At the start of Year 1, children are enthusiastic ‘beginning’ mathematicians. They have an understanding of the basic concepts of number, shape and measurement, and see mathematics as an exciting and practical element of the curriculum. They develop their knowledge, skills and understanding through a balance of wholeclass activity. This involves, for example, counting, direct teaching, problem solving in groups and independent work, where children apply and practise their learning. A mix of mental, practical and informal written work engages and motivates children and fosters purposeful attitudes to mathematics. Home–school mathematics links are an important part of children’s experiences.
Children solve problems in a variety of practical contexts. They talk about the problem that they are going to solve and use practical materials, numbers and diagrams to represent and organise the problem. For example, to find the total number of children seated at five tables of four, they use toys or tally marks to represent the children at each table before recording the numbers involved. They solve the problem then place the answer back in the context of the problem: ‘There are 20 children sitting down.’
Children understand how to represent number stories by number sentences. For example, they represent the number story ‘Eleven people are on a bus and three get off; there are eight people left on the bus’ by the number sentence 11 – 3 = 8. They use the +, – and = signs to write number sentences to record mental calculations. They begin to find the unknown number represented by a symbol in number sentences such as 17 – 10 = , + 2 = 6 and 3 = 7 – .
Children solve problems involving ‘paying’ and ‘giving change’. For example, they work out different ways of paying for an apple costing 6p using 1p and 2p coins. As they work with numbers and shapes, they identify and use patterns and properties. For example, they notice that all shapes with three sides have three...
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