Understanding maths, not just doing maths…the Operation Maths way!

Operation Maths is a pioneering new maths programme for junior infants to sixth class.

Written by a team of six experienced teachers, Operation Maths is built on a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach, or CPA approach, (based on Jerome Bruner’s conception of the enactive, iconic and symbolic modes of representation) which research has consistently shown to be the most effective instructional approach to enable students to acquire a thorough understanding of the concepts required.

This blog post, and future posts, will explain some of the various features of the Operation Maths programme as well as outlining further ways in which this programme can be used to its full potential  to enable your students to truly understand maths, not just do it!

Background & Research

As authors, we researched, and were inspired by, the maths books and schemes used in those countries which are the highest-ranking internationally in relation to attainment in primary maths, for example Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Finland.

We also looked at best practice in New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and the United States, as well as the recommendations of our own home-grown publications including the PDST handbooks, NCCA publications (e.g. Bridging Guidelines, Assessment Guidelines etc.) and programmes such as Aistear and Mata sa Rang.

Finally, this was blended with the requirements of our primary school curriculum, in order to create a scheme that is truly innovative in its approaches and strategies and the most forward-thinking maths programme currently available for the Irish market.

 

Programme Components

For pupils in infants to second class:

  • At School BookOperation Maths Junior End
  • At Home Book
  • FREE Pupil Assessment Booklet
  • FREE Mini-white board
  • FREE Frames (five, ten or twenty frame)

 

 

For pupils in third class to sixth class:

  • Pupils boSenior Endok
  • Discovery book
  • FREE Pupil Assessment Booklet
  • FREE Mini-white board
  • FREE place value manipulative

 

 

For teachers of adopting schools:

  • Resource BooksFREE Teacher copies of all the relevant pupil resources
  • FREE Teachers Resource Book (TRB) which contains all necessary plans, teaching strategies, photocopiables, games, starters etc.
  • FREE access to all of the Operation Maths digital resources on edcolearning.ie, including ebooks, editable plans, and a whole suite of custom made videos  and eManipulatives which greatly enhance the teaching and learning experience for both teachers and pupils.

Furthermore, Operation Maths is the most teacher-friendly  and child-friendly programme currently available.


Maths by Month – December (updated 2020)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the December installment of this year’s Maths by Month posts, designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis.

As we journey together through on this school year, with all the uncertainties and possibilities that it may bring, rest assured that Edco Primary Maths and the Operation Maths blog will continue to support teachers, schools and families, along the way.

Central to this will be our Digging Deeper series of posts aimed at teachers and the ever-expanding series of Dear Family posts, aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home. In addition, for teachers who want to find out more about the Operation Maths program, check out the About Operation Maths posts.

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

To access lists of relevant links and online resources, navigate towards the end of the relevant Dear Family posts, for a whole suite of suggestions, organised into approximate class levels.

Don’t forget that integrated with your digital Operation Maths pupil books, are numerous custom-made digital resources to support each maths topic. Just click any of the hyperlinks while viewing the digital book to bring you direct to the relevant resource.

TIP! If there are any digital resources for a particular page, they will also be briefly given and described in the footer of that page (both print and digital books). 

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 December:

  • This year, Computer Science Education Week runs from 7-13 December, during which time, they are also encouraging everybody, young and old, to engage with their annual Hour of Code event.  Coding is the future! Computers are changing every industry on the planet. Every 21st-century student should have the opportunity to build technology. Click on the links above to access Hour of Code and other computer science activities for learners of all ages. Operation Maths users can also access the tailor-made Operation Maths Scratch lessons on https://edcolearning.ie 
  • Check out the NRICH Primary Advent Calendar. They have lots of other Christmas-themed activities that can be accessed here: https://nrich.maths.org/public/search.php?search=christmas. They also have an Advent-themed sudoku challenge that some of the more-able senior class pupils might like to tackle.
  • Mash-up Maths have a Christmas-themed 12 Days of Holiday Math Challenges, suitable for 1st class up. It can be better to hide all the puzzle initially, and then, reveal just one line at a time and ask the children to record and justify all the possible solutions based on what they know at that point. As they move through each line, they can then explain why they should now discard certain options. This is a better way to engage all of the children in thinking mathematically, rather than it just becoming a race to the solution (which can often turn-off those less mathematically-inclined). For more of this type of problem sign up to the Mash-up Maths weekly newsletter, to receive lots of other themed maths puzzles and challenges like this Grinch-themed challenge.
  • Interested in more Christmas-themed maths problems? From Dec 1-24 the German Maths Society posts a daily problem (in English) on its online Advent Calendar. There are 3 levels of difficulty, 4th class to adults.

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 Fractions

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of fractions, 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 fractions. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

Junior Infants to Second Class
You can also find class specific tips at the back of your child’s Operation Maths At Home book, for infants to second class, and in the Operation Maths Dear Family letters for third to sixth class.

Understanding fractions

Fraction comes from a Latin word meaning “to break (something) in pieces”; it’s related to the word fracture, meaning to break into pieces, usually used to describe a broken bone. In maths, fractions are the result of dividing something (a shape, object or amount), into a number of equal pieces or parts.

Equal is very important; if we divide something into two parts, but they are not equal, then they are not halves. Therefore it is very important to emphasise to children from the very beginning that the parts made must be equal; in school we often talk about it being a fair share.

And while fractions might seem straight-forward enough, i.e. dividing something into equal parts, even the basic fractions can be interpreted in many ways:

3/4 (say “three quarters”) can be describing 3 parts of something that is is divided into 4 equal parts, eg 3/4 of the square is red (above) or 3/4 of the blocks are red (below).

3/4 can also be interpreted as three out of four i.e. that 3 out of 4 cubes are red or that 3 out of every group of 4 cubes are red (below).

3/4 can also be interpreted as three divided by four or 3 ÷ 4 which gives a value of 0.75, the decimal equivalent for 3/4 (below).

Initially much of children’s exploration of fractions in school, will focus on creating and identifying various fractions (starting with familiar fractions such halves, quarters, eighths, tenths etc).

They will also learn to recognise fraction forms that are the same value (i.e. equivalent fractions eg 1/2, 2/4, 4/8, 5/10 etc), and comparing and ordering fractions. In the senior classes, children will work with less familiar, more complex fractions as well as calculating with, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.

Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

  • Use fractions and the language of fractions at home, e.g. when dividing up food (cutting up pizzas, cake, bars of chocolate), when baking (e.g. half a teaspoon, a quarter of a cup, half a dozen eggs).
  • Look for fractions when out shopping, e.g. half price. Ask your child to calculate the current price, or what the price was before the reduction.
  • Be careful about using fractional language accurately, e.g. there’s no such thing as a big half or a small half! To make fractions, we must create equal parts. Encourage your child to be accurate and to recognise that if something is divided into two parts that are not equal, they are not halves.
  • Fractions names can be confusing for children: it makes sense that each part of something divided into ten equal parts is a tenth… similarly for fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth etc. But each part of something divided into two equal parts is a half (plural is halves) and each part of something divided into four equal parts is a quarter. Furthermore, when speaking one eighth (1/8) it can be difficult to distinguish from eight (8). Try to say and explain fraction names clearly, and encourage your child to say them clearly also, so that they appreciate the difference between these similar-sounding words.
  • If your child is experiencing difficulties with converting fractions, adding, subtracting or multiplying fractions, encourage him/her to use concrete materials (eg paper plates, paper straws and or pieces of paper) and/or draw pictorial representations, e.g. pie pieces or number lines, to help them visualise what is happening and develop his/her “fraction sense”.

Want to find out more about fractions? Check out this article How can I Teach my Child about Fractions?

Digital Resources for First and Second Classes

2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Fractions: Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions on halves and fourths (another name for quarters). Afterwards, try the activities in Second Grade. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other areas of First Grade Maths. 


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: Use the Halves game to practice calculating half of a number


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Fractions: Scroll to the fractions section to do any of the activities. If too simple, go to Grade Two.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeFractions practice 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 and Fourth Classes

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Third Grade: Third and fourth class pupils could work through the activities in Module 5. 


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Fractions (Third Grade): Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. Afterwards, try Equivalent Fractions, and for more challenging,  look at the Fourth Grade Activities. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.  


Fractions: Intro - Fractions | Equivalent Fractions | Improper Fraction -  PhET Interactive SimulationsFractions Intro: An interactive fractions simulation which explores fractions, equivalent fractions and improper fractions. The accompanying fractions game has various levels of difficulty. Other related fractions simulations at this site include Build a Fraction, Fraction Matcher, Equivalent Fractions and Mixed Numbers.


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTubeThat Quiz – Fractions: Use this quiz to practice Identifying Fractions and Comparing Fractions. You can choose different options from the menu on the left-hand side.


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Fractions (Third Grade): Scroll down to the Fractions & Decimals section to do any of the activities. You could also try the Fractions sections in Fourth Grade.


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: Use the Halves game to practice calculating half of a number


Declan's Fun Facts!: very cool battle ship equivalent fractions on ...Battleship Numberline: Can you blow up the enemy submarines? This game starts very easy, where you must click the correct fraction on the number line, but then the game progresses in difficulty as the player must work out where a given fraction would be placed on the blank number line. Choose the fractions game.


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Fraction Games: An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels; start with the games for third grade level. If too simple, go to the Grade Four games.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeFractions practice 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 Fifth and Sixth Classes

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Fourth Grade: Pupils should start with the activities in Module 3. And then progress to Fifth Grade to do the activities in Module 3 and 4

 


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Fractions: Learn how to Add and Subtract Fractions and Multiply Fractions. Afterwards, for more of a challenge,  look at more on Add & Subtract Fractions, Multiply Fractions and Divide Fractions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.  


Fractions: Intro - Fractions | Equivalent Fractions | Improper Fraction -  PhET Interactive SimulationsFractions Intro: An interactive fractions simulation which explores fractions, equivalent fractions and improper fractions. The accompanying fractions game has various levels of difficulty. Other related fractions simulations at this site include Build a Fraction, Fraction Matcher, Equivalent Fractions and Mixed Numbers.


Thinking Blocks Junior | Math Playground Thinking Blocks for Fractions: an ideal way to start using bar models, or further practice using bar models, to model fraction word problems and computation. Sixth class pupils could also try out the thinking blocks activities on ratio.


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTube

That Quiz – Fractions: Use this quiz to practice Identifying FractionsComparing Fractions and Operations with Fractions. You can choose different options from the menu on the left-hand side.


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Fractions (Fourth Grade): Scroll down to the Fractions & Decimals section to do any of the activities. You could also try the Fractions sections in Fifth Grade.

 


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: Use the Halves game to practice calculating half of a number

 


Declan's Fun Facts!: very cool battle ship equivalent fractions on ...Battleship Numberline: Can you blow up the enemy submarines? This game starts very easy, where you must click the correct fraction on the number line, but then the game progresses in difficulty as the player must work out where a given fraction would be placed on the blank number line. Choose the fractions game.


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Fractions: An assortment of place value games organised according to US grade levels; start with the grade below your current class level i.e. for fifth class pupil’s start with fourth grade games and for sixth class pupils start with fifth grade games.


IXL | Maths and English Practice

Fractions practice 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) 

 


Maths by Month – November (updated 2020)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the third installment in this year’s Maths by Month posts, designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis.

As we journey together through on this school year, with all the uncertainties and possibilities that it may bring, rest assured that Edco Primary Maths and the Operation Maths blog will continue to support teachers, schools and families, along the way.

Central to this will be our Digging Deeper series of posts aimed at teachers and the ever-expanding series of Dear Family posts, aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home. In addition, for teachers who want to find out more about the Operation Maths program, check out the About Operation Maths posts.

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

To access lists of relevant links and online resources, navigate towards the end of the relevant Dear Family posts, for a whole suite of suggestions, organised into approximate class levels.

Don’t forget that integrated with your digital Operation Maths pupil books, are numerous custom-made digital resources to support each maths topic. Just click any of the hyperlinks while viewing the digital book to bring you direct to the relevant resource.

TIP! If there are any digital resources for a particular page, they will also be briefly given and described in the footer of that page (both print and digital books). 

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 November:

  • The Bebras® Computing Challenge 2020 runs from 2nd to 13th November; it introduces computational thinking (i.e. the thinking skills behind coding and programming tasks) to students, by allowing them to solve interactive tasks online. The tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking or information and communication technology. The aim of Bebras is to get students all over the world excited about computing. The challenges are divided into five different age categories from 8-18 years old. On the link above, both teacher and student can explore previous challenges and, even  if your class or school doesn’t register to take-part (which is free), the past challenges are very engaging and worthwhile to explore as a whole class or groups.
  • The 11 November marks the anniversary of the ending of the Great War, “the war to end all wars”, which is now typically referred to as World War 1. For 5th and 6th class teachers, who are planning to explore this topic in history, check out these Maths Activities from the Trench Brothers Education Zone.
  • Codes and code breaking were a very important part of warfare tactics during both World War 1 and 2. To find out more about the maths of code breaking click on the link.
  • Science Week 2020 runs from 8th-15th November. There are obvious links between Maths and Science, a fact which is being celebrated by the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) movement globally. Of the STEM areas, coding is one of the most exciting, not least of all to kids! And Operation Maths is the only Irish maths programme that has integrated coding activities via the Scratch Lessons for Operation Maths 3-6. Check out the scratch lessons that are included in the Operation Maths digital resources via your TRB or edcolearning.ie For infants, the Aistear Themes are an ideal way to explore STEM using a thematic focus (and lay the foundations for the development of computational thinking skills); consult the Junior and Senior Infants TRB for the monthly Aistear suggestions.

For some more primary-focused STEM activities, check out the links below:

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 Multiplication and Division

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of multiplication and division, 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 place value. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

Junior Infants to Second Class
You can also find class specific tips in the Operation Maths Dear Family letters for third to sixth class.

Understanding Multiplication and Division

Like addition and subtraction, multiplication and division is not just about multiplying and dividing to get a correct answer (although accuracy is always to be valued in maths); the focus is very much on understanding and visualising what is happening to the amounts/numbers, how they are changing, why they are changing and how the same calculation can be done in many different ways. This is often referred to as developing a child’s number sense.

In Operation Maths, the children are always encouraged to use materials and pictures, and to explore different strategies (ways) to get their answers. They are also encouraged to compare their strategies with the strategies of others, and to explain or justify why one way might be more efficient (faster and/or simpler) than another way.

From Operation Maths 3, possible thinking strategies for 2x, 5x, 10x.

In particular, the children are encouraged to refer to some key, benchmark facts, that, in turn, can be used to work out other facts. These include doubling and halving (which can be used to multiply and divide by 2, 4 and 8) and multiplying and dividing by 10, which in turn can be used to multiply by 5 (half 10 times the number) and multiplying by 9 (one group/set less than 10 times).

These benchmark facts (or friendly facts), combined with other strategies, ensures that the child develops both understanding of, and fluency with, the basic multiplication and division facts, which in turn cam be applied to more complex situations later, such as bigger numbers or fractions and decimals. Pictured below are examples of some useful thinking strategies for the basic multiplication and division facts.

From Number Facts 3 & 4, Edco, 2018

While multiplication and division are separate operations, they are also very closely related, being the inverse (or opposite) of each other e.g. 3 x 10 = 30, 30 ÷ 10 = 3, 30 ÷ 3 = 10. This is another strategy that the children can use i.e. think multiplication to do division, or vice versa. Beginning in third and fourth classes, the children will explore multiplication and division as being the inverse of each other, which will progress towards using the inverse (opposite) operation to check their calculations. 

Therefore, nowadays, there is less emphasis on just learning off “tables”, (i.e. memorising answers) and more emphasis on thinking strategies to use what they know, to solve what they do not know. 

Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

  • Invite your child to help out with any opportunity to do multiplication and/or division at home, or when out and about, e.g. how much for 5 packets of the same sweets? If buying a multipack of anything, how much roughly for each item? etc.
  • Encourage your child to use strategies when multiplying and dividing and/or to explain their strategies. Ask your child to explain how they know, or worked out the answer.
  • “I don’t believe you…prove it!” When your child arrives at an answer, ask him/her to show you how they got an answer, to prove that that is the answer, and encourage them to think of other ways to arrive at the same answer. Are there ways that might be more efficient (better) than others?
  • Encourage your child to estimate. Estimation is a very important skill; this involves quickly getting a rough or ‘ballpark’ idea of the answer, e.g. 3 boxes of sweets at €4.79 each is just under €15 because €4.79 is almost €5. Encourage your child to quickly estimate answers e.g. How much, roughly, is that going to cost? Do we have enough money?

Digital Resources for Third and Fourth Classes

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Second Grade: Third class pupils could start, and work through Module 6, Foundations of Multiplication and Division, and then progress to Third Grade, Modules 1 and 3. Fourth class pupils could start with Third Grade or go straight to Fourth Grade and work through the activities in Module 2. 


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Third Grade: Third class pupils should start with Intro to Multiplication and then progress through 1-digit Multiplication, Intro to Division and  More with Multiplication and Division.  Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. Fourth class pupils could work through the Multiplication and Division activities in Fourth Grade. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.  


Week 3 Reflection | DIGITAL PORTFOLIOThe Array: An introduction to rectangular arrays (rows and columns) and how they can be used to understand multiplication.

 


ArithmeticArithmetic Arrays: Solve multiplication and division questions using the help of rectangular arrays. Three levels in each game.

 


Free Math Apps | The Math Learning CenterPartial Product Finder: This is not a game, but it is a tool, that can be used to show an array for multiplication calculations involving 1 or 2 digits

 


Thinking Blocks Junior | Math Playground Thinking Blocks for Multiplication and Division: an ideal way to start using bar models, or further practice using bar models, to model word problems and computation.


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: a great site for practicing quick-fire Times Tables and Division Facts. For a slower-paced version of this try the Mental Maths Train, a multiple choice game.

 


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTubeThat Quiz – Arithmetic: Use this quiz to practice different types of multiplication and division calculations. You can use the options on the left hand side to make the types of calculations easier or more difficult.


Free Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction, Division GamesMultiplication.com: A site dedicated to multiplication games, but also includes division games and games for addition and subtraction.

 


Estimating - Sums, Differences, Products & Quotients • ABCya!Estimating answers to multiplication and division calculations to win chances to take penalties in a shoot out.

 


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Multiplication and Division (Grade three): Scroll down to the multiplication and/or division sections to do any of the activities. If too simple, go to the multiplication and/or division sections in Grade Four 


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Multiplication & Division Games: An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels; start with the games for third grade level. If too simple, go to the Grade Four games.

 


IXL | Maths and English PracticeMultiplication practice games and Division practice 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 Fifth and Sixth Classes

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment Activities

Happy Numbers Fourth Grade: Pupils could start, and work through Module 2, and then progress to Fifth Grade, Module 1 and 2, which includes multiplication and division with decimal numbers


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Fourth Grade: Fifth class pupils could try any of the quizzes on multiplication or division to check what they know already, and either re-do some of the units or move on to Fifth Grade. Similarly, sixth class pupils could try the quizzes in Fifth Grade and then re-do or move on to other/new topics as appropriate. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.  


ArithmeticArithmetic Arrays: Solve multiplication and division questions using the help of rectangular arrays. Three levels in each game.


Free Math Apps | The Math Learning CenterPartial Product Finder: This is not a game, but it is a tool, that can be used to show an array for multiplication calculations involving 1 or 2 digits


Thinking Blocks Junior | Math Playground Thinking Blocks for Multiplication and Division: an ideal way to start using bar models, or further practice using bar models, to model word problems and computation.


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: a great site for practicing quick-fire Times Tables and Division Facts. 


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTubeThat Quiz – Arithmetic: Use this quiz to practice different types of multiplication and division calculations. You can use the options on the left hand side to make the types of calculations easier or more difficult.


Free Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction, Division GamesMultiplication.com: A site dedicated to multiplication games, but also includes division games and games for addition and subtraction.


Estimating - Sums, Differences, Products & Quotients • ABCya!

Estimating answers to multiplication and division calculations to win chances to take penalties in a shoot out.


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Multiplication and Division (Fifth Grade): Scroll down to the multiplication and/or division sections to do any of the activities. If these are too difficult, go to the multiplication and/or division sections in Grade Four 


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Multiplication & Division Games: (Fifth Grade) An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels. If these are too difficult, go to the Grade Four games.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeMultiplication practice games and Division practice 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) 


Maths by Month – October (updated 2020)

Category : Uncategorized

Welcome to the second installment in this year’s Maths by Month posts, designed to explore the Operation Maths topics on a month-by-month basis.

As we journey together through on this school year, with all the uncertainties and possibilities that it may bring, rest assured that Edco Primary Maths and the Operation Maths blog will continue to support teachers, schools and families, along the way.

Central to this will be our Digging Deeper series of posts aimed at teachers and the ever-expanding series of Dear Family posts, aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home. In addition, for teachers who want to find out more about the Operation Maths program, check out the About Operation Maths posts.

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

To access lists of relevant links and online resources, navigate towards the end of the relevant Dear Family posts, for a whole suite of suggestions, organised into approximate class levels.

Don’t forget that integrated with your digital Operation Maths pupil books, are numerous custom-made digital resources to support each maths topic. Just click any of the hyperlinks while viewing the digital book to bring you direct to the relevant resource.

TIP! If there are any digital resources for a particular page, they will also be briefly given and described in the footer of that page (both print and digital books). 

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 10-18 October, and while it will be a very different celebration this year, with no public gatherings, it will still be possible to participate virtually. So why not start to consider now, how your school might get involved in this national celebration of maths, and don’t forget to register your school at the link above. You can also follow the links in the site to find out more about 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 and code breaking. Check out their resource packs by class level also.
  • 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 


Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Addition and Subtraction

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of addition and subtraction, 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 place value. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

Junior Infants to Second Class
You can also find class specific tips at the back of your child’s Operation Maths At Home book, for infants to second class, and in the Operation Maths Dear Family letters for third to sixth class.

Understanding Addition and Subtraction

Of all the topics in primary maths, this is probably THE one with which the grown-ups feel most familiar…sure isn’t all just about either adding or subtracting (take away), plus (+) or minus (-), total or difference?

In some ways, it is, and in other ways, it’s not.

As the song goes, ‘it’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it’ and the same is true for addition and subtraction at primary level; it’s not so much about getting a correct answer (although accuracy is always to be valued in maths) as understanding and visualising what is happening to the amounts/numbers, how they are changing, why they are changing and how the same calculation can be done in many different ways. This is often referred to as developing a child’s number sense.

In Operation Maths, the children are always encouraged to use materials and pictures, and to explore different strategies (ways) to get their answers. They are also encouraged to compare their strategies with the strategies of others, and to explain or justify why one way might be more efficient (faster and/or simpler) than another way.

In particular, the children are encouraged to refer to some key, benchmark facts, that, in turn, can be used to work out other facts. These include doubles (e.g. 4 + 4, 9 + 9 etc), near doubles (e.g. 4 + 5, 9 + 10 etc) and number bonds for 10 (e.g. 4 + 6, 9 + 1 etc). These benchmark facts (or friendly facts), combined with other strategies, such as count on (for adding smaller numbers eg 0, 1, 2, and 3), adding 10 and make a ten, ensures that the child develops both understanding of, and fluency with, the basic addition and subtraction facts, which in turn cam be applied to more complex situations later, such as bigger numbers or fractions and decimals. Pictured below are examples of some useful thinking strategies for the basic addition and subtraction facts.

While addition and subtraction are separate operations, they are also closely very closely related, being the inverse (or opposite) of each other e.g. 10 + 20 = 30, 30 – 20 = 10, 30 – 10 = 20. This is another strategy that the children can use i.e. think addition to do subtraction, or vice versa. Beginning in first and second classes, the children will explore addition and subtraction as being the inverse of each other, which will progress towards using the inverse (opposite) operation to check their calculations. 

Therefore, nowadays, there is less emphasis on just learning off “tables”, (i.e. memorising answers) and more emphasis on thinking strategies to use what they know, to solve what they do not know. 

Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

  • Involve your child in any adding and subtracting that happens at home, or when out and about, e.g. buying tickets for the cinema, buying items of clothes, etc.
  • Encourage your child to use strategies when adding and subtracting and/or to explain their strategies. Ask your child to explain how they know, or worked out the answer.
  • “I don’t believe you…prove it!” When your child arrives at an answer, ask him/her to show you how they got an answer, to prove that that is the answer, and encourage them to think of other ways to arrive at the same answer. Are there ways that might be more efficient (better) than others?
  • Encourage your child to estimate. Estimation is a very important skill; this involves quickly getting a rough or ‘ballpark’ idea of the answer, e.g. €31 and €52 is roughly €80. Encourage your child to quickly estimate totals and differences, e.g. How much, roughly, is that going to cost? Do we have enough money? About how much will we have left?

Digital Resources for Junior and Senior Infants

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Pre-Kindergarten: Work through the activities from Module 5, addition and subtraction stories. Alternatively, go to Kindergarten, Module 4,

Number Pairs, Addition and Subtraction to 10.

 


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Addition & Subtraction: Scroll to the addition and subtraction sections to do any of the activities.

 

 


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Addition and Subtraction Games: An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels; junior and senior infants should choose among the games for kindergarten level.

 


IXL | Maths and English PracticeAddition practice games and Subtraction practice 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

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers First Grade: First class pupils could work through the activities from Modules 1, 2, 4 and 5. Second class could go to the activities for Second Grade  and work through the activities from Modules 1 and 4.


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Addition and Subtraction: Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other areas of First Grade Maths. Second classes could also look at Addition and Subtraction within 100 in Second Grade Maths


Math & Learning Videos 4 Kids YouTube Channel Analytics and Report -  Powered by NoxInfluencer MobileMath and Learning Videos 4 Kids: This YouTube channel has lots of videos on Addition within 100Addition of 2-digit numbers, Subtraction with regrouping, assorted addition worksheets and assorted subtraction worksheets.


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: a great site for practicing quick-fire Number Bonds (up to 10, 20 or 100) and Doubles 


Thinking Blocks Junior | Math PlaygroundThinking Blocks Junior: A simpler version of the original Thinking Blocks game for addition and subtraction, this is an ideal way for first or second classes to start using bar models to model word problems and computation.


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTubeThat Quiz – Arithmetic: Use this quiz to practice different types of addition and subtraction calculations. 


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Addition & Subtraction: Scroll to the addition and subtraction sections to do any of the activities. If too simple, go to Grade Two, to try the activities involving addition and subtraction of 2-digit numbers only.


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Addition and Subtraction Games: An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels; start with the games for first grade level. If too simple, go to the Grade Two games.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeAddition practice games and Subtraction practice 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

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Third Grade: Third class pupils could work through the activities from Module 2, Topics C and D. Fourth class pupils, and above,  could go to the activities for Fourth Grade and work through the activities in Module 1. 


2nd Grade Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy Addition and Subtraction (Third Grade): Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. For something more challenging,  look at Addition and Subtraction in Fourth Grade Maths. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.  


Hit the Button Maths game (yr 1-6) | Nailsworth CofE Primary SchoolHit the Button: a great site for practicing quick-fire Number Bonds (up to 100) and Doubles. 


Thinking Blocks Junior | Math Playground Thinking Blocks for Addition and Subtraction: an ideal way to start using bar models, or further practice using bar models, to model word problems and computation.


That Quiz Gumball Math Tutorial - YouTubeThat Quiz – Arithmetic: Use this quiz to practice different types of addition and subtraction calculations. You can use the options on the left hand side to make the types of calculations easier or more difficult.


Estimating - Sums, Differences, Products & Quotients • ABCya!Estimating sums and differences to win chances to take penalties in a shoot out.


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know it! – Addition & Subtraction (Grade three): Scroll down to the addition and subtraction section to do any of the activities. If too simple, go to the addition and subtraction section in Grade Four or Grade Five.


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Addition and Subtraction Games: An assortment of games organised according to US grade levels; start with the games for third grade level. If too simple, go to the Grade Four games.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeAddition practice games and Subtraction practice 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 Comparing and Ordering

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of comparing and ordering 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 comparing and ordering. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

Junior Infants to Second Class
You can also find class specific tips at the back of your child’s Operation Maths At Home book, for infants to second class.

Understanding Comparing and Ordering

Comparing and ordering is probably something that happens a lot in any home already!

  • “She’s got more than me! That’s not fair!”
  • “I want to be first!”
  • “I want to have the biggest piece!”

In maths, comparing is when two items, amounts or portions are examined to see if they are the same (equal), and if not, which is the larger/has more and which is the smaller/has less. Statements can be made to show how the two relate to each other; for example they are equal (=), there are more bananas than apples (opposite); there are less pears than strawberries.

Initially, the children will be identifying which group has more/less, and which number is less than or greater than another number. Then, they will begin to describe the relationship in more detail e.g. there is one more banana than apples; there is one less pear than strawberries.

In second class, the children will begin to use mathematical symbols (inequalities) to show the relationship eg 5 > 4 (five is greater than four); 2 < 3 (two is less than three).

Once the children are comfortable comparing two items, amounts or portions, they will then be able to progress to ordering three or more, for example ordering four numbers, smallest to largest, or vice versa. Number word order is also an important aspect of this i.e. identifying the number that comes before or after another number.

Ordering also involves being able to use the ordinal numbers 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th…. and ordinal words such as first, second, third ….. and last.

Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

  • The next time your child complains that somebody has got more than them, ask them to prove it! If it is sweets, can the child count the amounts to explain or justify that they do indeed have less than another? Or even when sharing out items like this, deliberately give more to somebody and ask your child(ren) to check if the amounts are all the same and, if not, to explain how the amounts are different. And what could be done to make it fairer.
  • When organising, tidying, sorting at home, ask your child to compare the groups of items they encounter. Ask questions such as:
    • “Which has more/less?”
    • “Which is larger/smaller?”
    • “Do you want more tomatoes or more grapes in your lunch?”
  • Try to incorporate ordinal number words such as first, second, third…last into your daily routine.
    • Who was first up out of bed? Who was second? Who was third? Who was last?
    • Who was first, second etc to be dressed, ready to go to school, finished homework etc.
    • When giving instructions: “First put on your socks, second put on your shoes, third put on your coat.”
    • When playing games discuss who will go first, second, third etc.
    • When standing in a queue talk about your position i.e. where you are standing.
  • Monitor your child closely when they start writing the ordinal numbers, and don’t take them for granted, as the abbreviation system is not always obvious:
    • Straightforward enough: fourth = 4th; sixth = 6th; seventh = 7th; tenth = 10th.
    • Less obvious: fifth = 5th; eighth = 8th; ninth = 9th
    • Tricky! first = 1st; second = 2nd; third = 3rd
  • Talk about the dates on the calendar. Say the ordinal number word clearly so that the child appreciates the difference in the sound of these numbers and the counting numbers eg seventh not seven.
    • “Your birthday is on the 3rd (third) of October.”
    • “We will be going back to school on the 6th (sixth) of January”
  • Play hand grab: Get your child to put their hand into some lego, marbles, or other similar items and to put the handful ‘grabbed’ out onto a table. You child can then repeat this, or somebody else can get a handful. Look at the two amounts on the table. Estimate which has more. Then check which has more by either counting or laying both sets of items out in two lines, side-by side, so that you can clearly see which line has more. You could also ask your child to count to find out how many more are in the longer line.
  • Play an ordering numbers game. Write down all/some of the numbers that your child knows, (eg 0-5 for junior infants, 0-10 for senior infants 0-20 for first class and any set of random numbers within 100 for second class), with each number on a separate piece of paper/post-it. Mix up the numbers and place them face down. Get your child to:
    • Pick up a number and say it.
    • Place all the numbers in order smallest to largest (variation: largest to smallest).
    • Say what number is missing, after you remove one.
    • Pick out 3 or three numbers and put them in order smallest to largest or vice versa
  • Play guess my number. Get your child to write down a number within their familiar numbers range (see above). Work out the number by asking questions to narrow the possibilities. For example, is it greater than 5? Is is less than 5? etc. Next round, you write down a number and your child asks you the questions.
  • You can also play any of the online interactive games below.

Digital Resources for Infants

Grade 5 Math - Online Enrichment ActivitiesHappy Numbers Kindergarten: Work through the activities from Module 1, Topic D and Module 3, Topic E, F and G.


Number Order and Ordinal Numbers for Kindergarten — Todo Math Stories -  YouTubeTodo Math: Learn ordinal numbers as you watch the toys line up for ice-cream


Learn and Practice Ordinal Numbers for Preschool and KindergartenOrdinal numbers: Watch the ostrich race and use ordinal numbers to identify the finishers


Make a Cake Children's Song by Patty Shukla on VimeoMake a cake song: Learn ordinal numbers using a recipe song


A caterpillar game!Caterpillar Ordering: Choose between ordering (where you put the given numbers in order) or sequencing (where you complete the sequence with the correct numbers from those given).  Has various levels including 1-5, 1-10, 1-20.


Coconut Ordering - Comparing Numbers, Prices, Mass, Length and ...Coconut Ordering: Hit the numbers in order of size. Select ‘numbers’ and then choose from numbers up to 10 or up to 20. 


Ordinal Numbers on VimeoOrdinal Numbers: Video showing children lining up for a bus


New game – Let's Compare | The Topmarks BlogLet’s Compare: A comparing sizes game, including picking out the biggest, smallest, shortest etc


Sort Objects by Color - Practice with Fun Math Worksheet

Splash Learn: Compare Objects  and Compare Numbers


IXL | Maths and English PracticeComparing: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. There is also a suitable ordering game: order numbers up to 10

Digital Resources for First and Second Classes

Practice ordinal numbers to 20 for toddlers, preschool and kindergarten  kids. on VimeoOrdinal Numbers: Video showing ordinal numbers, 1st to 20th.


Top Tips for Everyday Maths at Home | White Rose MathsWhite Rose Comparing: a series of lessons on comparing objects and numbers; also introduces/uses the mathematical symbols <, > and =. These series of lessons could be followed up with the lessons on ordering and ordinal numbers 


Year 1 - Week 10 - Lesson 1 - Ordering numbers on VimeoWhite Rose Maths Ordering Numbers: A lesson on ordering number up to 100


Math & Learning Videos 4 Kids YouTube Channel Analytics and Report -  Powered by NoxInfluencer MobileMath and Learning Videos 4 Kids: This YouTube channel has lots of videos including Comparing Numbers and Greater Than, Less Than.


A caterpillar game!Caterpillar Ordering: Choose between ordering (where you put the given numbers in order) or sequencing (where you complete the sequence with the correct numbers from those given).  Has various levels including 1-100.


Coconut Ordering - Comparing Numbers, Prices, Mass, Length and ...Coconut Ordering: Hit the numbers in order of size. Select ‘numbers’ and then choose from numbers up to 10, up to 20, up to 100 (in tens) or up to 100 (any number).


Declan's Fun Facts!: very cool battle ship equivalent fractions on ...Battleship Numberline: Can you blow up the enemy submarines? This game starts very easy, where you must click the correct number on the number line, but then the game progresses in difficulty as the player must work out where a given number would be placed on the blank number line. Choose the whole number game.


Interactive Math Lesson | Place Value (Up to 99)I Know It! Play some of these activities Ordinal Numbers (Up to 10); Ordinal Numbers (Up to 20); Ordering Numbers Up To 20; Ordering Numbers Up To 100; Comparing Numbers to 20; Comparing Numbers to 100.


Jo Morgan on Twitter: "I've been playing with the website https://t.co/vfPh8oQbah  that I blogged about years ago. It lets you set students quizzes online.  Free to use and *no student logins requiredThat Quiz – Inequalities: Select the correct sign each time


SplashLearn for Android Devices Released - IssueWireSplash Learn – Counting and Comparison Games: Practice number word order, ordering numbers and comparing amounts. 


IXL | Maths and English Practice

Comparing: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. There are also some ordering games: order numbers up to 10; order numbers up to 30; order numbers up to 100; ordinal numbers up to 10th; ordinal numbers up to 100th 


Maths by Month – September (updated 2020)

Category : Uncategorized

Maths by Month is back!

As we embark on this new school year, and with all the uncertainties and possibilities that it may bring, rest assured that Edco Primary Maths and the Operation Maths blog will continue to support teachers, schools and families, along the way.

Central to this will be our Digging Deeper series of posts aimed at teachers and the ever-expanding series of Dear Family posts, aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home. In addition, for teachers who want to find out more about the Operation Maths program, check out the About Operation Maths posts.

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

To access lists of relevant links and online resources, navigate towards the end of the relevant Dear Family posts, for a whole suite of suggestions, organised into approximate class levels.

Don’t forget that integrated with your digital pupil books, are numerous custom-made digital resources to support each maths topic. Just click any of the hyper links while viewing the digital book (see example of purple icon below) to bring you direct to the relevant resource.

TIP! If there are any digital resources for a particular page, they will also be briefly given and described in the footer of that page (both print and digital books). 

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 (10-18 October) will all too quickly be upon us! And while it will be a very different celebration this year, with no public gatherings, it will still be possible to participate virtually. So why not 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 


Welcome to the Operation Maths blog!

The Operation Maths blog is a collection of articles offering support, guidance and tips for teachers, parents and families, whether they are Operation Maths users, or not. Many of the posts also contain links to other resources.

The posts fall into one of the following categories:

About Operation Maths: A series of posts, aimed at teachers unfamiliar with Operation Maths, that explore the programme in more detail, highlighting its rationale, purpose and features. 

Maths by Month: Posts which outline, on a month by month basis, the upcoming topics for that month, at each class level

Digging Deeper into… A series of posts, aimed at teachers, which delve deeper into the underlying mathematical concepts and pedagogy for each strand unit in the Primary Mathematics Curriculum (1999)

Dear Family: aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home, these posts provide brief guides to understanding each of the topics, practical suggestions, and links to digital resources, organised according to approximate class level.

About Operation Maths

A series of posts, aimed at teachers unfamiliar with Operation Maths, that explore the programme in more detail, highlighting its rationale, purpose and features. 

Maths by Month

Posts which outline, on a month by month basis, the upcoming topics for that month, at each class level

Digging Deeper into…

A series of posts, aimed at teachers, which delve deeper into the underlying mathematical concepts and pedagogy for each strand unit in the Primary Mathematics Curriculum (1999)

Dear Family

Aimed at parents and families, supporting children’s mathematical development at home, these posts provide brief guides to understanding each of the topics, practical suggestions, and links to digital resources, organised according to approximate class level. New Dear Family posts coming soon!

Operation Maths Splash 1

Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Data

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of data 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 data. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

Junior Infants to Second Class
You can also find class specific tips at the back of your child’s Operation Maths At Home book, for infants to second class, and in the Operation Maths Dear Family letters for third to sixth class.

Understanding Data

Data, as the name suggests, is all about information, and in maths it is about organising information in such a way that it is easy to read and interpret. Most of us are quite familiar with information from surveys, voting etc., presented in graphs, charts and tables in various print and digital media. But graphing is only one part of the data presentation and analysis process, and this process is essentially the same, whether at the junior or senior end of primary school, or even at a more advanced level of statistics:

  • It starts when someone ask a question, that doesn’t have an obvious and/or immediate answer. This could be a question like who do most people intend to vote for in the next election or what is the favourite colour of a group of people or which sweet occurs most often in a box.
  • Information is then collected relevant to the question. This may be collected via a digital or face-to-face survey. It may be collected from a large or small representative sample of people.
  • This collected information or data is represented in a structured way that makes it easier to read. This might be a type of graph, pie chart or table.
  • This represented data is then examined and compared (analysed and interpreted) in such a way as to be able to make statements about what it reveals and, in turn, to possibly answer the initial question; if the question remains unanswered, it may be necessary to re-start the process again, perhaps using different methods.

In the senior end of primary school the children will encounter more complex data and charts/graphs, while also analysing data in more complex ways, such as calculating the average (also know as mean), in 5th & 6th class, and identifying the most frequently occurring value in a data set (also known as mode) in 6th class.

Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

  • Let’s get organised! As mentioned earlier, data is all about organising information in an easy-to-interpret way. So any activities which involve sorting or organising can become a data analysis activity, for example:
    • What lollipop flavour/colour occurs most often in the bag (see image)? Ask your child to organise the lollipops in such a way that we can see the answer, without the need to count. This could be done with a box of wrapped sweets also, for example, Quality Street, Heroes, Celebrations etc. For more challenging questions, ask your child to tell you how many more/fewer of one type than another type.
    • What toy type do you have most of? When tidying up the toys, lay them out in rows alongside each other (parallel rows, similar to above), with the same type in each row. Of what toy type is there the most? The least?
    • Hat sort: Organise your hats into rows of winter hats and summer hats or hats with rims and hats without rims or even just according to colour. You can do something similar with other clothes types also.
    • You can also organise buttons or Lego pieces or building blocks in a similar way …. or any suitable material you may have at home.
  • Real-world examples: Anytime you come across any examples of the data process, share these experiences with your children. It could be completing a review (survey) for an online purchase or a holiday stay. It could be survey or election results you come across on the internet, radio or TV. If a graph is used, ask your child to tell you the type of graph it is and to tell you what they notice, or can tell, from the information shown.
  • League tables (soccer, GAA, rugby), are an ideal example of data presented in a table. Look at a table of results together, ask your child to interpret the information given, what it tells us, and what the various headings mean. Discuss an upcoming game: if your preferred team wins, how will that affect the table?
  • Planning a party and not sure what to do or where to go? Why not ask your child to survey his/her playmates with 3 or 4 possible options and then use the collated results to determine the destination?
  • Do a survey: You could do a traffic survey outside your house or a bird watch survey in your back garden. Or just encourage your child to come up with their own questions that they would like to answer. Survey your friends and family and then graph/present the collected information. Digital technologies (for example Microsoft Excel and Google Docs/Sheets) make it very easy to create a variety of very effective graph types.

Digital Resources for Infants

Fruit Fall Pictograph Game | 2nd Grade Math Games | Toy TheaterFruit Fall: A simple game where the fruit that is caught is laid out in rows on a grid.


Curious George . Hat Grab | PBS KIDSCurious George – Hat Grab: Help George grab hats to make a graph


I Know It - Home | FacebookI Know It – Reading Picture Graphs:  A review game/quiz. You can also try out a similar quiz here on block graphs.


IXL | Maths and English Practice

Graphs: 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

Picture graphs (video) | Khan AcademyKhan Academy – Picture Graphs: Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics.


SoftSchools: Free online games, worksheets and quizzes | Paths to ...Pictograph Game 


Interactive Math Lesson | Reading Bar GraphsI Know It – Reading Picture Graphs:  A review game/quiz. You can also try out a quiz here on basic bar graphs and more advanced bar graphs.


KS2 Maths Quizzes for Primary School Students - Years 3 to 6

Handling Data – Quiz: Test yourself on what you know about data. Another similar quiz is also available here.


ThatQuiz.org | Amazing automatic quiz generator! Awesome fun ...

That Quiz – Graphs: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. From the options on the left hand side select pictogram, how many, difference, minimum, maximum, easier content. Do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, and/or choose normal content.


IXL | Maths and English PracticeIXL.com – Graphs: a selection of interactive quizzes. 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

Pie ChartMaths is Fun – Data: Background information on using and handling data.


Represent and interpret data | 3rd grade | Math | Khan AcademyKhan Academy – Data: A unit of work including video tutorials and practice questions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other areas and/or try more difficult material.


ThatQuiz.org | Amazing automatic quiz generator! Awesome fun ...That Quiz – Graphs: 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 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 lots of different types of activities: it automatically starts on bar charts, and you can choose pictogram, line (trend graph), circle (pie chart), multi-bar also. There are many question options also: plot, how many, difference, minimum, maximum, mean (average, 5th up) and mode (6th class).


This is an image from this resource on the Internet4Classrooms ...Softschools.com – Tally Chart Game:  on this site you can also answer questions on a Favourite Colours Bar Chart, and Favourite Vegetables Bar Chart


nteractive Math Lesson | Interpreting Bar GraphsI Know It – Graphing: A bar graph interactive quiz


Bar Charts - MathsframeBar Charts: From Maths Frame, answer the questions on both vertical and horizontal bar charts; it also has both one-step and two-step questions. 


How to Make a Simple Graph or Chart in ExcelHow to make a graph using MS Excel: a tutorial


Insert Graphs in Google Docs Using Google Sheets - YouTubeHow to make a graph using Google Docs/sheets: a video tutorial.


ITP Line Graph - MathsframeInteractive programme to create line (trend) graphs


ITP Data Handling - MathsframeInteractive programme to create bar/pie charts 


Create a Graph Classic-NCES Kids' ZoneCreate a Graph: Online graph creation facility that also allows you to print finished product.


Digging Deeper into ... Representing and Interpreting Data (3rd ...Averages and Bar Models: Video tutorial on how bar models can be used to solve problems involving averages.


I Know It – Averages: A quiz on calculating averages


KS2 Maths Quizzes for Primary School Students - Years 3 to 6Handling Data – Quiz: Test yourself on what you know about data


IXL | Maths and English Practice

IXL.com – Graphs: a selection of interactive quizzes. 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.) 


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