Maths is fun!
At Billinge House we continue to work hard to challenge the stereotype that mathematics is ‘boring’ and ‘hard’. As a staff we are committed to providing an exciting approach to mathematical learning and as you meander through the corridors and classrooms of Billinge House you will see that mathematics is a subject celebrated in lots of ways. Children are encouraged to take part in interactive activities and games and there are displays that celebrate their work in the subject.
That said, this academic year we have decided to focus on mathematics and to further enrich the mathematics curriculum in a number of ways. One of the ways we have started to do this is with the introduction of ‘Creative Maths’ lessons in Key Stage 1.
The word ‘creative’ isn’t traditionally associated with mathematics and when thinking about the two words together it would be fair to assume that you would expect it to be describing some mathematical art work such as patterning or symmetrical prints. However, it is much more than that. It is about getting the children to solve problems by ‘thinking creatively and flexibly’, to think, to plan, to take risks by having a go and to question their actions and findings.
It is really important for the children to be interested in their learning and the introduction of ‘Creative Maths’ has made problem solving in mathematics more relevant for them. Already, this term has seen the children in Year 2 ‘buzzing’ from a creative maths lesson. As the children entered the classroom, they found a box lying on the floor with a note attached: it read, ‘HELP ME!’ On investigation the children discovered that the box had been left by a witch and had had a spell placed on it, a spell which they had to break by working together to solve a problem; and the relevance? It was Halloween of course! In this session alone the children explored different strategies to solve the problem and had to keep track of what they were doing; in this particular challenge they used marks such as tallying to record how many moves they had taken to solve the problem. Other challenges have presented problems along themes such as: fireworks for Bonfire Night, Farmer Bill’s crops for Harvest and in the run up to Christmas the children will be visiting ‘The Wise Men’s CafÃ©’ and helping ‘Santa’s Elves’. The whole lesson Is practical and fun and the children thoroughly enjoy themselves.
By introducing these weekly lessons of ‘Creative Maths’ we are providing a vehicle for the children to begin to apply what they have already learnt, to realise their strengths and encourage learning through real life activities and decision making, and of course, capturing their imaginations!
The mathematical development of all of our children at Billinge House is of vital importance. Whilst Year 1 and 2 take part in weekly creative maths lessons to enrich and enhance the Key Stage 1 mathematics curriculum, the Reception classes have enjoyed the introduction of problem solving based around familiar stories. This term has seen their mathematical vocabulary and understanding develop alongside number recognition and basic counting skills whilst exploring stories such as ‘Room on the Broom’, ‘The Three Little Pigs’, ‘Dear Zoo’ and ‘Elmer’ to mention a few.
In Pre School, the youngest members of Billinge House have enjoyed lots of mathematical learning outside where they have been encouraged to explore the beautiful grounds that the infant School has to offer. This term we have already been on a shape hunt, a number hunt and made number books with outside treasure! The added excitement of wearing the Westholme waterproofs and wellingtons means that even the weather doesn’t stop us!
So, as we move forward into the New Year, it is proving to be an exciting time for mathematics at Billinge House. The enrichment of this core subject has only just begun! We continue to create in children the sense of achievement and to show them that solving problems can be stimulating, exciting, rewarding and creative! There is much more planned for the Spring and Summer terms to further enhance the wonderful mathematics we currently do. Look out for the maths teasers on the Billinge Bugle and in the Night Time Zoo Keeper pages of the website. We also plan to celebrate Mathematician of the Week, have fun with our very own Maths Fun Day and much, more more!