Author Archives: Operation Maths

Maths by Month – October (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the second installment in this year’s series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant. While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

HINT: Teachers of Infants to Second Class – don’t forget to use the Operation Maths Assessment Records on excel for recording and collating the End of October Assessments

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

    1. Log into your edcolearning account
    2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
    3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
    4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.

Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

Other suggestions for October:

  • The October plan for third to sixth classes has deliberately allowed for a free week, to enable teachers to engage with Maths Week, held every year at this time. This year, Maths Week will run from 12-20 October. Make sure to register your school at the link above and then organise some fun maths activities for your class or school. You can follow the links in the site to find out more about Maths mazes, Maths Art (which, coincidentally, links very well with October Operation Maths for 3rd and 4th classes i.e. tessellations in 2D shapes), Maths and history, code breaking and lots more.
  • You could also make Maths Week become a game-themed week in your class. Teachers of third to sixth classes could use the Games Bank in the Operation Maths TRB. Teachers of infants to second classes can use any of the games listed in the short-term plans in their TRBs.
  • Another option for Maths Week, if you didn’t already do it in September, is Jo Boaler’s Week of Inspirational Maths. Click on the link for an overview of the activities in Week of Inspirational Math, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to access all the resources; Kindergarten roughly aligns with Infants, Grade 1 and 2 with 1st & 2nd classes, and Grades 3-5 roughly align with 3rd-6th classes.
  • Other STEM projects to consider during October:

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 


Maths by Month – September (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

It’s a new school year! And with it comes the first in this year’s series of posts designed to support teachers on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant. While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

Operation Maths users can also access a class-specific list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

    1. Log into your edcolearning account
    2. Click on the At School Book for your class level.
    3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
    4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.

Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

Other suggestions for September:

  • Check out the “Maths and me” attitudes questionnaire, situated after the last assessment in the Operation Maths Pupil Assessment booklet for 3rd to 6th classes. Suggest to the children that they fill this using a particular colour on one of the first days of the school year to be then revisited later in the year. At this point, the children can again record their attitudes in a different colour and reflect upon any changes they made, if any.
  • Maths about me: another great activity for the start of a new school year. The children write facts about themselves that are appropriate to their ability eg height, age, shoe size, telephone number, distance from school (use google maps), time that they get up or go to bed etc. This can be recorded on the inside front cover of the discovery book, filled in on a pre-made template from the internet, used to make a large class display or even become a more complex problem solving activity in the more senior classes.
  • The Math in Learning Names: Another one for kick-starting the year; make learning names easier (for both you as the teacher, and for the other students) with these quick and fast sorting ideas, which incorporate maths and language features, such as vowels, syllables etc.
  • Inspire your class for the year ahead: Most people have this belief that there is such a thing as a maths brain, a belief which Jo Boaler, among others, strongly challenges. Since 2015, in conjunction with her youcubed team at Stanford University, they have put together resources, videos etc for a Week of Inspirational Maths. They now have lessons and activities aimed at infants to 6th, as well as second level. Click on the link for an overview of the activities in Week of Inspirational Math, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to access all the resources; Kindergarten roughly aligns with Infants, Grade 1 and 2 with 1st & 2nd classes, and Grades 3-5 roughly align with 3rd-6th classes.
    • New year, new initiative! Number Talks is an excellent maths methodology that is gaining traction globally, and more recently, nationally thanks to the promotion of the PDST. Better still, the rationale behind it aligns itself very closely with the underlying principle of Operation Maths, that is teaching children to understand maths, not just do maths. To find out more about number talks and to access a whole suite of ready-made resources for all class levels just click on the link above.
  • Maths Week (12-20 Oct 2019) will all too quickly be upon us! Start to consider now, how your school might get involved in this national celebration of maths, and don’t forget to register your school.

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 


Maths by Month – June (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

The summer holidays are in sight!

In this June overview for Operation Maths users, there are links to topic-specific posts and articles, as well as a whole host of extra suggestions, links etc. To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month blog-posts, please subscribe to the blog via email, on the top right hand of this page.

Pssst! 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 consolidation of amounts to up to ten via Counting and Numeration, Comparing and Ordering and Combining and Partitioning; the children will be exploring patterns to discover different arrays of the same number, patterns with colour and numbers and odd and even numbers. They are also learning to read time in 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 and revisiting half turns and quarter turns, as part of Lines and Angles
  • 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.
    So, you might now 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.

Teachers of Infants to Second Class: For helping out with the end of year reports, don’t forget to check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany all the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.

Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

Other suggestions for June:

  • Outdoor Classroom Day was May 23 2019. This global event promotes the use of the outdoors to teach, explore and learn. If you missed this day, you might like to do an Outdoor Classroom Day in June instead. There are lots of resources with suggestions for all subject areas, including maths, https://outdoorclassroomday.com/. For more ideas for outdoor maths you could also check out:
    • the Maths Around Us activity ideas in your Operation Maths book
    • the Maths Around Us videos accessible at https://www.edcolearning.ie/
    • this post, Maths fun in the sun
  • Online problem-solving webinars: Following the success of their pilot webinar in December, NRICH are hosting two problem-solving webinars on the 11th June that are free and open to all; you just need to register. Starting at 10am, Irish time, they will introduce a problem and invite students to work on it and submit their questions and solutions if they want to. For all details: https://nrich.maths.org/webinar . And if you’re reluctant to get involved, not knowing what it entails, or whether it will be relevant for your class, you can watch and try out the recorded video from the previous pilot webinar here: https://nrich.maths.org/13821

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 


Digging Deeper into … Chance (3rd – 6th)

Category : Uncategorized

Chance is one of the most fascinating areas of primary mathematics, since it is concerned with the outcomes of random processes. Thus, the conceptual foundations for areas of mathematics such as probability and combinatorics, can be found in this strand unit.

The big ideas about Chance:

  • When considering random events and/or processes, we can use what we know (eg past experience and/or knowledge of the variables involved) to estimate/predict the likely outcome(s).
  • If we identify all the possible outcomes in advance,  we can refine and/or express our prediction using mathematical language.
  • However, no matter how accurate the 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!
  • If we collate the results from repeated identical investigations of a specific random process, the actual outcomes (experimental probability) are more likely to reflect the original mathematical predictions (theoretical probability).

Predicting Outcomes: Terminology

When beginning to discuss and predict the likelihood of various outcomes,  the initial focus should be on the language of chance, and the terminology that accompanies it.

It can be very useful for the children to identify the various terminology, to discuss their interpretation of it and to explore the contexts in which the terminology is used in everyday parlance.

And while some of the phrases are more objective (e.g. impossible, never, certain, sure, definite), much of the language can be more ambiguous and is open to personal interpretation (possible, might, there’s a chance, (highly) likely, (highly) unlikely, not sure, uncertain).

FACT: To avoid ambiguity, some organisations have agreed on a consensus that equates this terminology with a fractional expression or percentage; you can view one such consensus here.

It can be helpful to try to organise this language across a continuum for the children to interpret and establish their meanings in relation to the other phrases. Ask the children to identify terminology that is used when describing the likelihood of something occurring. Use questions/statements to elicit from the children the vocabulary for chance that they already have; this can be the language that they would use to answer the questions from the text above or could be from their responses to questions such as the following:

  • What is the chance that it will rain today?
  • What is the chance that it will be hot today?
  • What is the chance that it will be dark tonight?
  • What chance does my team have of winning the league?
  • What chance does my county have of winning the All-Ireland Championship?

Ask the children to write this terminology on pieces/slips of paper. Sort the pieces of paper into groups and/or order them along a line (continuum), as shown in the images below, with words that have similar or identical meaning together.

This task is a perfect example of a low threshold, high ceiling task, in that all children can participate and there is no limit to the complexity of terminology that can be incorporated. If mathematical values such as percentages and/or fractions (eg 1 in 2 chance) are suggested, the children should be encouraged to incorporate these, as they see fit.

Indeed, in fifth and sixth class the children should be encouraged to use a continuum which is graded from 0-100% and/or 0-1, and to associate and align the vocabulary with mathematical values (eg impossible/never =0%, might or might not/even chance = 50%, definite/certain = 100% etc).

Predicting Outcomes Mathematically

Irrespective of whether it is tossing a coin, rolling a dice, spinning a spinner, picking from a bag, choosing a card, etc., the children should always be encouraged to identify all the possible outcomes, to predict outcomes that are more or less likely, and to justify their predictions.

From Operation Maths 5

The children can also be encouraged to make more mathematical predictions based on their understanding of the variables involved e.g. if we repeated this investigation 30 times, how many times would you expect each colour would be picked? What about 60 times? 120 times? Express the fraction of the total number number of “picks”, that you would expect for each colour. Can you express any of these as a percentage?

When predicting the outcomes of random processes that involve a combination of variables, it can be very useful to use a type of pictorial structure, such as branching (NB these can also be referred to as tree diagrams), to illustrate the possible outcomes. For example, when predicting the outcomes of a double coin toss, children will often think that each of the three outcomes have an equal chance, when in fact there is double the chance (ie 2 in 4 or 1 in 2 chance) of getting a heads and tails combination, than either both heads or both tails (see diagram below).

From Operation Maths 5
From Operation Maths 6

However, it is worth noting that, unless the children come up with a similar structure to predict outcomes of combinations, it is preferable to hold back on showing such a structure until they have conducted an investigation, similar to above, where their predicted outcomes did not align to the actual outcomes.

Conducting the investigations

Once all appropriate predictions have been recorded, we can move on to the most exciting part, the investigating! When conducting chance investigations, it is important that the children recognise that that they need to be conducted fairly and recorded clearly, similar to scientific investigations.

Encourage the children to consider what factors need to be kept the same each time, and how practices could affect the reliability of the results eg:

  • When picking items (eg cubes from a bag, cards from a deck) does the chosen item need to be returned each time? Why/why not?
  • How many times does an investigation needs to be repeated in order to get a reliable result?

To generate sufficient data, while not spending too much time on each investigation, ten can be a suitable number of turns per child. It can also be a good idea to organise the children into groups of three with rotating roles eg the first child has their turn, the second child records the outcome of each turn and the third child keeps count of how many turns the first child has had, and roles are rotated after ten turns.

Recording and reflecting on results

As mentioned previously, the children should be encouraged to consider how best to record results. Tally charts and frequency tables can be very useful and link in well with the strand unit of Representing and Interpreting Data. Results of investigations can be displayed in various types of graphs and charts. Children in fifth and sixth classes could also be asked to calculate the average value for each outcome, when all the results of a class group are considered; for example, in the double coin toss, what was the average number of heads, tails and heads-tails combination per group.

Once the results have been collated, it is very important that the children be given time to reflect on the results and to compare them to their predictions. While we would expect an equal number of heads and tails in a single coin toss (ie theoretical probability), the actual results may not resemble these predictions (experimental probability). Such is the element of chance! And this can be a difficult concept for the children to accept, particularly the notion that, even though the mathematics behind their predictions was accurate, the actual outcomes are different.

To explore this further, using a spreadsheet, such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, to collate the results of the entire class can be a great way demonstrate, that when we combine all the investigations, experimental probability (ie the results) is more likely to mirror theoretical probability (the predictions). This can often help reassure the children that the “maths” behind this does indeed work!

TIP: To make life easier for you, we have created a sample spreadsheet for the Double Coin Toss, please click on the link to view (and save/copy). For further information on the values of using spreadsheets to record results please check out this informative article on Probability Experiments with Shared Spreadsheets from NCTM.

Further Reading & Resources

  • The PDST has a lot of resources for Data and Chance, including a booklet, slides and task cards for activities.
  • Playing dice, card, spinner games, or indeed any type of chance-based games, can be a great way to get students thinking about probability, while also providing practice with mental computation, estimation, subitising and experience of problem-solving via strategic thinking.
    • Don’t forget to check out the games bank in your Operation Maths TRB and/or the last page of the Number Facts books for examples and ideas.
    • Check out this Mathswire page for more games that focus on probability.
  • iTools has a great set of interactive tools for probability that cover coin and dice throws, pulls from a bag, among other random processes. As well as being very customisable, they compare the theoretical and experimental probability, using various visual structures including tables and branching (tree diagrams); the latter is used particularly well to illustrate possible outcomes in compound events (e.g. double coin toss or double dice throw) as well as combinations and arrangements.
  • For a fifth and sixth class who are exploring combinations, Mashup Math has two excellent videos (view both below) which demonstrate how tree diagrams and area models can be used to identify all possible combinations; both video use contexts to which the children could readily relate.
  • Johnnie’s Math Page has lots of resources for probability including interactive spinners and dice.

Maths by Month – May (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the May installment in this series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant.

While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

Pssst! Thinking about book lists? 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:

Teachers of Infants to Second Class: is you haven’t yet recorded your Operation Maths End of April Assessments, don’t forget to check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany all the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.

Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

Other suggestions for May:

  • May the Fourth Be With You! International Star Wars Day (May the fourth) is almost here!
  • Tech Week 2019 is from 11th-18th May next. Some suitable activities for this week could include:
    • The Scratch lessons that accompany the Operation Maths scheme.
    • These fantastic tasks to develop computational thinking from the Bebras Challenge.
    • For more information on dedicated primary events and resources check out the Tech Week site.
  • Outdoor Classroom Day is May 23 2019. This global event encourages us to use the outdoors to teach, explore and learn. There are lots of resources with suggestions for all subject areas, including maths, https://outdoorclassroomday.com/. For more ideas for outdoor maths you could also check out:
  • the Maths Around Us activity ideas in your Operation Maths book
  • the Maths Around Us videos accessible at https://www.edcolearning.ie/
  • this post, Maths fun in the sun

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 


Maths by Month – April (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the April installment in this series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant.

While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

Pssst! There are still some Edco Primary Publications launches for 2019 taking place during April; specifically in Sligo, Dublin North, Kildare, Castlebar, Galway, Waterford and Athlone. As well as launching the new SESE programme Explore with Me, the new English Core Skills Let’s Talk Literacy and Bua na Cainte 4, they will also be showcasing Operation Maths, Number Facts and other Edco publications. Click on the link above for more information and to register.

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

Teachers of Infants to Second Class: before you start thinking about the Operation Maths End of April Assessments, don’t forget to check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany all the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.
  • Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

Other suggestions for April:

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 


Maths by Month – March (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the March installment in this series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant.

While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

Pssst! The Edco Primary Publications launches for 2019 will be taking place around the country during March and April. As well as launching the new SESE programme Explore with Me, the new English Core Skills Let’s Talk Literacy and Bua na Cainte 4, they will also be showcasing Operation Maths, Number Facts and other Edco publications. Click on the link above for more information and to register.

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

Teachers of Infants to Second Class: if you have not yet recorded the results of the Operation Maths End of Februaury Assessments please check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany the rest of the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.
  • Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

Other suggestions for March:

  • Engineer’s Week runs from Saturday 2nd to Friday 8th March. There are obvious connections between Maths and Engineering, a fact which is being celebrated by the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) movement globally. Click on the link above to download a primary school challenge pack which contains lots of ideas to help you organise fun challenges that create a positive awareness and spark enthusiasm about the engineering profession in young people.
  • Pancake (Shrove) Tuesday is Tuesday 5th March. Recipes naturally provide great opportunities for real world maths, for example identifying the measures and amounts required, adding the correct measures to the mix, adapting the recipes to suit more or less people, etc. For more maths-related activities check out these pancake problems.
  • World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March, and while the primary resources accessible on the site are mainly literacy linked, there are numeracy ideas also, including “Not Another Maths Book” activity sheet. Other numeracy and literacy linked suggestions for this global celebration include:
    • Carry out a survey to find out the favourite books / authors of the children in your class. Or choose a page from a book. Work out the average number of words per sentence. Both of these are included among many other suggestions from Teaching Ideas for World Book Day.
  • With both Ireland’s ultimate and penultimate game in the 2019 Six Nations still to be played, there is still time to delve into some of the mathematical possibilities:
    • With older children, use the opportunity to explore the rugby union scoring system, and to identify what scores (up to 30, for example) are possible (how?) or impossible.
    • Calculate the number of games to be played; what if the competition had less or more teams, how many games would need to be played then?
    • Use the language of chance to discuss the possible outcomes for each nation in the competition and recognise that while it is impossible to predict the actual outcomes, we can use of knowledge of the teams performances to make informed predictions.
    • Calculate the dimensions of the pitch
    • Run a Fantasy Rugby League in your class
    • Make score predictions for each match and plot how these scores would be recorded on the Six Nations Table

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 


Digging Deeper into … 2-D Shapes and 3-D Objects (infants to second class)

Category : Uncategorized

3-D shapes or 3-D objects?

In the PDST Shape and Space manual, it is suggested that “using the word ‘shape’ to describe both 2-D shapes and 3-D shapes can cause confusion for pupils”. For example, asking pupils to ‘describe the shape of this shape’ highlights one problem. Another problem is that pupils must be able to think of all cuboids as being ‘the same shape’, while mathematically speaking all cuboids are not the same shape.

The manual goes on to suggest that it would be more helpful to refer to 3-D things as ‘objects’. Using ‘objects’ also reinforces the notion that if it can be physically handled/picked up, it must be a 3-D object, as opposed to a 2-D shape which should always only have length and width, not depth/height.

So, throughout the Operation Maths books, this topic is titled 3-D objects to avoid confusion and to provide clarity for the pupils. However, wherever there is reference to “strand unit”, the term 3-D shapes is used, as this is the term used in the 1999 Primary Maths curriculum.

So what first? 2-D or 3-D?

2-D and 3-D objects are very inter-related, to the point that there is often much debate about which of the topic should be taught first; 2-D shapes, 3-D objects or teach them both concurrently.

Since 2-D shapes are lacking the third dimension of depth or height that their 3-D relations possess, this makes them quite abstract as only flat, drawn/printed shapes are truly 2-D. Whereas, 3-D objects can be picked up, manipulated, used for constructions etc., making them much more suited to the concrete learning experiences that are essential in the early years. They are the objects that we find in the real-world. Thus, since 2-D shapes are only flat representations of the faces of 3-D objects, it could be argued that it would be more logical, and more in line with the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach, to teach about 3-D objects before 2-D shapes.

On the other-hand, it could be argued that 2-D shapes should be taught first as it is likely than young children would be more familiar with them. For example, the vocabulary of 2-D shapes features more regularly in common speak than the vocabulary of 3-D objects. Many children will likely have encountered many 2-D shapes from picture books and patterns around their homes, etc. And so, it remains inconclusive as to which order of progression is most beneficial!

In the Operation Maths books, the children meet the specific topic of 2-D shapes prior to that of 3-D objects each school year. However, it is envisaged that by the time the children in the junior classes are formally engaging with 2-D shapes, they have already encountered and informally explored both 2-D shapes and 3-D objects via the monthly themes (laid out in the long-term and short-term plans of each TRB) and in the suggested Aistear play activities (detailed also in the TRB) of which, the Aistear theme of construction is particularly relevant.

Infant classes

Whether considering 2-D shapes or 3-D objects, the suggested progression within each topic is very similar:

  • Undirected play
  • Sorting and ordering activities
  • Building and making (including making patterns)
  • Identifying

Undirected play may include sand and water play, use of formal construction toys, constructing using “junk” or found materials; any activities that allow the children to handle and manipulate shapes and objects.
In the Operation Maths TRBs for junior and senior infants there are ample suggestions for suitable activities, under the headings of various themes. “Undirected play” does not imply that the teacher is superfluous to the process; rather while the children are the instigators, the teacher can play a vital role, observing the way in which the children interact with the materials, and asking the children to explain what they did, how they did it and why they did it that way. This can be a great way to assess the prior knowledge and language that the children may already have.

Sorting and ordering activities include the Early Mathematical Activities (EMA) used early on in the infant classes; thus it is likely that shapes and/or objects have already been used as part of these activities, for example sorting and matching according to colour, size etc; ordering according to length/height etc.

At this point, the children should also be prompted to sort the shapes and objects according to their respective properties as relevant and appropriate:

  • Sort 2-D shapes according to the number of corners and the number and type of sides (straight, curved or both; sides that are different or the same).
  • Sort 3-D objects according to those that roll/do not roll, slide/do not slide, build/do not build, are hollow/solid; as a development, according to the number of corners and the number and type of faces and edges (please see end of post for more information on faces and edges).
  • The teacher can also isolate shapes/objects to create sets and then ask the children to identify the rule of the set: “What’s my rule?” (see image above). The children can also be encouraged to play the “What’s my rule?” game in groups.
  • Isolate a particular shape/object in the room and ask the children to locate others that are the same/similar and make a set of like objects/shapes.
  • The children may also be naming the shapes as part of these explorations; however this is not necessary as it is more important that they appreciate the similarities and difference between shapes, rather than identifying them.

Building and making with shapes/objects may have already been explored informally as part of the undirected play phase. The purpose now is to develop this into more formal teacher-directed tasks and activities:

  • Build the tallest building/castle that you can. What objects did you use/not use and why?
  • Dip a face of a 3-D object in paint and use it to print. Make a pattern using the prints. What do you notice?
  • Try printing with different faces of the same 3-D object. Are the resulting prints the same or different?
  • Push 3-D objects into sand/plasticine to make imprints. Or (if able) trace around the 3-D objects on paper to make designs.
  • Use cut-out shapes, gummed shapes, tangrams and/or pattern blocks to make pictures and patterns.
  • Use the shapes to cover surface of your book/mini-white board; which shapes did you use/not use and why?
  • Combine two shapes/objects to make a new shape/object.

As part of the building and making activities the children may begin to realise how certain shapes/objects can be combined to become other shapes/objects. Similarly, through the reverse of these activities, and other shape cutting activities, the children should begin to realise that shapes can also be separated (partitioned) to reveal new shapes. This can include deconstructing 3-D objects to reveal their net. These activities can be revisited once the children can also name the shapes/objects, so as to arrive at certain understandings and become more accurate with mathematical language eg that two squares can make a rectangle; that, when using tangrams, two of the same size triangles can be rearranged to make a square, a larger triangle etc.

Identifying the specific shapes/objects evolves from the previous activities as the children begin to realise that it is the specific properties and attributes of a shape/object that defines it, eg all shapes with three corners (and three sides) are triangles, irrespective of their size or colour and irrespective of the measure of sides and corners (later to be referred to as angles). Activities which will serve to reinforce this include “Guess the shape/object” using descriptions (see below), guessing unseen shapes/objects from touch (eg in a feely bag), locating a specific shape from a collection using touch alone.
Through the experiences of printing and imprinting with the 3-D objects, it is also hoped that the children realise that the flat faces of 3-D objects are in fact 2-D shapes.

First and Second classes

The children in these classes will continue to sort, describe, compare and name shapes as done in infants, but to now also include new shapes and objects i.e. semi-circle (1st), oval and cone (2nd). They will continue to construct and make shapes, extending this to creating and drawing the shapes themselves.

They will further explore the combining and partitioning of 2-D shapes, and this understanding will extend to include the fractions of halves (1st) and quarters (2nd). The properties of 2-D shapes will be further explored
in second class via the stand units of symmetry, angles and area (i.e. tessellating 2-D shapes)

Q: How many faces on a cylinder? Three or two?
Traditionally, in Ireland, and in Irish textbooks, a cylinder was recorded as having three faces. However, this is not mathematically correct, as strictly speaking a face is flat, and a 2D shape (figure), so therefore a cylinder has in fact only two faces, (both circles), and one curved surface. And while it may be argued that a cylinder has a third face i.e. the rectangular shape you see when you disassemble the net of the 3-D object, in this disassembled state it is no longer a cylinder, since it can no longer roll, a specific property of all cylinders.
Another way to think about the faces of 3-D objects is to consider the number and shape of the resulting outlines of tracing around, or printing, each surface of the 3-D object. It is only possible to trace around the opposite ends/bases of the cylinder, since only these are flat, thus it has only two faces, both of which are circular in shape. Similarly, it is only possible to trace around one surface on a cone, which therefore means it has only one face (a circle) and one curved surface.
And how many edges on a cylinder? Officially none, as an edge is where two flat faces meet and the faces on a cylinder are on opposite sides and do not touch/meet. However, that leaves the problem of how to describe the place where each face meets the curved surface.  So in Operation Maths, as occurs typically in other primary texts in other countries, there is a distinction made between straight edges (which are in fact true edges) and curved edges (which strictly speaking are not edges).

Further Reading & Resources:


Maths by Month – February (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the February installment in this series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant.

While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

 

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

Teachers of Infants to Second Class: before you administer, score and record the results of the Operation Maths End of Februaury Assessments please check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany the rest of the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.
  • Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

 

Other suggestions for February:

  • Lá ‘Le Bríde, is Friday February 1st. The story of St. Bridgid’s Cloak could be used as springboard into a pattern activity, or a discussion on exponential growth with older students.
  • Ireland’s first game in the 2019 Six Nations (against England in the Aviva Stadium) is on Saturday 2nd February. Some mathematical possibilities:
    • With older children, use the opportunity to explore the rugby union scoring system, and to identify what scores (up to 30, for example) are possible (how?) or impossible.
    • Calculate the number of games to be played; what if the competition had less or more teams, how many games would need to be played then?
    • Use the language of chance to discuss the possible outcomes for each nation in the competition and recognise that while it is impossible to predict the actual outcomes, we can use of knowledge of the teams performances to make informed predictions.
    • Calculate the dimensions of the pitch
    • Run a Fantasy Rugby League in your class
    • Make score predictions for each match and plot how these scores would be recorded on the Six Nations Table
  • Valentine’s Day is Thursday 14th February. Try out these themed problems  and challenges (suitable from first class up) from Mashup Math and, from the Routty Math Teacher, this selection of five Valentine’s Day-inspired starters, that are sure to engage your students and get them thinking critically about maths.

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 


Maths by Month – January (updated 2019)

Category : Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

And welcome to the fifth installment in this series of posts designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis, giving teachers greater insights into the concepts at hand, when they are most relevant.

While each monthly overview will specifically zone in on the Operation Maths topics for that particular month, the information and suggestions will be relevant to ALL primary teachers, whether they are Operation Maths users or not.

HINT: To ensure you don’t miss out on any future Maths by Month 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 

 

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Sixth Class:

Psst! Teachers of Infants to Second Class: if you have not yet scored and recorded the Operation Maths End of December Assessments please check out the Excel Record Spreadsheets to accompany the rest of the assessments in the Assessment Booklets; if you have any suggestions for how to improve these, please leave them here.

Operation Maths users can also access a class specific, month-by-month list of relevant links and online resources via the Weblinks document, accessible on www.edcolearning.ie. 

  1. Log into your edcolearning account
  2. Click on the At School Book/Pupil’s Book for your class level.
  3. Click on the Edco Resources icon (on book cover image on left-hand side)
  4. Select Weblinks from list of categories and then click to download the document.
  • Also accessible on  www.edcolearning.ie.  are the custom-made digital resources to support these topics. These will all be viewable when you click on the Edco Resources icon as directed above.

HINT: If you are new to Operation Maths this year or have changed class level, be sure to check out the Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths books and the companion Quick Start Guide to the Operation Maths Digital Resources
Don’t forget that Operation Maths also has you covered for planning whether you’re teaching a single class or multi-class. 

 

Other suggestions for January:

  • Storytelling Week runs from Sunday 27th January to Sunday 3rd February. While this is primarily a UK based event, it does serve as a timely reminder of the rich role that mathematical stories can play in the early years.  For teachers of infants to second class, be sure to check out the Literacy suggestions within the Integration section of each short term plan in the TRB.

 

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 


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