Maths is all around us and problem solving is at the heart of the mastery approach. Look for maths problems you can solve together, making connections between what your child has been learning at school and the world around them.
Demonstrating these connections – and representing them in multiple ways – not only supports your child’s understanding and cements their knowledge; it reinforces the relevance of maths in our lives and makes it fun.
- Follow a recipe: work together to find out the quantities needed, ask your child to weigh the ingredients, discuss how you’d halve or double the recipe and discuss the ratio of ingredients.
- Talk about the weather forecast: is today’s temperature higher or lower than yesterday’s? What do the numbers mean?
- Going shopping: talk about the cost of items and how the cost changes if you buy two items instead of one. Let your child count out the coins when paying and discuss the change you get back. Use coins to explore addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- Planning an outing: discuss how long it takes to get to the park, and so work out what time you need to leave the house. Encourage your child to work out the best solution based on the time and distances. Discuss what shapes you see when you get there
- Telling the time, discussing the days of the week, talking about money or the coins needed to pay for items, how long things take to cook
- GROWTH MINDSET – Everyone of us can master mathematics given the opportunity.
Ideas for Counting
- Collections of objects – shells, buttons, pretty stones
- Cars on a journey, e.g. how many red cars?
- Animals in a field e.g. sheep, cows
- Stairs up to bed, steps, etc.
- Pages in a storybook
- Counting buttons, shoes, socks as a child gets dressed
- Tidy a cupboard or shelf and count the contents e.g. tins, shoes, etc.
- Counting particular vehicles on a journey e.g. Eddie Stobart lorries, motorbikes, etc.
- Keep maths practical and real life
- Money – paying for things, playing shops, purses
- Dishing up dinner – problem solving
- Games (snakes and ladders, dice)
Think about a picture and see what questions you can derive from it to ask your child. For example, using this picture, look how many questions we can ask related to maths:
Mathematics language often uses common words in a new way. For example, ‘difference’, ‘right’, ‘product’, ‘table’.
To support your child’s understanding of mathematical words, ask them to explain the words they’ve been using and what they mean. Find out what new maths vocabulary your child’s teacher is introducing so you can use it at home to complement their learning.
Always encourage your child to explain how they have gone about solving a problem, and work with them to test, prove, explain, reflect and spot patterns. Questioning and prompts can be powerful tools to boost your child’s mathematical thinking: ‘What do you think…?’ ‘Why …?’ ‘What will happen if…?’ ‘What do you notice about…?’ ‘Can you see a pattern between…?’ ‘What if we try…?’
Communicating and discussing maths problems (in a way that others can understand) demonstrates depth of understanding – another fundamental aspect of mastering mathematics.