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Mathematics and Numeracy

  • The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics

    — Paul Halmos

    Numeracy and mathematics is an essential element of everyday life.

    In St Columba’s, we aim to give all children a positive and fun experience of Mathematics based firmly around the aims of the Revised Northern Ireland curriculum. Mathematics is taught through the 5 key areas of the Northern Ireland curriculum – Number, Shape and Space, Measures, Data Handling and Processes.   All key areas of numeracy interrelate, with processes in mathematics pervading all key areas.

  • Mathematics across the curriculum

    During play based learning in the foundation stage, activity based learning in Key stage 1 and topic based teaching in Key stage 2, children in St Columba’s have the opportunity to engage in a wide range of purposeful activities which involves them in different modes of mathematical learning including playing, exploring and investigating, doing and observing, talking and listening, asking questions, reflecting, drafting, reading and recording. These activities also encourage the development of thinking skills and personal capabilities as well as mathematical skills and mental strategies.

  • Mental Maths

    Mental maths is essential because it lays the foundation for more complex maths. In St Columba’s, mental maths activities occur on a daily basis. During mental maths sessions, children are given the opportunity to develop mental maths strategies. These range from counting on and back, re-ordering, inverse-operations, rounding and adjusting, partitioning, using known facts, factors and equivalence. These mental maths sessions aim to provide children with practical opportunities to learn Maths facts along with a deep understanding of number and they way they relate to each other. A different mental maths strategy is focused on weekly.

  • Numeracy Resources

    We use a range of different practical resources eg Numicon, Diennes and Cuisenaire to help children develop a solid understanding of number.   Last year, £2500 was spent on the Numicon resources and over £8000 was spent on maths resources to help facilitate the teaching of numeracy in the school. Our maths co-ordinator attended training in Belfast on the Numicom resource. She then delivered training to all staff members so that the resource is being used effectively to enhance pupils understanding of numeracy. We also use an online Maths resource called ‘Alta Maths’ to help children consolidate their math’s learning both at home and at school.

    Numeracy lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of all our children. Last year, time was dedicated to the development of Numeracy planning to ensure all planning was up to date with curricular developments and that all learning styles and needs were being catered for. Numeracy progress is monitored and tracked carefully across the school. Parents are kept informed of progress through parent teaching meetings in November and end of year reports. We also offer ‘booster group’ sessions for any children who would benefit from additional help.

  • Numeracy and ICT

    ICT plays a significant role in Numeracy. Using the Interactive Whiteboards, class PCs, laptops and the school Ipads, we are confident that these latest technologies are enhancing the teaching and learning of Mathematics for all our pupils. We use many websites, programs and apps to facilitate and enhance the teaching of numeracy for our children.

    Celebrating Maths

    When the opportunity arises, we like to celebrate all things numeracy in St Columba’s. In June we had a ‘Mad Maths Week’. During this week each class took part in lots of fun, practical maths activities. P5 and P6 travelled to the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady to see ’Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries’. The children were amazed and dazzled by this mind-blowing production which showed that understanding maths can be fun!

    All classes were treated to a performance from Quantum Theatre, London. Their play ‘The Miscalculation of Cap’n Half-Inch’ saw the pirates hunt for lost treasure found only by solving a series of mathematical problems. Lots of areas of numeracy were covered in the play including place value, addition, subtraction, times tables, fractions and decimals.