Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Handy Maths

Handy ways to do Maths
I have used “hands” with students who are just learning their number bonds, 3 and 4 times table as well as the higher 6x 7x 8x and 9x tables.  The” hands” have been really useful with individual students who are not very confident mathematicians; providing a prompt that helps them gain confidence as well as fluency.

You can use these strategies with just your fingers or making the hands in advance.  Remember not to stick the fingers down so that they can be manipulated easily.  (When I have used just fingers some individual students have found it useful to use finger puppets or pieces of tack to identify the finger as holding a finger or fingers down is tricky for them).  However I feel that the student gains valuable practice in developing their fine motor skills by drawing around their own hands, cutting them out and creating their own prompt.  Increasingly, teachers are finding that their students, even those in years 5 and 6, lack experience in cutting and struggle with this skill.

Number Bonds 

Encourage the student to think about what they need to make 10 if they have 3 and to record their answers.  You can give them missing number sums to complete e.g. 3 +    = 10. In addition, you can ask them to write down all the ways that they can think of to make 10 using addition and subtraction.

Three Times and Four Times Tables

Using the natural three sections of their fingers the student can work out sums such as 7 x 3 by having seven fingers up and three down and counting the sections.  Gradually they recognise the 3 6 9 etc are at the finger tips and become quicker at counting in threes and at the same time gain a quicker recall and fluency in the three times table.  The same approach is used for the four times table but the palm is used to create a fourth section.

Nine Times Tables
This is a method that is quite well known and again really supports students in learning and recalling the 9 times table with confidence and fluency. 
The photo below gives the example of 3 x 9 or 9 x 3.  The strategy works by putting down the third finger.  If we were answering 7 x 9 the seventh finger would be placed down.
Then count in multiples of 10 until you reach the finger that is down.  In the example, there are two fingers so we would count 10, 20.
Once you reach the “down” finger, count in ones until you reach the last finger.  In this example you would count ...  21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 27.  The final number is your answer.  3 x 9 = 27 and 9 x 3 = 27.

Multiplying by 6, 7, 8 and 9
NB: when making this prompt use split pins so that the hand and fingers can swivel into the correct position.

Many of my students find recalling the multiples between 5 and 10 tricky e.g. 6 x 7, 8 x 8 etc and lack confidence in their ability to recall these independently.  Using this strategy builds their confidence; at the same time it gives them practice in using the 2x 3x and 4x tables.  Some of my students needed lots of reinforcement with this strategy initially but once they understood it, it did support them in learning their tables and recalling facts quickly. 
As you can see from the photo, each finger has a number.  With palms facing up, the thumbs are 10, the “pointy” fingers are 9, and middle fingers are 8, the “ring” fingers are 7 and the little“pinkie" fingers 6.
To find a sum such as that in the photo 9 x 8 you would put a 9 finger with an eight finger.  Now count those fingers and those below in 10s.  In the photo you see that this is 7 – 7 x10 = 70. 
Look at the fingers above where the two fingers are touching and multiple the number of fingers on the left hand with the number of fingers on the right, or vice versa.  In the photo this is 1 x 2 = 2.
Finally add the multiples of 10 to the multiplication answer to get the answer. 70 + 2 = 72.  The answer to 9x8 = 72

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