8 Active Maths Activities to Keep Children Moving during Lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has us all feeling a little restless, especially children. Children are used to PE lessons, playing in school fields, and burning energy in play parks. But now that families need to stay home to stay safe, children are likely to have a lot of cooped up energy. 

And what better way to burn energy than with an active maths game? Interactive maths activities can help children get excited about learning while unleashing some of their energy with many games you can play at home or in the garden. We’ve created this list of eight active maths activities to help you get children up and moving. 

1. Go on a Shape Hunt around the House

This shape treasure hunt will get children thinking about shapes and identify them in your home surroundings. And as they run around trying to find shapes, they’ll inevitably burn some energy.

Print or draw a variety of shapes on a piece of paper and get your children to find items around the house that match these shapes. You could set a time limit for five or ten minutes, then see how many shapes they can find. 

For each shape children find, you can award a single point, or award more points for irregular shapes like parallelograms and hexagons.  

This is a fun game for the individual child, or for siblings to play together. Siblings can compete against each other to find the most shapes to score the most points. 

2. Paint and Hide Numbered Rocks 

This activity gives children the chance to be both creative and active. Write out a series of equations suitable for your children’s ages these could be addition, subtraction, division or multiplication calculations. Then get your children to decorate rocks, painting one number or symbol on each rock. 

So for example, for the following calculation, you use five rocks: 

13 + 27 = 40

One rock for the number 13, one for the plus symbol, one for the number 27 and so on. 

Once rocks have been painted and numbered, hide them around your home or garden. Then children can have fun finding the rocks to complete the calculations. 

If you don’t have any rocks to use, you could always use pieces of paper or card instead. 

3. Mathematical Bowling 

Everyone loves ten pin bowling, and you can create your very own bowling alley at home. Save ten plastic bottles and write a number between one and ten on each. If you want your homemade skittles to look extra glitzy, you can get your children to decorate them. 

Once you have the skittles, find a ball that you can use as a bowling ball. The whole family can take turns bowling, and when you knock skittles down, add up the numbers on each of the bowling pins to work out your score. 

For older children, you could number the skittles with larger, more random numbers rather than with single-digit numbers.

4. Flashcard Race

This activity is perfect for children who love to get competitive. Create flashcards with mathematical calculations written on them, or use ready-made ones and place them in a line along the floor. 

Children can step up to the first flashcard, and once they’ve shouted out the right answer to the calculation, they can jump forwards to the next flashcard. Then they answer the calculation on this flashcard and jump forward to the next. 

You can make the line of flashcards as long or short as you like, but to introduce a competitive element, time how long it takes for your child to reach the end. They can then keep practising calculations and trying to beat their own time. Siblings can also race against each other. 

5. Mathematical Twister

If you have the game Twister, it’s super easy to put a mathematical spin on it. On top of the coloured spaces, stick post-it notes with numbers written on them. You can then instruct children where to place their hands or feet using calculations. For example, “left foot to 12 x 2!” The children will then have to answer this calculation. You could also call out the answer to a calculation to make the gam a little more interesting!

6. Turn UNO into an Active Maths Game 

You’re probably used to playing UNO while sat calmly around a table, but you can turn this classic card game into an energetic (and quite tiring) active maths game.

Before you start playing, assign a movement for every colour. For example:

  • Blue — touch your toes
  • Yellow — star jump
  • Red — hop on one leg
  • Green — high knees
  • Wild card — turn around and touch the ground

Whenever anyone lays a card, all players need to carry out the action assigned to that colour the correct number of times. So if someone lays a blue nine, you all have to touch your toes nine times. 

7. Simon Says Shapes and Angles 

Simon Says is a classic game to get children up and moving, but this version of the game also helps children learn geometry. 

Whoever is chosen to be “Simon” can tell the other players to move their arms and legs so that they look like a shape. For example, if Simon says “Show me a square!”, children need to move their bodies to illustrate the shape of a square. 

For older youth, you can play Simon Says with angles. If Simon says “Show me 45 degrees” or “Be a right angle” children need to use their arms or legs to show what that angle looks like. This game can help children master Year 5 geometry

8. Bouncing Sums 

Children can spend hours playing catch, so why not make it a bit more challenging with this maths activity? Bouncing sums is a game that you can play with your children, or your children can play together without an adult. 

Use a permanent marker to write random numbers all over a ball. Then when children throw the ball to each other, get them to call out the number closest to their right thumb. The next person who catches the ball does the same but also adds their number to the previous number. So the longer children spend playing the game, the higher the number they’ll finish on. The game ends when someone drops the ball. 

Each time children play this game, they should record the highest number that they reach in a game. Then they can try and beat this number when they play again. 

If you’re trying to keep your children engaged in education during the coronavirus lockdown, Master the Curriculum can help. We have a range of primary maths resources to help children learn at home, including maths worksheets, interactive videos, teaching slides, and vocabulary cards. Sign up for a free account to unlock some of our best maths resources.

Learning in Lockdown: A Checklist for Parents

The coronavirus pandemic has caused schools to close for most children. And if your children are suddenly at home all day every day, you might find yourself wondering how to keep them entertained and how to make sure they continue learning in lockdown. 

By keeping children engaged in education at home, you’ll keep them entertained throughout the week and prevent them from falling behind the national curriculum. 

We know that many parents don’t have time to become full-time teachers, but there are ways that every parent can help their children continue learning at home. Check out our complete guide to homeschooling during the coronavirus crisis, or read on for a checklist of things you can do to help your children learn at home.

Stick to a Home Learning Schedule

School gives children a daily routine, but now that most children are at home every day, there’s a risk of every day feeling like a Sunday. And while this might sound heavenly at first, children will quickly grow tired of the lack of structure to their daily lives. It can even have a negative impact on their mental health, making them feel stressed and insecure. Reintroduce them to the routine they’re used to by creating a home learning schedule. 

You could work with your children to create a custom learning schedule and give them a say in how to structure their days, or you could download a home learning schedule created by teachers. 

If you decide to create your own schedule, try to include a wide range of activities. It’s not practical to expect children to focus on academic lessons all day, so try to include some active and creative activities too.  

With a schedule in place, children are more likely to engage in home learning, they may feel happier about the current situation, and you can progress through lessons in a logical order. 

Plus, a pre-planned schedule will stop your children asking you the same question every morning “What are we going to do today?”.

Set Realistic Expectations

One thing to note though, is that your home learning schedule doesn’t need to be 6-7 hours long. In school, children are usually taught in classes of 30 or more students. But at home, children have your undivided attention, and there aren’t so many distractions. So you might find children are able to complete lessons more quickly at home. 

How long your children spend learning each day will also depend on how much free time you have to supervise educational activities. The chances are you have your own work to worry about, and you may only be able to dedicate a few hours per day to home learning. 

So before you dive into an action-packed home learning schedule, think about how much time you’re realistically able to spend helping your children learn. The last thing you want to do is put too much pressure on yourself, or your children!

Create a Dedicated Learning Space

Children usually associate their home with playtime and relaxing activities, so getting them to concentrate on educational activities at home can be a challenge. 

If you’re able to, create a dedicated learning space to boost your children’s concentration levels. This space should ideally be at a table or desk, where children can write, draw or use a laptop, and there should be minimal distractions. That means if you can, you should keep your learning zone separate from where your children usually relax or play. 

A dedicated learning space can also help you introduce a routine to life in lockdown. Going to school is replaced with going to the learning zone. And with separate spaces for work and play, children have clear boundaries between education and free time.

Girl sat a desk doing homework

Check School Websites

While your children may not be allowed to attend school, schools still play a vital role in children’s education. Many schools will have learning resources that you can download or access online, and some are even creating virtual lessons for children to attend. Some teachers may simply upload videos of themselves going through lessons, or they may use videoconferencing applications to conduct interactive lessons, present teaching slides, and talk to students.

Work Towards Learning Targets

In school, children are always working towards learning targets and objectives. By making sure children continue to do so at home, you’ll help them follow the national curriculum. Learning targets can help you structure lesson plans, find suitable learning resources, and make sure lessons are on-topic, and suitable for children’s current abilities. 

Your child will have individual learning targets that will be set by their teacher. It’s worth getting in touch with your children’s teachers to ask what these are. This way you can give your children a more personalised learning experience.

Prepare a Variety of Resources

Children are likely to get through learning resources more quickly at home than they do at school. So to prevent your children running out of educational activities to complete, it’s a good idea to have a variety of resources at the ready. 

Download any resources recommended by your children’s teachers, and explore online resources for different lessons. At Master the Curriculum, we have hundreds of primary maths resources available, including maths worksheets, vocab cards, teaching slides, and interactive maths videos. And many of our resources are available for free.

Don’t Forget to be Active

Staying indoors all day means children are going to have a lot of built up energy. And if they don’t burn off some of that energy, they’ll struggle to sit still and pay attention to lessons and educational activities. So as well as making sure children complete academic activities each day, it’s a good idea to allocate some time to being active.  

There are YouTube channels that lead indoor PE sessions for children, such as PE With Joe. You can follow these sessions as a family, or your children can do them for fun in their spare time.

At the moment, in the UK, we’re also allowed out once per day for exercise. So you could go on a walk or bike ride with your children. Just make sure you stay safe keep away from other people and don’t visit play parks.

Girl Balancing Pencil on Nose

Enjoy Your Children Being at Home!

The lockdown might be frustrating, but it won’t last forever, so make the most of your children being at home. Home learning shouldn’t be a cause of stress, it should be something that you and your children can enjoy and plan together.  It’s a great chance to bond, and if you make education enjoyable for your children, they’re much more likely to engage in education and gain a deep understanding of lessons. 

Master the Curriculum offers a range of primary learning resources that can help you continue your children’s education at home. Sign up now for a free membership.

What to Look for in Maths Activities for Children

Maths activities can help children engage with their education. With fun and suitably challenging worksheets and activities, children become excited to learn. So we’ve put together this article to help you find the best maths resources for children.

There was a time when learning was a monotonous and dull experience — an era when cold, hard facts were taught in a cold, hard way. But luckily for children in education today, we now know they learn best when they’re having fun. 

One of the best ways to make learning fun is with educational activities. These can come in the form of games, worksheets, interactive videos and presentations. Activities can help children engage with lessons and improve learning retention. 

But not all activities are created equal.

When it comes to maths activities for children, some go above and beyond others. So, how do you make sure children are learning with the right resources?

Maths Activities for Children Must Be Engaging

One thing every parent, carer and teacher knows is children get bored easily. It can be a struggle to keep children interested in their studies with traditional methods of learning, such as textbooks and PowerPoint presentations. And if activities aren’t interesting or fun, children won’t engage with these methods of learning either. So the key is to find maths resources that can hold children’s attention and keep them engaged and excited to learn more. 

Using engaging activities to help children’s education means they can benefit from a more laid-back and enjoyable learning experience. High levels of engagement can also open up deeper opportunities for learning — not only will children learn the facts and skills needed to succeed in school, but they’re also more likely to be able to apply knowledge to real-life situations. 

It’s worth noting, though, that engaging means different things for different age groups. For example, our Year 2 maths resources contain lots of visual elements such as bright colours and fun images, because younger children enjoy attractive, quirky visuals. Our maths resources for children in Year 6 still contain visual elements, but you’ll also find more discourse, and more complex designs, tables and challenges. This is because older pupils are more likely to seek out more complex experiences — potentially with sleeker designs and narrative flows. 

One of the best ways to see if activities are engaging enough is to let children try them out. If they engage with challenges, you’re on to a winner. But if they get bored after a few minutes, it’s not the right game for them. 

Maths Activities Should Provide a Suitable Challenge

While worksheets and activities need to be fun and engaging, their enjoyable aspects shouldn’t be detrimental to actual learning. Maths challenges for children need to have an educational benefit. 

So when looking for maths resources for children, check that they offer a suitable challenge. Puzzles, problems and equations should be targeted at specific age groups and should help solidify, as well as improve, mathematical knowledge. Making sure activities offer the right level of difficulty can also help you capture children’s attention. Children usually welcome a challenge — after all, what fun is an activity that’s too easy? 

Match Learning Styles to Different Types of Maths Resources

Not all children have the same learning style, so it’s important to consider the different types of learners when choosing maths activities for a group of children. 

Interactive maths videos can be perfect for engaging auditory and visual learners. Many maths videos will contain challenging games and songs that can help children remember lessons. Computer games are also a good choice for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. 

However, children who learn best when reading and writing might prefer challenges in the form of worksheets. Worksheets can also be suitable for visual learners if they include lots of visual elements. 

Make Sure Activities Are Easy to Understand

It’s one thing to make sure educational resources challenge children — it’s another to have them pulling their hair out over impossible instructions. Nothing detracts from learning more than frustration

If a child can’t understand how they are supposed to complete activities, they’ll struggle to learn anything from the experience. Challenging maths problems are an important part of learning, but the challenge shouldn’t occur because children don’t know what to do. The challenge should arise because it tests children’s mathematical knowledge. 

Make sure any maths activities your children use as a learning tool are easy to understand and they’ll be rewarded with a richer and more enjoyable experience. 

If you’re looking for maths activities for children that are challenging and engaging, join Master the Curriculum and gain access to fun maths resources designed by teachers, for teachers. With counting games, maths worksheets, teaching slides and interactive videos, our resources can help children master a range of mathematical subjects, from number and place value to multiplication, algebra and geometry.

How to Homeschool Your Children during the Coronavirus Crisis

The spread of the coronavirus has caused schools in the UK to close indefinitely to most pupils. While vulnerable children and children of key workers such as NHS staff can still attend school, most children will need to stay home until further notice. So the chances are, you’re likely to have your children at home with you for the coming weeks, or possibly even months. But that doesn’t mean they have to fall behind on their education. There are plenty of ways to help your children learn at home and engage with educational materials. 

We know that as parents, you have a lot on your plate and helping your children continue learning can feel like a daunting task, especially if your hands are already full with working from home, looking after little ones or managing your household. But don’t panic, you can still help your children stay on top of their education without having to become a full-time teacher. 

In this article, you’ll find homeschooling advice from our team of teachers, and learning resources you can use to encourage children not to forget about their education. By implementing this advice, you can fit home education around your work schedule, so children can keep learning while you keep earning.

Related: Discover our homeschooling primary maths resources for children in years 1-6 of primary school.

What You Need to Know About Homeschooling During the Coronavirus Crisis

Homeschooling during the pandemic is a little different to regular homeschooling. The spread of the novel coronavirus means millions of children no longer have access to regular education, but that doesn’t mean parents and carers are expected to drop everything to become homeschooling experts. 

You’re Not Expected to Become a Full-Time Teacher 

No one is expecting you to dedicate all of your time to homeschooling your children. And no one is expecting you to suddenly become a perfect teacher. 

These really are unprecedented times, so coronavirus homeschooling should be about doing what you can when you can. Whether you have several hours a day, or just a few hours a week, every little helps when it comes to helping children learn. By making sure children at least remain familiar with the national curriculum for their year group, you’ll make it easier for them to return to school and achieve academic success whenever schools reopen. 

You can also give children learning resources to complete independently. These resources are a great way to keep children engaged with education, and you can work alongside them or carry out household activities while they complete learning activities. You can find more information about learning resources in the “Homeschooling Tips” section below.

Homeschool Schedules Don’t Have to Follow the School Schedule 

Creating a homeschooling schedule can give your children a much-needed routine in this time of uncertainty. However, your schedule for at-home learning doesn’t have to follow the school schedule. 

It may not be practical for children to spend seven hours learning at home — you may not be able to dedicate that much time to homeschooling, and your children may not be able to focus for that long at home. For children not used to home learning, it can be difficult to concentrate on completing lessons and learning activities in an environment they usually associate with playtime or downtime. 

Remember Children May Be Feeling Stressed or Upset 

The Coronavirus crisis is stressful for all of us, including children. The uncertainty of the pandemic, the disruption to their usual routine, and social distancing can cause children to become stressed and upset. They may worry about what’s happening, and they may feel anxious not knowing when they can get back to school to continue learning and seeing their friends. 

So try not to be too hard on children when it comes to homeschooling, and remember to check in on how they’re feeling. It’s a good idea to talk to them about the coronavirus, and explain why schools are shutting down. Keeping them informed can also prevent them from becoming overly frustrated about self-isolating, as they’ll understand why it’s important.

Homeschooling Tips for the Coronavirus Quarantine 

It can be difficult to know where to start when helping your children continue learning at home, so here are some top tips to help you create an effective homeschooling routine for your children. 

Create a ‘Learning Zone’

Children can struggle to focus on their education when surrounded by their toys, games or spaces they usually associate with relaxing and downtime. So it’s a good idea to create a dedicated learning zone where children will complete educational activities, or receive lessons. 

Ideally, they will need somewhere they can sit comfortably and write, draw or use a laptop to attend virtual lessons. This could be a desk set up with paper, notebooks, pencils and pens. Or, if you don’t have a desk, children could use the dining table as their home learning space. 

homeschooling tips during quarantine

With a separate space dedicated to home education, children can have a clear boundary between learning and downtime. This can improve their focus, and help them fully relax when the school books and learning resources are put away for the day. 

Make a Home Learning Schedule 

Creating a home learning schedule is hugely important as it can give children the routine they’re used to during school terms. Schedules should include how long children will spend learning each day and what subjects they’ll be focusing on. Once you’ve created a home learning schedule, print it out or write it up so children can see what to expect from the days ahead. Set schedules can also reduce children’s anxiety and uncertainty about the challenging times ahead. 

We’ve already mentioned that your home learning schedule doesn’t have to be the same as children’s school schedules, but it’s a good idea to stick to a learning timetable that covers five days a week. Even if children spend just a little time each day learning, this can help them stay engaged in education, and for little ones, this can further cognitive development. And at the same time, making sure children still have a weekend is also important. 

Check School Websites

Many schools are offering learning resources or online lessons so children can keep learning from home. So before you jump straight into homeschooling, check your children’s school websites and learning portals. If schools offer home learning resources, virtual lessons and schedule ideas, this can take a lot of the pressure off of you. 

Use Engaging Learning Resources

By using learning resources and activities, you won’t need to actively teach your children. Instead, children can complete activities while you work or carry out household activities. All you need to do is supervise them. 

Activities and resources such as worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, educational games, and interactive videos, can be enjoyable and educational. They can help children keep up to date with the national curriculum, keep them entertained, and stop them from worrying about current events. 

You might be able to find learning resources on your children’s school websites, but if not, there are plenty of resources you can download online. For example, at Master the Curriculum, we offer a range of free primary maths resources you can download in an instant. Whilst schools are closed, we are offering a range of premium resources for free. These can be found in our mixed objectives category where our maths activities can be found. They cover all of the objectives for the maths curriculum for Years 1 – 6 and include answers for easy marking. Our resources are categorised by year group, so you’ll find age-appropriate resources for children aged five to eleven. 

Don’t Forget to Have Fun 

If we know children, we suspect that many will be thinking of Coronavirus school closures as an extra-long summer break. They’ll be expecting to wave goodbye to education for the foreseeable future and spend the self-isolation period playing with toys or games. 

So if you’re going to successfully get your children to include home learning in their days off school, it’s important to make education fun. With enjoyable learning activities, children are more likely to engage in home learning, and partake willingly! And watching your children have fun while learning can make the process of homeschooling more enjoyable for you too. 

Younger children may also view this as an exciting period during which they get to have fun with you. And there’s no reason why homeschooling can’t be an enjoyable, bonding activity. 

learning maths with parents

This time is stressful for us all, and making education engaging and entertaining can help children relax and focus on learning, rather than unfolding events and self-isolation. 

Take a look at Facebook Pages such as Working Without Worksheets, where there are many practical ideas posted linked to learning. You can also join the linked group where a lot of discussion takes place around practical learning and you can also post your own questions and what you have been doing at home. 

Remember Downtime is Important Too 

While education is important, remember children need downtime just like the rest of us. Allowing your children a break from learning at the weekends and after home lessons or learning activities gives them a chance to relax, play and process information. Playtime is also hugely important when it comes to developing children’s imagination

Encourage Children to Keep in Touch with Friends 

Children in quarantine will naturally miss their friends and classmates, and social interaction is a huge part of education and development. While playdates and meetups aren’t a possibility during the Coronavirus quarantine, encouraging children to keep in touch with their friends using technology can keep their spirits up and help younger children continue developing social skills. 

Children can chat using video chat software such as Skype or FaceTime, messaging apps, or good old fashioned walkie talkies. They can also keep in contact by playing against each other on video games, or even better, online educational games.  

Consider Active Games for the Whole Family 

With children cooped up inside, they’re going to get restless, so think about ways to get creative and active with home education. You can come up with your own learning activities to get your children moving or look online for active educational activities. Getting the whole family involved in active learning games can get children excited to participate. 

You could stage a quiz with a twist. For example, ask questions relating to children’s school syllabus, but before children can answer, they have to complete 10 star jumps. This activity is a good one for families with more than one child, as children can race to complete an exercise and give their answer. 

Alphabet yoga is another fun activity for younger children. You could get your little ones to get into a pose resembling a letter. Or they could strike a pose resembling an object that begins with a certain letter from the alphabet — for example, you shout “A” and they pretend to be an aeroplane!

homeschooling maths learning

If you don’t have time to organise an active activity yourself, interactive videos can get children up and moving. You can find a range of interactive maths videos for primary school children on our YouTube channel. 

Master the Curriculum provides primary school maths learning resources created by teachers. We offer worksheets, interactive maths videos, teaching slides and vocabulary cards. All of our resources are designed to be enjoyable and suitable for different year groups and abilities. And to help parents keep on top of their children’s education during the Coronavirus school closures, we’re offering many of our resources for free. Just create a free account and start downloading valuable learning resources for your children. You can also join our Facebook group for updates on free resources.

What Is Maths Mastery and How Can We Help Children Achieve It?

The attitude towards maths mastery in schools may be mixed, but one thing is undeniable: it’s happening. Supported by Ofsted and the Department of Education, this new teaching approach has seen success in schools across the globe. But what exactly is maths mastery?

As in any industry, the world of education is rife with buzzwords. Some of these demonstrate important concepts, such as Individual Learning Styles and Scaffolding, while others come and go. Maths Mastery is one of the latest buzzwords in education, but it looks like it may be here to stay.

What Is Maths Mastery?

Maths mastery is a new approach to teaching mathematics thought to give pupils the best chance of mastering maths. This approach can be applied in primary and secondary schools. It focuses on helping students acquire a deep and long-term understanding of maths they can use in different real-life situations. 

Teaching maths for mastery involves whole-class interactive teaching — all pupils work together and progress at the same rate. Only once children have a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts they are taught will they move on to more advanced lessons. 

Lessons taught using the Maths Mastery approach should involve discussions, questioning, a variety of fun maths activities and demonstrations of concepts. Perhaps most importantly, they should be enjoyable as well as informative. Making maths lessons fun can improve learning retention and help children develop long-term knowledge and abilities.  

The Maths Mastery approach originated in Asia, in high performing schools in cities including Shanghai and Singapore. In the UK, hundreds of schools have adopted this approach, and organisations including Ofsted, the DfE, and the NCETM are supporting Maths Mastery. The results for children taught using this method could be staggering. 

How Maths Mastery Can Help Children Achieve Academic Success

Maths Mastery has already impressed schools around the country. In 2019, the NCETM reported that Maths Mastery has a significant, positive impact. The approach is helping teachers develop their knowledge and skills, and children are learning maths more securely. So what is it about Maths Mastery that is helping children achieve academic success?

All Children Can Achieve Mastery in Maths 

Mastering any subject can be considered an intimidating prospect. But, behind it lies a straightforward and positive concept: that all children — with the right support and understanding — can succeed and thrive. Mastery in maths is about supporting children to develop a deep understanding in an environment that’s accessible and fun, rather than overwhelming them with concepts they’re not yet ready to learn.

Teaching for Mastery Logically Connects Concepts

Maths mastery makes sure children have all the necessary foundational knowledge to grasp more advanced concepts. It starts with the basics and ensures every child has a solid understanding of one topic before moving on to another topic. 

The teaching for mastery approach recognises all mathematical concepts are connected — some concepts can’t be grasped without a good understanding of other topics. For example, you wouldn’t expect a child to be able to calculate large sums without first being able to count. Similarly, teaching a child to understand fractions without a solid foundation in division would be a struggle. 

All Children Learn the Same Mathematical Concepts

Every child learns at their own individual pace. With a linear method of teaching, students who aren’t ready to move onto learning new ideas can find themselves at a disadvantage through no fault of their own. They may fall behind and not have the chance to develop the same knowledge as their classmates.

But this is where maths mastery is highly beneficial. The approach is designed to make the whole class move at the same pace. This means students who learn faster stay on the same content at a deeper level, allowing them to consolidate their knowledge. So, all students secure an understanding of each mathematical concept.

The Challenges Teachers Face and How Teaching Mastery Can Help

Teachers face enough challenges in their day-to-day working lives, from managing their time to supporting children who need additional help. By introducing maths mastery into your teaching, you’ll not only benefit from more structured lesson plans, but you’ll also see your students thrive, fully confident in the concepts they’ve learned — the ultimate goal for any maths teacher.

Teachers Save Time on Lesson Planning with Maths Mastery

Every teacher faces the difficulty of catering to the individual needs of up to 30 children in a classroom. Planning lessons and learning opportunities to suit whole classes and individual pupils can take hours of work outside of the classroom. With children learning at a different rate, teachers can find themselves planning for students learning completely different topics, often in the same class!

Because Maths Mastery relies on the whole class learning together, teachers don’t need to worry about creating different lesson plans and activities for different children. The focus is on consolidation — so even those who have grasped a topic will continue learning the same content until the whole class moves on. Children will develop strong foundational knowledge and teachers can focus on one topic at a time. 

Teachers Can Improve the Transfer of Learning

It can be a struggle to help children apply school knowledge to real-life situations — many pupils will remember facts, concepts and equations. But their understanding may not be deep enough to transfer that learning to other situations or concepts. However, teaching for mastery should result in children having a strong enough understanding to apply the lessons they’ve learned.

Children should have ample opportunity to apply what they’re learning with the help of their teacher. Teachers should offer learning opportunities that demonstrate applications of knowledge and allow pupils to explore different ways to apply knowledge. This means erring away from the basic repetition of sums until a child understands why an answer is correct, and instead focusing on variation. 

Giving pupils the chance to apply their knowledge in different contexts will deepen their understanding. Schools can always provide an additional challenge by altering the complexity of the task to suit the individual learner.

Teaching Children How to Master Maths

Mastery in maths lies at the heart of what all teachers aspire to do: encourage children to reach their full potential. The Maths Mastery approach can instil a solid foundation of mathematical concepts that will support children throughout their entire education and, indeed, their lives.

Teachers hoping to start teaching for mastery can make changes in the classroom to make this process easier and more successful, for both students and teachers.

Make Use of Regular Assessments

Teachers must track each child’s movement towards mastery to ensure children are fully grasping topics before moving onto new material. Regular assessment means teachers can be confident the class as a whole is ready to learn a new topic.

Differentiate

In many setups, this means a differentiation in content, with fast-learners learning new topics while others catch up. But this can promote a damaging mindset in children — those who aren’t as fast learners receive less demanding tasks and they may start to feel they are “mathematically weak”. Fast learners too, can develop an unhealthy mindset. If they believe learning is a race, this can lead to unfocused work, where the child ends up learning very little but feels pressure to stay ahead of the class.

So instead of allowing children to move on to different topics, teaching for mastery should involve differentiation within topics.  Children of different abilities should be given different levels of support and different resources to help them achieve mastery and consolidate knowledge. 

Such an approach means children are still learning and consolidating the same topic, preventing the damage that can come from developing a clear-cut weak/able mindset.

At Master the Curriculum, our maths resources can be used for teaching mastery because we don’t differentiate by number. For example, if children are learning numbers and place value, we have resources of varying difficulties for children working within 10, 20, 50 or 100 etc. Rather than getting ‘low ability’ children to work within 10, and ‘high ability’ children to work within 20 or 50, all children work within the same learning objective but are challenged in different ways.

Use a Variety of Resources

We know every child learns differently. Regardless of whether you are teaching mastery or not — it’s vital to make use of as many resources at your disposal as possible. These might be pictorial representations or self-instructional workbooks tailored to each child’s pace and progress. At Master the Curriculum, we offer a variety of resources for maths mastery, categorised by key stages and year groups. 

What it’s important to bear in mind, though, is there is no definitive way to teach math mastery.  Teachers should rely on intuition and knowledge of students to adapt the process, so they learn in the way best suited to them.

Apply Lessons to Different Contexts

The core aim of mastery teaching is to teach children how to apply the concepts they’re learning to a variety of different situations. Asking children to go through the same set of materials over and over again does not reinforce learning; it hinders it. Instead, focus on giving your pupils more complex tasks that challenge them to apply these concepts differently. This way will enrich their learning and allow you to gauge whether they need additional support.

Joining Master the Curriculum can give you access to maths resources that can help you teach maths mastery. We offer differentiated worksheets that don’t differentiate within numbers, so that all children can progress at the same pace. Get in touch today for more information about our resources, or become a member to access maths resources straight away.