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Here at Highfield Hall we encourage our children to investigate and explore in maths. We use lots of concrete resources and real-life experiences to enable children to fully engage in maths and understand the concepts they encounter. This is an approach recommended by maths specialists and consultants across the globe to enable children to fully understand key underlying principles. In this way we are ensuring children learn through understanding and experience. 


"All our experience and what we learn from research indicate that learning based on understanding is more enduring, more psychologically satisfying and more useful in practice than learning based mainly on the rehearsal of recipes and routines low in meaningfulness." Derek Haylock and Anne Cockburn

We have been learning all about numbers and what they mean. We thought about what we saw in our heads when we thought of a number and talked about what numbers mean to us. We made numbers in lots of different ways and explored how numbers are different. We explored questions such as "What does 5 mean?" and "How are 5 and 7 different?"  We chose which resources we wanted to use to show our thinking and to explore numbers further. 


The children have been subitising, which is looking at a small amount of objects and seeing how many is there without counting. So for example when they see 5 counters, they may see all 5 straight away or they may see 3 and a 2. This is helping the children to realise that smaller numbers add together to make up bigger numbers and also they do not need to rely on counting to see how many objects are in front of them. 

Singapore Bar Model

We have started learning about the bar model and how we can use this to represent addition. We used number facts we have already learnt to start thinking about how we can add parts together to make a whole! We are really good at our number bonds to 10 so we used raisins to make a bar model of number bonds to 10. We then found all the ways you can make 10 with 2 parts and wrote the numbers to show the size of each part and the whole. We did this really well and had lots of fun!

Using raisins to make part, part, whole bar models of number bonds to 10.

Now that we are beginning to understand part, part, whole we have been using cubes and whiteboards to show how numbers can pair together to make 10. We really understand our number bonds to 10 and this has helped us to be sure our work is accurate. We love learning in maths and are very good at organising resources to help us learn.
On Pirate Day, we used what we knew about part, part, whole to decorate our biscuits. The children decided in pairs how to share out their whole number into two parts. Some children decided to divide their smarties equally so that it was fair. Once we had divided our smarties and decorated our biscuits we then thought about the whole. Each decorated biscuit was a part, the parts came together to make the whole. We looked at each biscuit and told each other how many was in each part e.g. 2 smarties in one part and 8 smarties in another part and we found the 'whole' was 10. We love maths and we are all so good at it!

We are doing a history of maths week across school. Year One decided to look at how numbers began. Why are they important? What would happen if we didn't have numbers and couldn't count? We thought about how we use numbers to measure time and so we couldn't have birthdays or Christmas. We wouldn't know how old we were or how long until dinner. There are so many things we use numbers for; maths is part of everything we do!

There were times long ago in history where numbers didn't exist and we thought about how people would have managed. We went outside to gather sticks to make a fire. Miss Holden told us to gather sticks but couldn't tell us when we had the right amount as numbers didn't exist. Cavemen simply knew when they had 'enough' so Miss Holden could only say if we had enough, too many or too few. Eventually we all had enough sticks to make the perfect fire. It took a very long time for everyone to gather just the right amount of sticks because we didn't have numbers. This really made us think about how important numbers are and why having a common system is valuable. We also had lots of fun!

We compared our sticks with those our friends collected. We found it difficult to compare accurately when we just put them in piles or in lines - it wasn't always easy to see who had more. We thought we needed to use something to help us and decided ten frames would make it clearer. We used caveman stones (chalk) to draw our own ten frames and then placed our sticks in them. We then were able to see who had more/fewer sticks to make their fire with. We were also easily able to subitize and could say how many we had each got.

On Thursday 23rd November, a strange thing happened...a box mysteriously appeared in our classroom. There were also sticks. We think a caveman magically left a challenge for us. We had to collect clues and find a code to open the locked box. The caveman had left pairs of ten frames outside our classroom. We used addition to create 6 numbers. Once we had collected all the numbers we tried to open the box using the numbers in the order we found them but it didn't work. O suggested that maybe the numbers "have to be in a special order like on my mum's phone!" We all worked in pairs to select the correct number cards and create a sequence to try. O said "I have put my numbers so they get smaller!" We tried this code and it didn't work. All the children then decided they would think about meaningful sequences and ordered their numbers from smallest to biggest. We all had the same code so we tried again and ... IT WORKED! Inside was a cave painting and a sweet treat! What an exciting day we had!

Throughout Spring 1, year one have spent a great deal of time working on counting in steps of 2, 5 and 10. To provide a purpose for this learning we have been looking at multiples and groups of 2, 5 and 10.  We have done this in a very practical way and linked to our topic of fairy tales when solving problems and reasoning.