Maths tips

Maths Tips: General

– Annotate the question.

– Check they know the key words.

– Check they know the processes they need to use.

– Do a simple example first.

– Use real life examples that are relevant to their experience.

– Get it off the page, and make it visual/use objects to demonstrate.

– Ask your mentee to show you what they DO know.

– Practise on a white board – it is easier to have a go and make mistakes.

– Write out the stages of the answer and label the outcomes.

– Write the answer with gaps for your mentee to complete.

– Ask your mentee to tell you what to do and you write.

– Write a “wrong” answer and get them to correct it.

– Do a harder one together and then set them some easier examples.

Ask children who are getting started with a piece of work:

– How are you going to tackle this?
– What information do you have? What do you need to find out or do?
– What operation/s are you going to use?
– Will you do it mentally, with pencil and paper, using a number line, with a calculator…? Why?
– What method are you going to use? Why?
– What equipment will you need?
– What questions will you need to ask?
– How are you going to record what you are doing?
– What do you think the answer or result will be?
– Can you estimate or predict?

Make positive interventions to check progress while children are working:

– Can you explain what you have done so far?
– What else is there to do?
– Why did you decide to use this method or do it this way?
– Can you think of another method that might have worked?
– Could there be a quicker way of doing this?
– What do you mean by…?
– What did you notice when…?
– Why did you decide to organise your results like that?
– Are you beginning to see a pattern or a rule?
– Do you think that this would work with other numbers?
– Have you thought of all the possibilities? How can you be sure?

Ask children who are stuck:

– Can you describe the problem in your own words?
– Can you talk me through what you have done so far?
– What did you do last time? What is different this time?
– Is there something that you already know that might help?
– Could you try it with simpler numbers… fewer numbers… using a number line…?
– What about putting things in order?
– Would a table help, or a picture/diagram/graph?
– Why not make a guess and check if it works?
– Have you compared your work with anyone else’s?

At the end ask:

– How did you get your answer?
– Can you describe your method/pattern/rule at all? Can you explain why it works?
– What could you try next?
– Would it work with different numbers?
– What if you had started with… rather than…?
– What if you could only use…?
– Is it a reasonable answer/result? What makes you say so?
– How did you check it?
– What have you learned or found out today?
– If you were doing it again, what would you do differently?
– Having done this, when could you use this method/information/idea again?
– Did you use any new words today? What do they mean? How do you spell them?
– What are the key points or ideas that you need to remember for the next lesson?