REAL LIFE Maths Challenges

Welcome back!

Hopefully this is the start of a regular, MAGIC MATHS blog. At least, that’s the plan for this year! Promoting what we are doing @StPaulsSalford – the exciting teaching and learning that is going on … the 21st Century teaching and learning that we are delivering and experiencing everyday!

This week in Year 6 we had a go at ‘practically’ applying our numeracy knowledge and the learning that they have experienced. I divided the class into 4 equal groups and assigned each table a task that they had the undertake – How many children could fit into our playground? How much material would it take to cover the Year 6 building (yes! we do have a self-contained unit for Y6 … very lucky!) and if you were given a ¬£200 budget, how much and which flowers and plants would you buy for the school!

During the challenge, it may have seemed at a distance that the children were just talking and walking around school, yet on closer inspection the thinking skills and vocabulary bouncing around the groups made me believe in the importance and benefits¬†of the task. Most groups struggled to provide a definite answer by the end of the lesson, yet much learning took place. Children experienced calculating area for REAL – a practical activity that will hopefully provide a ‘hook’ for later lessons. Measuring for REAL – as you would in REAL LIFE! Making mistakes and thinking for themselves!

I believe that we instruct the children too much. We provide the equipment for them, give them very little thinking time and eventually tell them how to solve the question. We allow the children in Early Years and KS1 to explore and experiment – why does this learning style change the older they become? This was the first time that I have experimented with this ‘free-rein / DIY’ lesson – yet with structure, safety and clear expectations I’m confident that this will become the most enjoyable lesson of the week – with the most benefit!

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How many children can fit on 1 flag? So how many on 66?


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