mash we are also create our own games to help us practise our bonds. ( We will share these on the blog soon!)

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This week we will also be problem solving using subtraction. We will use the LEGO tens and units to physically see what happens when we subtract a number from a 2 digit number. We will also use a number square and a number line to support us in our subtractions. These links below will provide some useful practise too.

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Maths i-Spy

October 5, 2014

On Monday when we walk to the library, we will be looking out for Maths….. Have a think about what you might find to photograph on your way.

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What are the co ordinates for the North Building? Do you know where the library is?

Can you plan a route from the North Building to the library? How would you write it down for someone else to follow?

Counting, bonds and the bar model.

September 27, 2014

In Maths this week we have been using the Bar Model to help us to learn our number bonds. We have been learning the related addition and subtraction facts; some children worked on bonds to 10, others on bonds to 20 and even bonds to 100. Everyone challenged themselves and worked hard to improve their own knowledge of number bonds and the related fact families.

Outside the children did a rotation of activities to help us practise some of the Maths we have been learning. We threw bean bags into hoops, labelled hundreds, tens and units and used our knowledge of place value to work out our scores. We worked in pairs, throwing a ball back and forth, but with one person saying a number and their partner giving the number needed to make the number bond to 10, 20 or 100. We used the hopscotch and ladder marking on the playground to help us practise our bonds and to count up and back in 2s, 5s and 10s.

Next week we will be working on more addition and subtraction problems and we will use Bar Models to help us with problem solving. Click below to link to a site which shows how we will use the bar model.
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Mathletics Lead Educator Day.

July 6, 2014

It was great to visit Bristol and meet with some of the Mathletics Lead Educators for the day last week.

We shared lots of ideas and experiences and learned a lot about the developments at Mathletics.

Mathletics has clearly already risen to all the challenges of the New Curriculum and has added more games and content, along with much more information for teachers from their dashboard. It was good to take another look at the ebooks, a resource I often overlook, but will definitely make better use of next year. I think they would be a very useful resource for children to work through independently in morning task time, as well as using in some lessons.

The use of Mathletics as a tool during the starter of a lesson, so that a group of children could be using Mathletics while a more targeted starter was delivered to the majority of the class and then once they were off doing an activity the children doing Mathletics could have their input. Seemed an excellent way to help deliver content, with differentiation.

We talked about how different schools kept the motivation for Mathletics going. I liked the idea of children being about to log on before school and during lunchtimes. It was also interesting to realise that some of the classes which are regularly in the Top 10 in the UK are actually year groups and therefore are the totals of 60 children playing!

We digressed at times and talked about wider school issues… I was especially interested in the conversation about the use and enthusiasm for the 100word challenge and the 5sentence challenges.  (I’ve already signed up for next year.!)

We looked at some very interesting documents from Gov.uk for test developers looking at assessment of the New Curriculum. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/key-stage-1-mathematics-test-framework   andhttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/key-stage-2-mathematics-test-framework Both well worth a look and give you a different perspective to the New Curriculum.

Mathletics and the New Curriculum. click here – Mathletics-England-2014-Curriculum-Alignment

This document is brilliant – it shows you all the games on Mathletics, linked to the objectives in the New Curriculum.

Estimation 180  a brilliant website shared with us by Dr.Rogers. Great for Maths talk.

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We had an interesting conversation about the Singapore Bar Model – as a maths representation, and looked at the website http://www.mathplayground.com/thinkingblocks.html. In addition to the section on Thinking blocks, this site also has some great games for developing logical thinking and reasoning skills.

In the afternoon Rob shared with us his work on https://www.makewav.es . This is a website where children earn lots of different certificates and schools get to design the content for their awards. Rob shared some excellent examples of Mathletics awards – https://www.makewav.es/3plearning and shared the work he is doing in his school with the children in Years 4,5 and 6. https://www.makewav.es/snowsfields

We did a practical activity using Tangrams to look at fractions using some very neat wooden Tangran puzzles. So impressed, I’ve already ordered a few for class!

It was a great day, time to think about making use of Mathletics, which is undoubtedly a phenomenal resource and has had a lot of work put into it to support the New Curriculum. Also great to have time to talk with some inspiring colleagues. Another idea shared which I loved – LEGO trophies. The children in Year 6 design and make the trophies for the following year… what a brilliant and creative idea.   Thanks to Mathletics for a really inspiring day.

The Dyscalculia Conference – follow up notes.

July 6, 2014

A brilliant conference. Click here for the Conference Notes.Final Handbook

As I was leading 2 workshops, I only attended 1 workshop and missed some of the Keynote speakers, but even so I learned a lot myself.

It was brilliant to listen to Jo Boaler speak. Having done her online course last summer, it refreshed all the ideas I had reflected on then and it was great to listen to her in person. I highly recommend her book, ‘The Elephant in the classroom.’ Jo Boaler spoke about the importance of developing a ‘Growth Mindset,’ and her work with Carol Dwecke.  She stressed the importance of showing maths ‘as an engaging, beautiful and relevant’ subject.

You can enrol now for another online course by Jo Boaler


The day finished with a Keynote from Debbie Morgan, NCETM. She showed us the resources that the NCETM have been putting together on their site to help schools implement the new curriculum. These resources are fabulous – just what we really needed. Not all the links are active yet, but there is still plenty to help teachers plan for September.

https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/41211 This link give you downloadable word and pdf strands for all areas of Maths showing the progression across the year groups.

https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/44672 This link gives you the progression map for each Maths area, with ideas for developing reasoning for each strand.

National Curriculum Glossary Click here for a useful glossary of all the Maths terms in the New Curriculum.

https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/41211 This page looks like this –

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 10.59.49 You select the year group and the Maths strand you wish to view and then click ‘Show Selection.

This will open up a page like this – the example is Year 2, place value.

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 11.00.05 Here you will get the learning objectives and then tabs to link to Subject Knowledge, Making Connections, Articles, Activities, Exemplifications, and Videos. The videos are especially useful to watch.

Debbie Morgans Keynote also clearly defined the changes in the New Curriculum and it’s key aims.

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