Maths Stories 1

Pre-school we started working with number informally with Dd from just about the time she could talk. We got a tape of times tables when she was 3 and she learnt them as songs. However being fascinated by patterns she has since then started to spot the patterns in the tables and now (at 5+) she has an understanding of what they can be used for and she can use over half the tables up to 10 with increasing confidence. We did simple adding with her from age 2+. She quickly grasped adding any two numbers up to 10 using fingers. Then it has been a natural progression to adding bigger numbers. Now she can do doubles and near doubles and add a single digit number onto a two digit number.

We bought cuisenaire rods when Dd was 2. We also bought a set of rods (larger scale) which go 10 1-9 2-8 etc and fit into a wooden square. Dd used to love making patterns of all sorts with these at age two. She quickly saw how all the pairs made 10. With cuisenaire rods she made all sorts of patterns from 2+ We have always used them as a toy, letting her initiate the games, though sometimes playing alongside and setting a pattern to see if she would notice and join in.

For telling the time we did invest in an ELC clock that counts out the minutes around its edge as well as the hours. However Dd showed no interest in learning to read a clock face! She would recognise the numbers on a digital clock, often grouping them incorrectly (e.g. 7:30 would be 73 0!. (Sadly) what has motivated her to learn to tell the time has been on-screen programme guide with digital TV which we got last November. She has learnt how to look up her favourite programmes and see what time they come on and then goes to the clock to see how long before they start! It just goes to show that when the motivation comes from within they find a way!

Shape work began with the shape sorter she had at 1 year. We have always used the correct names for shapes so she picked up the language early on. My Dh often sits down with her now and does a ‘lesson’ about shapes and he will go through regular polygons, their names, number of sides, drawing them, where are the right angles. Dd seems to love this and is quite happy for him to initiate the learning.

This is how we introduced odd and even numbers… House numbers! We moved from a village to a city when Dd was 2 1/2. Fairly soon she could count both up and down in odd or even numbers because we did it while walking around the streets. There are no end of opportunities to use maths when you’re
out and about.

Susan, from the MuddlePuddle list. Thank you Susan!!!!