Classroom planning for mathematics

Classroom planning - part 2

Mathematics in the senior classes

Mathematical exploration in the senior classes should continue the use of manipulatives. It is envisaged that there will be an even greater emphasis on problem-solving and the use of examples from real-life situations, for example using information from newspapers or local shops. Calculators may be used for handling larger numbers but children should be encouraged to make decisions about when they need to use them and to be confident in their use. This is where their developing estimation skills will be important.

Where computers are available they will be of great assistance in cross-curricular projects for data representation and interpretation and as a basis for drawing conclusions based on data collected.

Work on simple percentages and their relationship to fractions and decimals can be related to examples of their practical use in the environment and in advertising. Numbers should be kept small and simple to encourage consolidation of concepts.

Work on shape and space should, where possible, involve handling and manipulating shapes.

Individual difference

The content of the mathematics curriculum is sequential and dependent on knowledge gained at each level. This needs careful planning, as children acquire the requisite skills in different ways and at their own individual pace. In planning a sequence of lessons on a topic the teacher must first assess the readiness levels of the children. This can be done by giving a pre-test or when doing revision. The information gained can be used to group the children where necessary. Periods of direct whole class instruction can follow, with the children contributing to blackboard or overhead projector work at their own level. Emphasis should be placed on the quality of the contributions, for example how they arrived at a conclusion, how some children found a different method, summarising what has been done, or identifying strategies that might be useful in approaching a task.

Games can be very useful in mathematics. Card and dice games can reinforce number recognition and help in the development of strategies. They also encourage co-operation and turn-taking. These activities should be structured by the teacher, and he/she can discuss with the children why they chose to play the game a certain way. Older children can design their own board games.