The teaching of numeracy in primary schools


The National Numeracy Strategy has placed mathematics high on the educational docket. The Strategy came approximately as the consequence of a organic structure of grounds elicited from research, school reviews and trials which identified a demand in the UK to raise criterions in Numeracy ( The National Numeracy Strategy, 1999, p.2 ) .

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‘Numeracy is a life accomplishment. Without basic Numeracy skills our kids will be disadvantaged throughout life.’ ( David Blunkett: Secretary of State for Education and Employment, March 1999, foreward to the National Numeracy Strategy Document. ) .

The authorities has funded The National Numeracy Strategy so that schools can work toward authorities marks for attainment in mathematics. The government’s mark was that 75 % of 11 twelvemonth olds would achieve at least flat 4 in mathematics trials. All schools Are now expected to supply a structured day-to-day mathematics lesson of between 45 proceedingss and an hr for all students of primary school age. Focus countries for learning include whole category direct instruction, unwritten work and mental procedures in mathematics, all of which should be incorporated into lessons.

What is Numeracy?

Numeracy is a proficiency which involves assurance and competency with Numberss and steps ( National Numeracy Strategy, 1999, p.4 ) . The National Numeracy Strategy papers goes on to state that numerically competent persons require an apprehension of the figure system, a repertory of computational accomplishments and the disposition and ability to work out jobs in a assortment of contexts. The Strategy papers besides highlights the fact that Numeracy is a practical accomplishment, encountered in day-to-day life and therefore a practical apprehension of the presentation of Numberss and informations is of import.

The Passage from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1:

The passage signifier response to twelvemonth one can be a hard one for kids. There is non so much flexibleness for them to prosecute in free drama, the twenty-four hours is more structured and frequently longer. Before kids enter cardinal phase one schoolroom they have a batch of mathematical cognition on which the instructor can construct ( Anning & A ; Edwards,1999, p.116 ) . The accommodation can be difficult for kids as there is a more formal attack to the instruction and acquisition, there is more recording and instructors are under force per unit area because of twelvemonth 2 trials bearing down on them.

Pound suggests that we should guarantee larning environments for immature kids which:

  • Respect and acknowledge their anterior experiences
  • Ensure a rich scope of experiences which open their bodeies and head s to new possibilities
  • Promote inclusive interaction
  • Allow kids to experience safe plenty to make bold to take hazards and do errors
  • Make kids brooding and cognizant of their ain acquisition
  • Give them tools for believing

( Pound, 2003, p.23 )

An effectual instructor using this political orientation can do smooth the passage from foundation phase to twelvemonth one.

Purposes of this Paper:

This paper presents be aftering for a week’s mathematics learning with a twelvemonth one category together with a principle explicating the planning. The Focus is job work outing affecting money. The National Numeracy Strategy sets out the following purposes for kids in twelvemonth one in regard of job work outing in mathematics:

Childs in twelvemonth one should be able to:

  • Make determinations:
  • Choose and utilize appropriate figure operations and mental schemes to work out jobs.

Problems affecting existent life, money or steps

  • Use mental schemes to work out simple jobs set in ‘real life’ , money ( or measuring ) contexts, utilizing numeration, add-on, minus, duplicating and halving, explicating methods and concluding orally.
  • Recognise coins of different values.

Find sums and alteration from up to 20p.

Work out how to pay an exact amount utilizing smaller coins.

( National Numeracy Strategy, p.7 )

Mental Mathematicss:

The National Curriculum suggests that children’s written work in mathematics should “support” or “relate” to their mental work ( Thompson, 2001, p.105 ) . Thompson goes on to asseverate that in order to achieve this, instructors need to alter their schoolroom patterns slightly, in peculiar to raise the profile of mental mathematics. Children should be utilizing their mental schemes as a “first resort” as proposed in the National Curriculum Council Guidance 1989 ( cited in Thompson, 2001, p.105 ) . When kids have good appreciation of mental constructs and techniques this enables them to near written undertakings with higher grades of assurance.


In the early phases of development kids begin to larn to number by indicating. As they progress they are able to number from other topographic points in a concatenation or figure line and get down to develop schemes of numbering on and numbering back. Research has suggested that this is non a individual activity but involves a assortment of overlapping developments in verbal, motor and cognitive abilities that become incorporate with each other over clip ( Munn, 2001, p.10 ) . Teaching in the context of money is able to ease this is in a differentiated manner for kids as they can get down to number in 2, fives, 10s etc utilizing the appropriate coins.

Development of Problem Solving Ability in Mathematicss:

The Year One mathematics programme sees the debut of formal and abstract constructs. It remains really of import, nevertheless, to let kids as much entree as possible to concrete stuffs in order to further the development of these constructs.

The focal point of mathematics is switching from the direction of algorithms and simple calculation to the direction of job work outing accomplishments, including the direction of schemes for job resolution ( Carr & A ; Hettinger, 2003, p34 ) . The development of these higher order accomplishments in mathematics must foremost be embedded in practical experiences and unwritten mathematics to give kids chances to work things out through test and mistake followed by chances to explicate and speak about the schemes they have used.

There is strong grounds to propose that that activities that go on in the formal school puting have small relevancy to the universe exterior and that accomplishments are non easy transferred. In Nuneset Al.survey of Brazilian kids who worked as street bargainers, the kids displayed a singular arithmetic ability in the context of their street stables, but this was shown non to reassign to the schoolroom context ( Nunes et al. 1993, cited in Aubrey, C, 2001, p.20 ) . The challenge for instructors is to do their instruction effectual and movable. Teaching money is a good illustration of this. It is of import that the accomplishments developed in school are movable for the kids – that they are able to travel into a existent store and cipher their alteration. Reading has been cited as a job in regard of job work outing peculiarly in low income households where these kids do non execute every bit good as their equals in “story” roblems ( Jordanet Al.,2006 ) .

Research refering to job resolution has shown that there can be broad fluctuations in the attacks same age kids use to work out jobs proposing that instructors should be more flexible in the schemes they require kids to utilize ( Carr & A ; Hattinger,2003, p.60 ) . This adds weight to the benefit of the plenary session where kids have an chance to discourse and develop their schemes for job resolution.

Addition and minus schemes:

These are the schemes that kids will use in the context of the present set of lessons. Early add-on schemes utilize external representations including numbering all in which the kid represents each figure in the job, counts each set and so counts both sets together ( Carr & A ; Hettinger, 2003, p.35 ) . Clearly this is the phase where the operation is concrete and kids use stuffs to ease their computations.

As kids advancement, mental schemes take on an progressively of import function with adding on being used in regard of add-on and numbering back in regard of minus. Children usually begin with concrete stuffs such as counters until they develop the assurance to work mentally.

Children come to school with a assortment of schemes at their disposal. As mathematical consciousness and competency develop, kids become more discerning in regard of their schemes are able to take the most appropriate scheme for the job in manus.

Educational theoreticians have, in recent old ages, been trying to find the factors that influence children’s acquisition of schemes. Research on schemes is an of import tool in giving penetration into the ways kids organise and utilize information. Schemes formed in early acquisition organize the footing for developing the schemes that will be used throughout school and beyond. Research workers are merely get downing to happen out how schemes develop as a map of single differences in working memory, contextual influences, sphere cognition, eloquence and job construction ( Carr & A ; Hettinger, 2003, p.34 ) .


Resources for learning constructs in the context of money are of import as they enable kids to develop their schemes in existent life footings before traveling to the abstract. The followers is a description of two resources which will be used during the class of the instruction, one relating to mental maths and the other a practical investigative activity, and the impact that they will hold on the children’s acquisition.

Mental and Oral Mathematicss:

For the mental/oral maths each twenty-four hours I intend to utilize “follow me” cards for coins. Each card will be a representation of a amount of money made up of two or more coins. The cards are shuffled and given out is that each kid has two cards in forepart of him/her. One of the cards is the start card. The kid with the start card reads:

“I have 5p – follow me if you have 3p more. The kid who had 8p reads his/her card and boy on.

a ) The kids remain involved in the game because they do non cognize when their card is traveling to come up so they need to remain focused. If a kid has no cards left, he/she can take a brother to assist place the coins on their cards if other kids are holding trouble. As clip advancements and kids become more confident, a set of cards can be given to each group and the groups can play in competition with each other.

B ) The “follow me” game facilitates larning as kids must execute a computation sing an sum more or less than the old card each clip in order to work out if theirs is the mark card. It besides helps to familiarize kids with coins up to 20 pence.

degree Celsius ) The kids are able to visualize the calculation because the coins are printed on the cards giving them a ocular cue if they require one.

vitamin D ) Each clip kids have to execute a computation within 20p utilizing the vocabulary more than/less than.

vitamin E ) The game provides a context for the application of practical accomplishments as the kids can utilize the linguistic communication when they go to the category store. At the terminal of the game the kids can work out how much alteration they would hold from 20p if they spent their sum in the store.

Practical Mathematicss:

Children will be look intoing ways of doing amounts of money – for illustration, ways of doing 12p. This is an activity which can easy be differentiated so that it is suited for all abilities in the category with all kids able to see success.

  1. Childs are kept involved in the undertaking as they are seeking to happen as many ways as they can for doing the mark sum.
  2. Childs are larning a figure of accomplishments and constructs through this activity. They are larning about equality in the context of money, for illustration 3x2p coins is the same as 6x1p coins.

Some kids will utilize this activity for developing a scheme to cover all the substitutions, for illustration, utilizing the big coins foremost or all the little coins foremost.

  1. Childs can visualize operations because they can see the coins in forepart of

them. They can visualize thoughts such as 5 pennies is the same as a 5p coin and so on.

  1. Childs can use computations to work out how much still needs to be added to do the mark sum. They can look into thoughts such as whether they can make this with a individual coin or a figure of coins and if so which combination of coins will they need to utilize.
  2. The probe provides a existent life context because the kids can utilize the coins in the category store when giving alteration, for illustration, when giving person alteration how many ways can they acquire the alteration. What is the smallest number/ largest figure of coins the client can have? Can alter be given utilizing merely copper/ Ag coins?

This unfastened ended attack to job work outing gives kids tonss of chances to develop their linguistic communication and to speak about their schemes. It can be used for kids of all degrees in the category, facilitates the development of speaking and listening and can be used to integrate ICT, through the usage of the electronic hard currency registry. Children can widen their money work to informations managing by utilizing Carroll diagrams for screening coins utilizing a assortment of standards.


Assessment is a critical facet of the instruction procedure but it has to be about more than informations aggregation. Assessment finds its strength when it is used as a tool to inform subsequent instruction and acquisition. It serves non merely as a mechanism for happening out who learned what but can place constructs which are non by and large cemented and hence form whole category learning points that need to be revisited.

Short-run appraisals:

These are an informal portion of each lesson. Their intents are to:

  • Check that kids have grasped the chief instruction points in a peculiar lesson or unit of work, whether they have any misinterpretations that you need to set right, and whether they are ready to travel on to the following activity.
  • Check that kids are retrieving figure facts and can utilize mental computation schemes.
  • Give you information which will assist you adjust daily lesson programs and brief any support staff or grownup assistants about which kids to help and how to help them.

( National Numeracy Strategy, p.33 )

The short term appraisal in this context will come from teacher observation during the undertakings and the children’s responses in the plenary session at the terminal of each lesson. Children will be given an chance to speak about what they feel has gone good and what they feel they need some more aid with. If facets of the programme necessitate farther consolidation before traveling on so this will clearly inform the remainder of the week’s instruction program.

Average Term Assessment:

This will come at the terminal of the series of lessons. Its chief intent is to concentrate on any facets which the instructor is diffident about. The focal point of these is chiefly to:

  • Review and enter the advancement kids are doing over clip in relation to the cardinal aims, what they know and can make, whether they can use their accomplishments in a new context, and whether any failings remain ;
  • Identify children’s advancement against specific single marks, including those in IEPs, so they you can give them and their parents feedback and put new marks ;
  • Aid you to be after work over the following half term ;
  • Supply you with information to feed into end-of-year appraisals.

( National Numeracy Strategy, p.34 ) .

The purposes for appraisal in regard of this series of lessons will be to determine if kids have met the success standards in regard of job work outing utilizing money. By the terminal of the instruction programme kids will hold been successful if they can:

  • Name all the coins up to and including 20p
  • Display an apprehension that amounts of money can be made and alter can be given in a assortment of ways.
  • Use the arithmetic operations of add-on and minus to job work outing refering to money to cipher sums and sums of alteration.
  • Efficaciously verbalise the schemes they have used in relation to job work outing in money.
  • Use their vocabulary to put their ain jobs associating to money.

Children will be assessed utilizing three activities:

1.Children will be asked to develop their ain follow me card game. This will show that they are able to execute the computations in sequence to right explicate the game.

2.Children will be asked to finish some jobs associating to money independently. This will show their usage of schemes such as numbering on and numbering back.

3. Children will play a mental maths game called conjecture the coins. One kid will take two coins which are unknown to the remainder of the group. The other kids will hold to think the coins but will merely be able to make so if they use effectual mathematical linguistic communication refering to money, for illustration, do you hold any Ag coins? , is your entire less than 10p? and so on.


If the most powerful influence on children’s figure development is formal schooling, so the duty must lie with category instructors to guarantee kids learn figure accomplishments exhaustively and in appropriate contexts in school ( Aubrey, 2001, p.29 ) .The function of the instructor is to move as a facilitator in the acquistion of the accomplishments that kids need in order to hold a confident and competent appreciation of mathematical issues and constructs. Lessons should be crisp in their focal point with clear shared acquisition purposes that give intent to the lesson and ends to the scholar. Each lesson should stop with a plenary session which forms the footing for appraisal with an chance for treatment, the procedure through which kids can believe about, talk about and measure their acquisition. A chief push of the teacher’s function is to breed in students the ability to ground independently in mathematics therefore developing the kid as job convergent thinker.

Numeracy accomplishments do non stand entirely and it is of import to capitalize and develop chances for cross curricular instruction and acquisition. The incorporation of emergent engineerings is besides of import in the development of a comprehensive experience and apprehension in mathematics.

All instruction and acquisition in mathematics should be an synergistic experience, with students actively engaged in the acquisition procedure and developing accomplishments they can reassign beyond the schoolroom.


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