Maths Software Evaluation Checklist

How to Evaluate Maths AppsMaths software comes in many different shapes and sizes. From apps on ipads, to online services such as Mathletics or MyMaths. From online maths games to installed software on your local computer network. As budgets get tighter and the choice of maths software grows greater every day, we need to really think carefully about the needs of the children and the school. To help with this I've put together a checklist of questions to ask when evaluating maths software.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Learning Styles in Maths

Maths Learning StylesBased on recent studies, two distinct maths learning styles have been identified for children learning maths. The characteristics of these two styles are often classified by the labels or terms “inchworm” or “grasshopper”,“quantative” or ”qualitative” and “sequential” or “holistic”. It is helpful for teachers to be familiar with these two distinct learning styles in order to use the teaching style to match the needs of the pupil.

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Overcoming Problems in Maths

Overcoming Problems in MathsChildren struggle with maths for many different reasons. If we, as teachers, can identify exactly where the problem lies and then address it, barriers can be overcome resulting in confident young mathematicians. I've attempted to categorise the types of problems in maths and then idetify possible solutions to these problems.

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Supporting Dyslexia and Dyscalculia in Maths

Supporting Dyscalculus in MathsDyslexic learners often have difficulties with the language of mathematics, sequencing, orientation and memory, rather than with the mathematics itself. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. This article identifies ways in which these types of learners learn differently and strategies that can be put in place to help.

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NCTM Illuminations Maths Resources

Illuminations Maths ResourcesThe National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in the US has produced a plethora of interactive resources to improve the teaching and learning of maths for everyone. The ITPS (interactive teaching programs) are available for both KS1 and KS2 maths and can be used by teachers and pupils alike. Each resource has a thumbnail, a description and a link to the relevant resource.

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Maths Across the Curriculum

Maths across curriculumMaths skills are consolidated and enhanced when pupils have opportunities to apply and develop them across the curriculum. Poor maths skills hold back pupils' progress and can lower their self-esteem. Improving these skills can be tackled on a whole school basis by ensuring mathematical skills are used across the curriculum so that pupils become confident at tackling maths in any context.

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Handy Times Tables

Handy times tablesFor those kinaesthetic learners (the ones that learn by doing and can remember movements more easily than words) here is a handy method for finding the harder multiplication facts from the six, seven, eight and nine times tables. It involves memorising a routine but the routine is something to do, rather than something to say.

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Scratch Maths

Scratch mathsScratchMaths is a two-year computing and mathematics-based curriculum for Key Stage 2 pupils (Years 5 and 6). Its aim is to enable pupils to engage with and explore important mathematical ideas through learning to program, using the free online programming environment Scratch. The ScratchMaths curriculum is currently being used in over 50 schools across England.

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Problem Solving using Bar Models

Here in the UK, we have a myriad of different approaches in solving word problems in maths. In Singapore Maths, students use a bar model to solve word problems. They take the problem apart and then create a representation of it using simple blocks. This then helps them understand the problem better and creates a lot higher success rate in solving word problems.

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BBC Megamaths

BBC MegamathsBBC Megamaths is a series of eight audio programmes which were broadcast on BBC radio in 2011. They are aimed at children aged 7 - 9 and the emphasis is on mental maths and problem solving. There are seven different themes covered mainly all to do with measure which include time, money, capacity, length, weight, fractions and decimals.

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Helping your child with maths

Over the years I've been asked "How can we help our child with their maths?" many times. There are lots of things that parents can do to help develop their children's maths skills. The activities included here are free and found in everyday situations, so no need to buy any books or spend money on expensive resources.

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Teaching Logic through Sudoku

Teaching Logic through SudokuSudoku is a great way for children to develop their logic skills whilst having fun at the same time. To solve a Sudoku puzzle, students needs to use a combination of logic and trial-and-error. Regular Sudoku is a 9 by 9 grid but these simpler puzzles are on a 4 by 4 grid, making the game easier to understand and beat, before moving onto the larger grids.

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Ways to use the Counting Stick

Ways to use the Counting StickThe counting stick is a very versatile tool for teaching maths to primary aged children. Whilst sometimes seen as a tool for teaching foundation and KS1 children, it still has many uses when teaching both lower and upper key stage 2 classes. I've included here a number of techniques that can be used across different types of numbers including decimals, fractions, percentages and negative numbers.

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Reasoning in the classroom

Reasoning in the classroomA key skill in becoming fully numerate (and to becoming an independent adult) is the ability to make your own decisions and learn from them. This key skill is central to these activities: they have been developed to allow learners to choose their own methods and ways of recording, then present their findings in whichever way they decide.

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Logical Thinking Detectives

Logical thinking detectivesHere is a series of activities to develop logical thinking and listening skills for KS2 children. The resource includes 5 video interviews which the students watch to gather clues. They then use the database to input the information they have gathered and search for a culprit. They can also use the virtual PDA to examine the files of all criminals held on the database.

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Times table colouring

Times table colouringA great way to learn times table facts is by making it fun and getting children colouring. These times table colouring sheets are great for reinforcement and make a great starter or filler activity. Children enjoy working out the puzzles and use their times tables knowledge to do this. These sheets are suitable for use across a wide ability and age range.

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Maths SATs Organiser

Maths SATs organisersDo you struggle with identifying each child's areas of weakness in maths? Wouldn't it be great if you could let them decide on which topic they'd like to practise and then leave them to it. Child initiated learning at its very best! This fabulous tool from Mr Hammonds does just that.

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Maven's Maths Mysteries

Mavens Maths MysteriesThe Maths Maven is always finding herself in the middle of a fun new mystery — and she counts on her "super sleuths" to crack the case. This website has 27 different audio visual maths puzzles for children across the KS2 age range. Each mystery focuses on a particular area of math reasoning and problem solving.

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Maffy's Best Numbers

Maffy's Best NumbersMaffy's Best Numbers was written and produced by the Resources and Learning Development Unit in Bristol back in the 1980's with the help of local schools and teachers. It consists of maths related puzzles, problems, investigations and games that are suitable for children in primary and secondary schools.

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Maths Starters for KS2

Maths StartersThese resources are really useful for the KS2 maths class. Each of the resources share three things in common: you can generate an infinite number of questions, you get all the answers and they are completely free! You can use them for maths starters, for revision, as part of a carousel of activities or to print out for worksheets.

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Classroom Posters for Primary Maths

Primary Maths PostersHere are a selection of fabulous maths posters for the primary school classroom. Based on problems from the nrich site, they are well suited for display around the school to challenge more able children and to embed mathematical thinking around the school. The maths posters are for both KS1 maths and KS2 maths.

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Teaching Maths Using Robots

Sphero is a robot ball with several features that can be controlled through mobile apps, including computer programs that the students build. Sphero can roll at a given speed and direction for a given amount of time and it can light up in any color. Its really fun for the children to program and includes mathematical concepts such as angles, distance, speed and shape.

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Maths Problem Pictures

Maths Problem PicturesMaths Problem Pictures are about bringing mathematics to life with photographs. Striking photographs are combined with original questions and problems to challenge students at all levels. Although they are aimed at more able students, some of them will be accessible by primary maths students.

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Teaching Finance at Primary School

Teaching finance at primary schoolAccording to research, the average age that children start to purchase items online is 10. So we need to teach them about finanical matters. Luckily, there are resources available to allow us to do this. Cha-Ching is a financial education resource, designed to equip primary school children with the knowledge, skill and attitudes they need to make informed money decisions.

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Intel Primary Maths Resources

Intel Primary Maths ResourcesHere are a 24 interactive maths lessons, created by Intel, covering many areas of the KS1 and KS2 programme of study including number, statistics, shape & space and measure. They have also been added to the Primary Maths Resources section and sorted into the correct year group objective. The lessons include three elements - learn, test and review.

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Laying the Foundations for Algebra

Laying the foundations for algebraAlgebra is about putting real life problems into equations and then solving them. Although formal algebra does not really start until Key Stage 3, primary schools can lay the lay the foundations for algebra in Key Stages 1 and 2 by providing early activities based on algebra from which later work in algebra can develop.

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National Numeracy Strategy ITPs

NNS ITPsThese National Numeracy Strategy Interactive Teaching Programs (NNS ITPs) were developed in 2002 to help with the teaching of maths in UK Primary Schools. There are 32 NNS ITPs in total and many are still useful for maths teaching in classrooms today. They are ideal for class or small group teaching and cover many areas of numeracy incuding number, shape, measure and statistics.

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Maths Curriculum KS1

Maths Curriculum KS1The KS1 Maths Curriculum is focused on ensuring that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numbers, words and the four operations, often taught at this early age using practical resources. This article provides an indepth overview of the maths curriculum at KS1.

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Mathematics Problem Solving Strategies

Anyone who has taught maths for any length of time will know how difficult it can be to teach pupils to solve maths problems out of context. Present pupils with a familiar setting or a sum that they've tackled before then they're usually fine, but turn it into an unfamiliar problem then it's a different matter. However, in the same ways that we teach strategies for other areas of maths, we can also teach strategies to solve maths problems.

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Progression in Mathematics at Primary School

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) have published a series of videos, powerpoints and supplementary material to demonstrate the progression of mathematics teaching and learning at primary school. There are 60 short videos, filmed during 2012-2013, which demonstrate how to teach mathematics at primary school.

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KS2 Maths SATs Threshold

KS2 Maths SATs ThresholdKS2 Maths SATs Threshold tables can sometimes be hard to find so here they are collected together for ease of use. These thresholds used to determine what levels to assign to year 6 children when completing the KS2 SATs tests. SATs were introduced in 2003 and the thresholds were discontinued when levels were discontinued in 2016 but they've been collated here for your convenience.

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Maths races

Maths racesHere's a variety of numeracy and PE games to make maths more active and to help those kinaesthetic learners do what they do best - learn by doing. In these games, the class is split up into two teams and they run races against each other based on the maths questions that you call out. The games can be adapted many different ways and differentiated as you see fit by pairing children of similar ability against each other.

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Primary Maths Resources

Primary Maths ResourcesThese free Primary Maths Resources, which are based on the current UK National Curriculum Year Group objectves, are fully searchable and sorted into different categories, including number and place value, the four operations, fractions, measurements, properties of shapes, position and direction, statistics, ratio and proportion, and algebra. It is a useful companion to my other APP maths objective planning tool.

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Maths games without computers

If you do an internet search for Maths Games you will find lots of maths games that can be played on a computer. But what if you don't have a computer or if the children in your class are all "computered out"? Here is a collection of maths games that can be played using either no resources, or simple resources that are around the classroom.

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Gordons Numeracy Teaching Resources

Gordons numeracy ITPsHere are over 100 simple Flash resources to support the teaching and learning of Maths. These are produced by the Coventry Primary Numeracy Team for use by teachers and pupils and are known as Gordons (due to the little superhero character included within them). They are ideal for class or small group teaching and cover the majority of areas of the primary maths curriculum.

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Missing money grid

Missing Money GridA printable worksheet which helps to develop KS2 children's monetary skills. The children have to work out what the missing coins are which add up to the totals of all the columns and rows. Teachers can click on the coins themselves to remove them and generate their own worksheets using random coins. This can be left on the whiteboard screen whilst the children have printable copies themselves to work through. When the children are finished, they can mark their own work by revealing the missing coins on the Interactive Whiteboard.

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Primary KS1 and KS2 Sublevelled maths objectives

Maths objectivesThis Maths planning tool, which is based on the UK National Curriculum APP levels, is fully searchable and categorised into different assessment focuses, including number, fractions, decimals, percentages, problem solving, shape, measures, time, angles and data handling. It gives you the sublevel for every single Maths objective and is useful to ensure coverage of the UK national curriculum.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall