Big Maths and Little Big Maths
Little Big Maths is a teaching method that makes Maths progress in the Early Years easy and fun for children. It follows the same basic principles of Big Maths (see below). Little Big Maths ensures there is a focus on progression within the context of the child’s play, self-discovery and personal learning journey. It provides a seamless transition into the Big Maths programme that is followed by the rest of school. Children are provided with a fun and lively experience as they learn with jingles, songs, games and the Big Maths Characters.
Big Maths is a teaching programme to help children to become numerate and to have a real sense of number. The objectives are clearly matched to the National Curriculum objectives for Year 1 and 2. Following the Big Maths programme ensures common methods and language are used throughout the school. All concepts are taught in a progressive way with children being aware what the ‘next step’ is and how attainable that is. The children are constantly building on prior learning and this ensures that they can use and apply their knowledge to something ‘trickier’. There is a strong emphasis on developing instant recall of number facts, including number bonds and times tables. This helps the children manipulate numbers and become more confident and successful at maths. Big Maths lessons are fast-paced and fun!
As part of our school’s math instruction, every KS1 class has a daily CLIC session lasting about 20 minutes. CLIC stands for ‘Counting’, ‘Learn Its’, ‘It’s Nothing New’ and ‘Calculation’. Please note that after the CLIC session the children move onto the main maths lesson. This may involve working on something that they have covered in the CLIC session, problem solving or working on ‘wider maths’ concepts such as shape, measure, fractions or data handling.
The counting element involves regular practice in the classroom. This begins with counting forwards and backwards in ones during the Foundation Year to counting in 10’s, 5’s, 2’s in Year One. Then in Year Two children begin to make links with counting in 20’s, 50’s, 100’s. When practising counting at home, make sure your child goes forwards and backwards. Don’t always start at 0 – make sure they can count back from 75 to 46, for example.
‘Learn Its’ are addition facts and times tables facts. These are facts that children need to learn off by heart, so when they are asked ‘What is 6+4 ?’ they are able to give the answer as quickly as they would be able to tell you their name. As soon as they know 3x5=15 they also know 5x3=15 (this is known as a ‘Switcher’).
It’s Nothing New
This is the most important aspect of CLIC. It is the way children become successful and properly numerate. The idea that 5 things and 3 things are always 8 things is a fundamental concept. Once children understand this concept, we can change the ‘thing’ to other units (e.g. ‘tens’, so that 5 tens + 3 tens = 8 tens). Children begin to learn the concept by counting random units (e.g. bananas, aliens, cats etc). It then becomes much easier to use standard measures (such as ml, m, cm, kg) whilst understanding the underlying number concepts.
Pim the Alien is used to reinforce this concept. He has 3 arms + 4 arms = 7 arms and he has 3 hands + 4 hands = 7 hands. And on each hand he has 10 fingers, so that 3 groups of 10 fingers + 4 groups of 10 fingers = 7 groups of 10 fingers, which means that 3 tens + 4 tens = 7 tens, and 30 + 40 = 70.
Following this principle with young children leads to a deeper understanding and of how numbers work (and they think it is fun too!). The idea is that really the learning ‘is nothing new’ and children feel able to answer all sorts of questions with real understanding (e.g. If a child knows double 4, they can use that to find double 40 with confidence).
This aspect of CLIC is when we focus on developing the children’s understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Big Maths maps out which steps children should do in a clear order and helps teachers to identify where to go back to if a child needs extra support. The strategies we use involve use of objects, such as counters; the use of equipment, such as number lines or 100 squares; mental methods where the children use known facts and written methods.
‘Learn Its’ by Year Group
Your child’s teacher will focus on the following learning facts in each age group:
* Reception ~ Doubles of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 2+1 = 3, 2+3 = 5 and multiples of 10 (counting)
* Year 1 ~ Doubles of 6, 7, 8, 9, 2+8=10, 3+7=10, 4+6=10, 4+2=6, 5+2=7, 6+2=8, 7+2=9, 9+2=11, 4+3=7, 5+3=8, 6+3=9 and multiples of 5 and 2 (counting)
* Year 2 ~ 3+8, 3+9, 4+7, 4+8, 4+9, 4+5, 5+6, 6+7, 7+8, 8+9, 5+9, 6+9, 7+9, 5+7, 5+8, 6+8 and x2, x5, x10 tables
Please make sure your child practises regularly at home to make sure they really do know their Learn Its and their Switchers with INSTANT RECALL (without counting on fingers!).
Big Maths Beat That
Big Maths ‘Beat That’ is a weekly timed quiz of your child’s Learn Its in KS1. The aim is to improve their score each time. You can help your child to improve their scores, by asking them to give you instant responses to Learn Its while at home, on the journey to school and throughout the day at weekends! Little but very often is the key to success as this helps the information become secure in the long term memory.
How can you help?
Big Maths is a very useful tool to help children become numerate… but we need your support at home.
* Help your child practise their Learn Its – a few minutes every day is all you need.
* Insist that numbers are written the correct way round.
* Congratulate your child if their Big Maths score goes up!
* Make maths a positive experience and not something to worry about or be afraid of!
If you have any questions or concerns, please see your child’s class teacher in the first instance, or Mrs Moore, the school’s Maths Leader.