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Mudeford JuniorSchool

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Mudeford JuniorSchool

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Helping Your Child

When children bring homework home or they show their parents what mathematics work they have been working on in class many parents notice that their children are using different calculation strategies and methods than those they used when at school. Some parents find these methods completely alien to those they used. At Mudeford Junior School learning and teaching is based on the objectives specified in the Primary National Strategy for Mathematics and the National Curriculum and this has developed the way we teach calculation methods.

We place a far greater emphasis on the development of mental maths skills enabling children to work things out in their head and this in turn helps them to develop the use of effective written methods. Children are then given opportunities to use and apply mathematics in real life situations. 

For more information on how your child will be taught the written methods for the four number operations go to the number section of the Numeracy Curriculum pages or click here.

How else you can help your child with their mathematics

Multiplication Facts/Timestables

Knowing timestables is very important. When children know their timestables they can make connections between different areas of mathematics and also work out answers quickly in their head. There is so much of the mathematics curriculum based on timestables, therefore it is very important that your child knows the timestables up to 10x10 and the corresponding division facts. 
Although this seems like a lot to practise, you can use the commutative law and swap numbers around in multiplication and still get the same answer:
If you know 3 x 4 = 12 then you also know 4 x 3 = 12 

You can then use this known fact for the corresponding division facts 12 ÷ 3 = 4 and 12 ÷ 4 = 3 
You will use your times table regularly when you are an adult so know them off by heart now will really help you for years to come. A game below called Hit The Button is a very useful and fun way to practise timestables and the associated division facts, but there are lots of other ways to help your child with their tables:
  • Try to practise each table for at least 5 minutes and remember to say the whole number sentence, not just the answers. Keep repeating.
  • It is best to start on the x1, x2, x5 and x10 tables first, but after learning these find patterns and doubles. For example, if your child is learning or knows the x2 table, they can use doubling facts to calculate the x4 table.
  • Once they have learnt a timestable, pose quick-fire questions for them that are out of order. Make sure they use their knowledge of other table facts to work out trickier ones. For example, if they know 4 x 6 = 24, they can just double to find 8 x 6.
  • Revisit previously learnt facts. Don't asume they will remember them, they need to be practised still.
  • Make sure that you use a range of vocabulary for multiplication: times, lots of, sets of.
  • Use a range of vocabulary — times, multiply, lots of, sets of….
  • If they are stuggling on a certain table, then make it fun, use internet games, rhymes, silly voices, songs, board games, pictures etc.
  • Use muliplication squares (see the Multiplication Facts document below) to assist them. But don't become reliant on them. To use a multiplication square, choose a number from the first column and a number from the first row. Follow the row and column until they meet in the middle, for example, 6 x 7 = 42.
  • Try blanking out some of the numbers on the multiplication square. Does your child know what numbers are missing?
  • Look for patterns in the tables, which calculations have similar answers?
  • Look for the inverse corresponding division facts.


Addition Facts/Number Bonds

The concept of a number bond is very basic, yet it is a fundamental foundation for understanding how numbers work. It is the relationship between a number and the parts that combine to make it.

A whole (lets say 5) is made up of parts, this could be: 1 add 4, or 2 add 3, or 5 add 0. All these parts or pairs of numbers can be added to make the whole (5) e.g. 1 + 4 = 5. You can also use the commutative law to swap the numbers around in addition, so for example if we know 1 + 4 = 5 then you also know 4 + 1 = 5.

Also, if you know the whole (5) and one of the parts (4), you take away (subtract) the part you know to find the other part (1). For example, you know 5 - 4 = 1, but you also know 5 - 1 = 4.

Number bonds let children see the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction. Subtraction is not a totally different thing from addition - it means to work out how much more you need to add to get the whole.
Take a look at the Addition Facts booklet below for an idea on which addition facts to learn. Once children understand the basics of number bonds they can use this knowledge for bigger and trickier numbers. For example if they know 1 + 4 = 5, they can use this to work out 10 + 40 = 50, or 100 + 400 = 500  and the inverse 50 - 10 = 40, or  500 - 100 = 400.

For basic number bond work you could try:
  • Using your ten fingers and hold up a few, how many more are needed to make 10. Write the 2 addition and 2 subtraction sums down and talk about the association with the numbers.
  • Use two dice and make number bonds to 10. Ignore those that make 11 or 12. 
  • Use three dice and make number bonds to 20.
  • Spot patterns between number bonds. For example, number bonds to 7 are similar to 17. 3 + 4 = 7, and 2 + 5 = 7, but also 13 + 4 = 17 and 12 + 5 = 17.
  • Play bingo. Your child chooses 5 numbers that are below 20 (so number bonds to 20). You say a number (13) and they need to work out which number is needed to make it to 20 (7). If the have 7 then they cross it off.
  • Try using internet games such as Hit the Button and Number Bonds Machine, see links below

Mathematics at home and outside


  • Count a range of different items around the house or outside with your child. Make mistakes when you count and see if your child can correct you. Start at different numbers, count in different intervals (2, 4, 6 etc), count forwards and backwards, miss items out and miss the number out. Touch some items, which is easier, then count items which cannot be touched. Find groups of items, can your child predict how many items there are, then count them together.
  • Ask your child how they work out different things and get them to explain why they do it that way and their thinking. This can open up a great discussion and give you an insight into the way they use different strategies.
  • When shopping, select two or three items and ask your child to add them together. What change will they recieve from a certain amount?
  • Arrange a day trip. Look at the details on the internet and ask your child to arrange how much it'll cost to enter for the family, spending money, distance to travel and times to set-off.
  • Use a TV guide to work out how long the length of your child's favourite TV programmes add up to. How about if you take one programme off? How much TV will be watched over the weekend?
  • Get you child to help you bake a cake. Use the equipment accurately and help them with measuring the ingredients. Talk about the scales on the equipment. What happens if we need more cake as two more people are coming to tea. How do you scale the recipe up or even down?
  • Use a train or bus timetable. How long does the journey take? What happens if you need to change? What happens if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and the bus or train is late? Which is the best to take? Go on the journey to show your child.
  • Talk about different shapes and angles around the house. Play guess the shape (a bit like 'I Spy.' You describe a shape and they spot it in the room).
  • Look for symmetry and rotational items in the house and in nature.
  • Involve them in DIY. Measure lengths, heights and weights using lots of different measuring equipment. Do things fit into certain places or through things? Do you have enough equipment? Can they predict heights, lengths or weights?
  • Use the house clocks and much as possible, both analogue and digit. Make your child in charge of the time for the day and give them a list of times that you need to be at places. Use a stopwatch to time different activities during the day. Predict how long it may take first. How much longer or shorter did it take?

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