Maths is a subject that is both essential and relevant to children and a tool to be used in the real world. It is a key life skill that will help pupils in the future. Maths is a subject that has many cross-curricular links and helps children describe, tackle and solve problems using their knowledge and understanding. It is essential that we give pupils every opportunity to acquire these skills.
At St Andrew’s we use ‘Big Maths’ to give our children a firm grasp of number facts and how to apply them across both the maths curriculum and the whole curriculum. This gives our children a firm foundation for learning within the new national curriculum for primary mathematics.
BIG Maths is a teaching approach that makes progress in maths easy and fun. BIG Maths has been extremely successful both nationally and internationally with thousands of children learning through daily BIG Maths ‘CLIC’ sessions and the weekly ‘Beat That!’ challenges.
Big Maths firstly answers the question, ‘How do we get children properly numerate as they journey through school?’ It provides us with an accurate and simple, but highly effective, framework that guarantees numeracy progress. This framework is known as CLIC (Counting, Learn Its, It’s Nothing New and Calculation) and is characterised by accurate steps of progression (known as Progress Drives) that make new learning easy and obvious to children by cashing in on the timeless natural laws of Maths.
BIG Maths is therefore a rigorous, systematic and structured approach that provides children with a fun and lively experience as they learn through jingles, songs, games and the BIG Maths characters.
'Big Maths puts the child at the
heart of the learning experience.'
Don't be surprised if your children come home talking about Clic, Pom, Pim, Squigglesworth or Count Fourways.
Big Maths helps children to understand the links between core numeracy (the basic principles that underly all maths) and outer numeracy which is the application of these core principles.
Big Maths 'Learn It's' is a weekly timed test of your child’s Learn Its. The aim is to improve their individual score each time!
An example of the weekly 'Learn It's sheet:
The CLIC test: The CLIC test is a set of 10 questions involving number.
E.g. The four operations, doubling/halving, multiplying by 10/100, using decimals. Each child works on a CLIC test of a level appropriate to them and when they have achieved full marks for three consecutive weeks will move on to a higher level test, regardless of age or year group.
CLIC stands for ‘Counting’, ‘Learn Its’, ‘It’s Nothing New’ and ‘Calculation’. Maths lessons contain each of these elements.
Children will count forwards and backwards in all kinds of steps depending on their level e.g. in 1s, 2s, 3s, 6s or even 25s! When practising counting at home with your child, make sure you go forwards and backwards. Don’t always start at 0 – make sure they can count on from 75 to 106 for example.
‘Learn Its’ are addition facts and times tables facts. There are 72 Learns Its in total; 36 addition Learn Its and 36 multiplication Learn Its. These are facts that children need to learn off by heart, so when they are asked ‘What is 6+4 ?’ they are able to give the answer as quickly as they would be able to tell you their name. As soon as they know 3x5=15 they also know 5x3=15 (This is known as a ‘Switcher’).
It’s Nothing New:
This is the most important aspect of CLIC. It is the way children become successful and properly numerate. The idea that 5-things and 3-things are always 8-things is a fundamental concept. Once children understand this concept, we can change the ‘thing’ to other units, e.g. ‘tens’, so that 5 tens + 3 tens = 8 tens. Children begin to learn the concept by counting random unit e.g. bananas, aliens, cats etc. It then becomes much easier to use standard measures such as ml, m, cm, kg, whilst understanding the underlying number concepts.
This aspect of CLIC is when the teacher will focus on developing the children’s understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Big Maths maps out which steps children should do in a clear order and helps teachers to identify where to go back to if a child needs extra support.
An example of weekly CLIC sheets:
The Big Maths Beat That test (BMBT): The BMBT test is based on the children’s weekly Learn Its. It is a timed test where the children are constantly challenged to increase their own score (literally…”Beat That!”, where ‘that’ is their best ever score).
BIG Maths Learning Resources for Home Learning
Reasoning and Problem Solving in Maths
Let’s start with the definition of maths reasoning. Reasoning in maths is the process of applying logical and critical thinking to a mathematical problem in order to work out the correct strategy to use (and as importantly, not to use) in reaching a solution.
Reasoning is sometimes seen as the glue that bonds pupils’ mathematical skills together; it’s also seen as bridging the gap between fluency and problem solving, allowing pupils to use their fluency to accurately carry out problem solving.
It is only when we teach children to reason and give them the freedom to look for different strategies when faced with an unfamiliar context that we are really teaching mathematics in primary school.
Some of the questions and sentence starters we use at St. Andrew's to help children to reason:
Websites and Resources:
Best two-player game
Your child moves their fish forwards by answering maths questions correctly. They can choose what type of question to focus on: addition, subtraction, addition and subtraction combined, multiplication and division. If they get a question wrong, their fish stalls and their opponent will gain ground.
You can choose the level of difficulty according to your child’s ability. In addition mode, for example, beginner’s level questions involve adding two single-digit numbers, while extra hard features three-digit additions, such as 109+173: a good test of your child’s mental mathsability. Multiplication and division questions involve numbers up to 12x12.
Your child can play against a real-life opponent, each controlling one half of the screen; you can tailor the level of difficulty based on their ability. Alternatively, they can compete with a virtual Squeeble opponent: will they go for slow and steady Min, or super speedy Crunch?
Best for KS2
Marble Math, £3.99, AppleThis highly addictive game involves solving maths problems that appear at the top of the screen by rolling a marble through a maze and collecting the right numbers or items to solve the problem. Your child can choose whether to move the marble by dragging it with their finger or tilting their device.
Intended for children aged nine and over, Marble Math features a range of different problems, ranging from simple additions and subtractions to adding negative integers, sequencing, decimals, adding fractions and simplifying equations.
When your child gets an answer right, it unlocks the next marble maze, with a new question. There are rewards to collect and obstacles to avoid along the way, and your child can also earn stars that can be exchanged for new marbles to use in the game.
Best for working on weaker areas
You can choose what sort of problems your child tries to solve – addition, subtraction, times tables, division or a mixture of operations – and also the level of difficulty. These range from problems involving single digits (5+5) up to complex calculations like 95/19.
If your child is stuck on a problem, they can press the question mark button for a visual hint such as a number line to help them with their calculation. If they get a question wrong, that square of the bingo grid disappears – and the more answers they get wrong, the harder it becomes to complete a line and shout ‘bingo!’
Your child collects new interactive pets for their pet pen by winning a game of bingo, as well as food to tempt them with. Their report card tracks their progress in the various different types of calculation, so you can see exactly what sort of problems they need to spend more time on.
Best for mental maths practice
Maths Dots Puzzles: Dinosaurs, £1.99, Apple
Help your child hone their mental maths skills with this clever app that will tick all the boxes with dinosaur lovers.
Your child has to choose an operation to practise (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) and a level (easy, medium or hard). They’re then challenged with a series of maths problems; each time they click a correct answer, a line on the dot-to-dot puzzle is filled in. Once the dots are all connected, the outline transforms into a dinosaur that your child can colour with their finger.
There are also Fairy Dots, Pirates and Trucks versions of the app to tap into a variety of children’s interests. Each features a total of 32 different puzzles to complete.