# Monthly Archives: May 2020

## Maths by Month – June (updated 2020)

The final month of the school year is almost upon us, and as usual, this heralds the last installment in this year’s series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis.

As teachers and families, around the country, continue to support children via distance learning, we have continued to roll out our latest series of posts entitled Dear Family. Each of these posts focuses on a specific maths topic, and provide practical suggestions as to how families can support their child’s learning, along with providing tried and tested links to useful digital resources. We hope that, in some small way, they may prove to be beneficial, both now, and in the future.

The posts in the Dear Family series published to date, focused on the topics of weight, capacity, 2-D shapes3-D objects, number sentences and equations, money and chance. Some of these topics also feature in the plans for this coming month (see below). The next Dear Family posts, currently in development, will focus on the topics of time, patterns and lines and angles.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month or Dear Family blog-posts, please subscribe to the Operation Maths blog via email, on the top right hand of this page.
Another way to keep up to date an all new maths-related developments is to like/follow the Edco Primary Maths page on Facebook and/or Twitter

Please feel free to share any of the Operation Maths blog posts with colleagues and members of your school community, including parents and families, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

Book lists not finalised yet? Please consider Operation MathsNumber Facts, Bua na Cainte, Exploring Spelling, Let’s Talk Literacy, Explore with Me and My Learner ID. Click on the links for more information and to view sample pages from each program and/or contact your local Edco reps for samples.

### Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

• Junior Infants: will be reinforcing their understanding of the numbers 0-5 via the topic of money.
• Senior Infants: Further Counting and Numeration, Comparing and Ordering and Combining and Partitioning of numbers to 10; patterns (different arrays of the same number, colour patterns, number patterns, odd and even numbers); time (one-hour intervals).
• First Class: Weight; Patterns; 3-D objects (in particular, connecting their understanding of 3-D objects to their understanding of 2-D shapes)
• Second Class:  More Place Value to 199; Area; Lines and Angles (revisiting half turns and quarter turns)
• Third to sixth classes: Operation Maths 3-6 is specifically structured so that the programme can be completed by the end of May, thus covering all of the topics in advance of the standardised testing.
Depending on your own specific school circumstances, you may find yourself looking for inspiration to fill the maths lessons from now until the end of month. Whether you’re an Operation Maths user or not, there are a whole suite of suitable ideas on this blog post.

Operation Maths users can also access custom-made digital resources to support these topics. To access these resources, log into your account at www.edcolearning.ie, select the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level. Then you can either:

• Navigate to the relevant page in the book and click on the hyperlink to open up the specific activity for that page in a new tab.
• Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side) to open the list of all the digital resources associated with that book.

### Other suggestions for June:

• Maths outside: typically this is the time of the year when teachers are bringing their classes outdoors for learning. Since the children are at home, longing to get into the outdoors, why not encourage them to safely do some of these activities, with their families, while on their outdoor walks.
• Outdoor Classroom Day 2020 was officially celebrated on May 21. If you missed this day, you can still access their resources with suggestions for all subject areas, including maths, https://outdoorclassroomday.com/.
• Maths Around Us activity ideas in your Operation Maths book and/or the the Maths Around Us videos accessible at https://www.edcolearning.ie/

We’re here to help!
If you have any questions on Operation Maths, Number Facts or anything related to primary maths over the course of the school year, please PM or contact Edco Primary Maths via Facebook and/or Twitter

## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Chance

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of chance (for 3rd-6th classes only), as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about chance. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

#### Understanding Chance

Chance is one of the most interesting, and fun, areas of primary maths, since it is mostly about probability, i.e. identifying the possible outcome(s) of random events. In school, the children are furst introduced to chance in school, where we use language such as impossible, (highly) unlikely, may or may not, possible, (highly) likely, certain, etc., to describe the likelihood of events occurring.

Children in 5th and 6th classes are also encouraged to use more mathematical ways, including using fractions, decimals and percentages, to express probability and predict the likelihood of something happening e.g. 100% certain, a 1 in 4 chance, 50/50, etc.

However, it is also important that the children realise that, no matter how accurate a mathematical prediction, the actual outcome(s) is not certain (except in the unlikely case where there is only one possible outcome); that is the element of chance! For example, when I toss a six-sided dice, each number has a equal chance of coming up. Therefore, if I do this repeatedly for a number of times, I could expect to see equal occurrences of each number. Yet that might not happen in reality! But, it is most often the case, that if you repeat this type of investigation enough times, the actual results WILL end up being very close to the predicted outcomes. In other words, the more you do something, the more likely it will happen as predicted.

Many of the activities in the Operation Maths books are specifically designed to explore and investigate this. So try them and see!

#### Practical Suggestions for all Children

• With your children, talk about ‘chance’ whenever you have the chance (excuse the pun!):
• What is the chance that you’ll go to school today?
• What is the chance that you’ll get homework today?
• What is the chance that you’ll get to watch TV or get to play computer games?
• What is the chance that it will be warm tomorrow, that it will rain, that it will snow?
• What factors affect the likelihood of these events occurring? For example, the day that it is, the time of year, whether the child has done their chores etc.
• Encourage your children to use chance words as accurately as possible, especially the words impossible and certain. For example:
• On a sunny day, what is the chance of rain? Unlikely or highly unlikely you could say, but it wouldn’t be correct to say impossible, because anything is possible!
• On a day when you have organised to do something e.g. go shopping, what is the chance of it happening? Likely or highly likely, because it is already organised, but it is not certain, because again anything could happen to disrupt the well-made plans, like the car mightn’t start.
• If I toss a 6-sided dice once, what is the chance of getting a 7? Now that’s impossible! What is the chance of getting a number from 1 to 6? That is certain!
• Children in 5th and 6th should be encouraged to also use fractions, decimals and percentages to express probability e.g. 100% certain, a 1 in 4 chance, 50/50, etc.
• Many games are designed around random outcomes so play board games, card games, dice games, any type of game where you can’t know from the outset who will definitely be the winner! Ask the children before you play, and as you play, who do they think will win and why; perhaps somebody in the family is a dab hand at rolling sixes, is a card shark or after a number of turns is already way ahead of everybody else. At the end of the game did that person win? Perhaps, on this occasion, a person was dealt “bad” cards, or the dice didn’t fall as hoped for, or another player caught up and overtook the early leader. Or maybe not! Experiences like this, help the children appreciate how lots of different factors can influence and affect an outcome, and that they can predict winners or outcomes based on the best information that they have at the time, but that the predicted outcome may or may not materialise.
• Study the weather! Look at the sky and discuss the chances of rain, sun, snow, lightning etc. Look up Met Éireann’s website to find out the weather forecast for your area and then, afterwards, discuss whether the predicted weather arrived. Again, while meteorology, the study of weather, is a science in itself, it is still involves using the best scientific information available at the time to predict the weather, which, in the end, may or may not happen.
• Sport provides us with an abundance of opportunities to discuss chance:
• What are the chances of a particular team or individual winning a game, match, fight, competition or race?
• Before the event could you predict an outcome?
• What information about the competitors or teams might be useful to influence this predication?
• Draw the children’s attention to any other situation where chance plays a role e.g. the chances of winning a raffle or the lottery.

#### Digital Resources for Third & Fourth Classes

Interactive online chance tools: No dice at home? Don’t want to have to make up a spinner? There are lots of interactive tools and random chance games here.

What are the odds? Interactive dice simulator, choose from 12, 20 or 30-sided dice, simulate making hundreds of rolls at once, and log the results automatically for analysis. Or just use it to play games!

FCPS – Probability: A series of instructional videos for Grades 3 and 4. The videos for Grade 3 cover how to Describe all Possible Outcomes (video 1), Justify Likelihood of Outcomes (video 2), Real Life Scenarios (video 3), Modeling Probability.

The videos for Grade 4 cover Intro to Probability (video 1), using Combinations (video 2), using Fractions to Describe Probability (video 3), Creating Probability Models.

Matholia – Chance: A simple video, for 3rd class, on will, won’t or might happen.

The Slushy Sludger Use your knowledge of probability to predict what kind of slushy you are likely to get from the choices on offer.

The Vile Vendor Probability Game Use your understanding of chance to work out the likelihood of getting these vile drinks!

Climber Probability Game: Help the climber reach the top by clicking on the colour that you think will win the spin.

Bobbie Bear: Explore combinations using this virtual tool; how many different outfits can Bobbi Bear wear on holiday

Softschools.com – Probability Quiz: What is the probability of the spinner landing on certain letters?

Probability & Statistics: a selection of games from ixl.com. Choose the games from your class level. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription.

Math Games – Probability: games to practice predictions and probability skills; go to the activities for your class level.

Mathwire: Check out this page for more games that focus on probability.

#### Digital Resources for Fifth & Sixth Classes

Probability: Background information on probability and chance from Maths is Fun

Interactive online chance tools: No dice at home? Don’t want to have to make up a spinner? There are lots of interactive tools and random chance games here.

What are the odds? Interactive dice simulator, choose from 12, 20 or 30-sided dice, simulate making hundreds of rolls at once, and log the results automatically for analysis. Or just use it to play games!

FCPS – Probability: This series of instructional videos for Grade 5 cover how to explore probability using Lists and Charts (video 1), using Tree Diagrams (video 2), using Fractions to Express Probability (video 3), Determining the Number of Possible Outcomes (video 4).

Basic Probability: A video from Math Antics, that introduces the concept of chance, language of chance and the probability line. Other suitable videos available include Calculating/Determining Chance and Chance Investigations.

Bobbie Bear: Explore combinations using this virtual tool; how many different outfits can Bobbi Bear wear on holiday

The Vile Vendor Probability Game Use your understanding of chance to work out the likelihood of getting these vile drinks!

Climber Probability Game: Help the climber reach the top by clicking on the colour that you think will win the spin.

Adjustable online spinner: use this to make up your own spinner, predict the outcome and and then investigate the actual outcomes.

Using area models: For fifth and sixth class, Mashup Math has this excellent video which demonstrate how area models can be used to identify all possible outcomes.

Using Tree Diagrams: Another excellent video from Mashup Math, this one demonstrates how tree diagrams can be used to identify all possible combinations.

Softschools.com – Probability Quiz: What is the probability of the spinner landing on certain letters?

Maths Frame – Probability Game: Work out the probability of scoring a number, or range of numbers, on a number spinner and answer in either fractions, decimals, percentages, or on a number line. Compare the probability of an event on two different number spinners and say which is more likely.

Mathwire: Check out this page for more games that focus on probability.

Probability & Statistics: a selection of games from ixl.com. Choose the games from your class level. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription.

Math Games – Probability: games to practice predictions and probability skills; go to the activities for your class level.

## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Money

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of money, as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about money. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

#### Understanding Money

Difficult Topic? Although money plays a very common, and perhaps very important, part in every child’s life, money is not automatically easy or obvious to learn about:

• Money comes in different colours, shapes and sizes, and in metal and paper forms (i.e. coins and notes), each of which has its own value.
• Furthermore, outside of the Euro Zone, most countries have their own currency and denominations of coins. And, when changing currency, you cannot do a straight swap i.e. €1 doesn’t equal £1 or \$1; the new value must be calculated using an exchange rate, which also varies.
• Many children do not recognise that the euro coins and notes follow a specific pattern ie they always have a 1, 2 or 5 as the first digit (see image below). That is why, when asked to draw the coins required to make a given amount, many children will still often suggest coins that don’t exist eg 3c, 7c etc.
• The sizes of the coins and notes are NOT proportional to their value i.e. a 20c coin is not twice as big as a 10c coin; a €100 note is not ten times the size of the €10 note.
• Money can be expressed using the symbols € or c, but NOT using both at the same time. Sometimes there’s a decimal point; sometimes there’s not. And, when using the € sign, it comes first (even though €6 is said as “six euro” as opposed to “euro six”), whereas the c sign comes after the numeral.

So even though understanding and using money is a vital life skill, it can’t be taken for granted that children will easily “get” this understanding.

Furthermore, more and more, transactions are becoming cashless, as people use credit/debit cards, money apps, contactless and online payments more than ever before. In the recent past, coins and notes, were very much a regular part of a child’s experiences; watching others counting out coins and notes to pay for goods, perhaps handing over a larger amount than required and watching change being handed back. Because of cashless transactions, today’s children are missing out on essential opportunities to handle cash, and/or see it being handled in real-life situations. The increased use of plastic and contactless payments also limits the opportunities for people to use their maths skills to total mentally, calculate change etc.

#### Practical Suggestions for all Children

• Cash is King: Since today’s children have less exposure to cash transactions, where possible, allow your child to handle real coins and notes.
• Collect coins in a jar and invite your child to count the money every so often to find out the total. Are there different ways to count mixed coins? What strategies might be better (more efficient)?
• If your child is not able to count up the total of amounts yet, then ask them to sort the coins into groups e.g. brown coins, gold coins, coins with two colours, coins with 1 on them, with 2 on them, with 5 on them etc (see also the Coins Game below). In particular, draw their attention to the fact that all the euro coins and notes only start with the digits 1, 2 or 5 and may or may not be followed by one or two zeros.
• Play shop at home. Use empty food containers etc., as goods to be bought/sold. Use play money or real coins for cash.
• If shopping with cash, involve your child: get them to handle the money, to identify the coins and/or most suitable amount to hand to the cashier and to predict (roughly or accurately, depending on the ability of the child) the change due back.
• If your child gets pocket money encourage them to talk about how much they have, how much they spend, how much they have left.
• Can you afford it? Should you buy it? While cashless transactions might be more regular than cash ones, one thing that has remained constant is that we all still appreciate the value of money, and getting value for our money.
• Encourage your child to budget and save for upcoming events (Christmas, holidays etc.) and/or to purchase more expensive items ( eg bike, games console, phone etc). Discuss the amount of money required, how much they currently have, how much they could expect to earn and/or save each week, how long it will take for them to have the necessary amount. Encourage them to write down this information as a type of written budget or financial plan (see also the Budget Game below, for 3rd class up).
• When purchasing items encourage your child to consider its value, its cost, and whether a similar item be purchased elsewhere for less. Shop around, as they say, to research your options, whether in the actual or virtual (online) shops.
• When grocery shopping, keep an eye out for the advertised special offers and deals; are they good options? What about multi-packs; are they good value? If there are different multi-pack offers for the same product, which offer is the best value? But don’t forget that just because there is good value on offer, if we end up buying more of the product than we need, will it end up going to waste?
• Go through the till receipt together after shopping; what did you buy? What items cost the most? What items cost the least? What products cost about the same amount? Was there any product that you hadn’t realised cost so much or so little?
• When out shopping for clothes, give your child a limited amount to spend. It is amazing how value-driven this can make your child become, and more selective of what they will purchase!
• If you are comfortable allowing your child to use the internet, he/she could help research a holiday or break for the family. Examine together which destination has the best deal/offers, etc.
• Money makes the world go round! As mentioned earlier, children may not realise that, outside of the Euro Zone, most countries have their own currency, and that, when changing currency, you cannot do a straight swap i.e. €1 doesn’t equal £1 or \$1. Rather, the new value must be calculated using an exchange rate, which also varies. If going on holiday to a non-Euro Zone country, involve your child in researching the exchange rate, and calculating how much of the foreign currency they will get when they exchange their euro.

#### Digital Resources for Infants

Spot the coins: Beginner level: Find the coins hidden in each picture. Advanced level: find the coins and order them according to value.

Coins game: Click on the Euro flag to select euro coins. Start with Sorting to sort One Coin or Two Coins into the money box(es). Next try Ordering and Counting money. Start with the easier options in each section and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Toy Shop: Work out which coins will buy toy shop items, using just One Coin or Mixed Coins. In the Mixed Coins option you can also calculate change.  Start with the easier options and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Keep Helen’s money safe: Read the story and decide what Helen should do with her money to keep it safe. Play ages 5-6

Moneyville is a fun and entertaining online virtual world that gives your child a basic understanding of the value of money and the basic principles behind earning and spending money. Suitable for children of 5 years and up.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)

#### Digital Resources for First and Second Classes

Spot the coins: Beginner level: Find the coins hidden in each picture. Advanced level: find the coins and order them according to value.

Coins game: Click on the Euro flag to select euro coins. Start with Sorting to sort One Coin or Two Coins into the money box(es). Next try Ordering and Counting money. Start with the easier options in each section and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Toy Shop: Work out which coins will buy toy shop items, using just One Coin or Mixed Coins. In the Mixed Coins option you can also calculate change.  Start with the easier options and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Maths is Fun – Money: Interactive games including Make the Amount, drag and drop the euro coins to make the required amount; Money Master, how fast can you give euro change.

Moneyville is a fun and entertaining online virtual world that gives your child a basic understanding of the value of money and the basic principles behind earning and spending money. Suitable for children of 5 years and up.

Keep Helen’s money safe: Read the story, decide what Helen should do with her money to keep it safe, and keep a record of the money that she gets along the way. Play ages 7-8.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Coin Cruncher: In this game you either select the correct coins to Make the Total or select the correct value for How much? There is an Easy level (no timer) and a Hard level (same question types but with a timer).

The Change Game: Click on the correct amount of change that you should get back.

That Quiz – Money: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the currency is set to Euro and the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are three different types of activities: For Identify (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the value of the cash shown; if you set it to Compare you must click on the amount of greater value; if you set it to Make change you must click on the cash required to make the correct change for the given transaction.

Adding Money Values: This video from Operation Maths allows the children to practice their addition of money skills.

Custom Car Garage: Select and pay for car accessories, using the correct coins. For first and second class, start at level one initially, and then go up levels as the child gets more competent.

Coconut Ordering Game: Select Prices and € to order amounts of euro

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)

#### Digital Resources for Third to Sixth Classes

Maths is Fun – Money: Interactive games including Make the Amount, drag and drop the euro coins to make the required amount; Money Master, how fast can you give euro change; Unit Price, calculate the price per required quantity.

Money: Background information on money from Maths is Fun, including currencies, finding unit price, interest, investing money, etc. Often there are also related activities.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Is it a bargain? This fun mini-maths lesson gets pupils to use their mathematical ability to work out if so called ‘special offers’ are in fact good deals.

That Quiz – Money: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the currency is set to Euro and the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are three different types of activities: For Identify (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the value of the cash shown; if you set it to Compare you must click on the amount of greater value; if you set it to Make change you must click on the cash required to make the correct change for the given transaction.

Coconut Ordering Game: Select Prices and € to order amounts of euro

Space Trader: Practice spotting value for money as you trade with three outlandish alien shopkeepers for a range of space commodities.

Calculating Unit Rates: For 5th & 6th classes, this visual video from MashUp Math explains how to calculate unit rates, which has applications in unitary value in money, averages, ratios and proportion etc

Find the Total Cost: Again for 5th & 6th classes, this video from MashUp Math explains how to find the total cost, involving sales tax, ratios and proportions.

The Budget Game: Older children can explore the realities of budgeting, income and expenditure as well as how their own choices affect their money, well-being and enjoyment balances.

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)

## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Number Sentences and Equations

Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of number sentences & equations, as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about number sentences & equations.

#### Understanding Number Sentences and Equations

Number sentences are a part of Algebra. Number sentences are mathematical sentences made up of numbers, symbols and/or signs eg

• 11 – 4 = 7
• 3 × 6 = 18
• 4 + 2 = 5 + 1
• 4 + 5 > 6 + 2
• 5 + ☐ = 9
• 14 – 🌳 = 8
• y + 5 = 20

They can use simple numbers or be more complicated with bigger numbers, letters, fractions etc. Number sentences can be equations, where both sides are equal/balanced (4 + 2 = 5 + 1), or be unequal (4 + 5 > 6 + 2) where one side is greater than or less than the other side. Sometimes, the children are given complete number sentences and are asked to work out if they are true or false. More often, in primary maths, number sentences will have a frame or box to represent the missing value/number which must be worked out or solved e.g. 5 + ☐ = 9. The missing value may also be represented by a symbol or a letter (called a variable) eg 14 – 🌳 = 8, y + 5 = 20

An essential aspect of exploring number sentences is reading and interpreting correctly the signs and symbols. However, for children, the signs and symbols can be very confusing, because they can be so similar and yet all mean something completely different. Take for example + and ×; they are actually the same shape, but turned to look different. And they have very different meanings; the first means add and the second means multiply. Consider some of the other common maths signs: = ÷ – < >. These are all very similar to each other in design and shape, but very different in meaning. No wonder children can get confused! That is why, even though the children will come across number sentences in infants to second class, they will not actually explore this topic in depth, until they are in third class and higher.

Of all the signs used in maths, the equals sign (=) is one that is often misinterpreted. The sign itself is made of two identical lines, to indicate “same-ness”. So this sign is saying that the value of whatever comes before it, is identical to, or the same as, the value that comes after it e.g. 7 = 3 + 4. And sometimes there is more than one value on either side of the equals sign, so that each side has to be calculated to see if it is true e.g. 10 – 4 = 3 + 2 + 1 (Tip: the children could write the value for each side above/below that side so that it’s very obvious whether it’s true or not). The horizontal identical lines in the equals sign, also remind us of a balanced scales (see image below), where the total value/weight on both sides, is equal. When reading this sign with your child, always say “equals” or “is the same as”.

Number sentences are simply a mathematical way to represent a scenario or story. If I buy three big bars of chocolate, costing €1.50 each, I can show that information with these number sentences:

€1.50 + €1.50 + €1.50

or

3 x €1.50

So, often there can be more than one way to represent the information.

The child may be asked to represent a story or word problem with a number sentence. Or they may be asked to create a suitable story or word problem to match a given number sentence.

Whenever your child is working with word problems at home, encourage them to show it as a number sentence first, before they start to solve it. You can also ask them to show you how they sometimes use model drawings or number bond drawings (see image above) at school to help picture the problem. Drawings and diagrams are particularly useful as they encourage the child to see the “big picture” of the maths story, which can be a great help if they are finding the numbers and symbols difficult to interpret.

Sometimes your child might be given number sentences and asked to identify if they are true or false. To do this, it is not always necessary to work out both sides of the number sentence exactly. There is (usually) only one true or correct option, meaning that every other answer is incorrect or false. Encourage the children to use their estimation and number sense skills to quickly recognise when a statement is obviously false, e.g. in (c) below, two hundred and something and one hundred and something is definitely not bigger than 500 so I don’t need to work it out exactly to know that it is false. And while you might think this is a type of ‘cheat’ strategy, in reality, it is about using a more efficient approach, while also emphasising the value of estimation.

Now that you appreciate how confusing maths signs can be, don’t take it for granted that your child does, or will, understand the meaning of all the maths signs that they come across in their books. If your child is working with number sentences, ask them to read the sentence out loud for you and/or to tell you how their teacher verbalises certain signs. In school, we will often use a variety of language to describe a sign and sometimes that depends on the story that goes with the number sentence. For example, with the number sentence 7 x 9, that could be verbalised as seven multiplied by nine, seven groups of nine, seven nines etc. 20 ÷ 2 could be verbalised as twenty divided into two equal groups/parts, twenty divided by two, how many groups of two in twenty, etc.

#### Practical Suggestions for all Children

• Encourage your child to read aloud every number sentence. For example for 11 – 4 = 7 say “eleven subtract/minus/takeaway four equals seven”. Ask them to suggest a matching scenario/story eg “I had 11 sweets and I ate 4, now I have 7 left” or “I have 11 sweets and you have 4, so I have 7 more than you” (ie the difference between our amounts). Always read = as “is the same as” or “equals”.
• Ask your child to suggest how to represent the various maths scenarios that you encounter, as number sentences, e.g. how to work out the cost of a number of some items, the change that would be due after spending a certain amount, the number of sweets that everyone can get when a large bag is shared out, etc. Even if the child does not calculate an answer, it will benefit them to consider how the scenario might be shown using numbers and signs.
• In Operation Maths, the children may be asked to identify the maximum and minimum amounts that could be used in a number sentence. Draw your child’s attention to incidences where maximum and minimum are used in everyday life:
• you have to be a minimum of 1.1m to go on a certain theme park ride
• the maximum number of passengers on the bus is 52
• the maximum speed on a motorway is 120 km/h
• a child must be a minimum of 15 kg to move from an infant seat to a booster seat in the car.
• Whenever your child is working with word (maths story) problems at home, encourage them to show it as a number sentence or to make a drawing/diagram first, before they start to solve it.

#### Digital Resources for Third to Sixth Classes

Introduction to Algebra: information on basic algebra and how to balance equations from Maths is Fun.

Happy Numbers Fifth Grade: Do the activities in Module 5, Algebraic Expressions

That Quiz – Arithmetic: Use this to practice different types of number sentences; then try Inequalities (greater than, less than). You can also choose different options from the menu on the left-hand side.

I Know it! – Basic Algebra (Fourth Grade): Go to the Basic Algebra section to do any of the activities. You could also try the Basic Algebra section in Fifth Grade

Number Sentences: Background information including definitions and examples from Splash Learn

Write expressions: A practice game from Splash Learn. Chose the correct number sentence to match the word sentence.

Thinking Blocks: Practice making bar models that match word problems and then calculate and answer. Work through these in order, ie start with Thinking Blocks junior and if you feel that this is too easy then move onto the next set.

Number Balance: solve the equations by hanging tags on the correct number on the number balance. Has lots of different levels.

SolveMe Mobiles: These are a series of hanging mobiles puzzles that may or may not be balanced, and using the information you have to work out the missing values. They start quite easy and then progress in difficulty. You can register for free so that you can save your progress. Scroll down to the end of the page to play.

SolveMe Who am I: Another series of puzzles; this time you need to work out he mystery number from the clues given. They start quite easy and then progress in difficulty. You can register for free so that you can save your progress.

Mashup Math Equation Puzzles: There are lots of colourful puzzles to solve here, often with a seasonal theme. Print them out and solve them or just view them on a screen and see if you can work out the value of the symbols on each line. You can also check out the Mashup Math website for more puzzles, videos etc.

Functions and Equations: a selection of practice games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. Start with the second class games and work up through the activities (Please note that the class levels used here don’t exactly match the class level content in the Irish maths curriculum).