Aims of the Subject
Mathematics is an essential skill for life and at Kingshott we aim to give each child the best possible grounding in the subject. We want to produce children who are confident in manipulating numbers and able to see patterns. We want them to master basic techniques and be able to use them to solve more complex problems. We also want the children to have a thorough knowledge of shapes, angles and statistics, so that they can use this knowledge whenever necessary in life. Maths helps to give our world meaning and, wherever possible, we try to link topics to real life so that the children can see the relevance of what they are learning. We also want our children to enjoy maths, so we ensure that a lot of fun is thrown in!
In the early years much of the assessment is done by the teacher asking questions and marking the work produced. Gradually, as the children get older we introduce more formal assessment methods, such as end of topic tests. When the children reach the Middle School they sit more formal assessments in Maths in the Summer Term, as well as completing end of topic tests and round ups. In the Senior School there are end of term tests and a summative assessment at the end of year exams in June.
Teaching techniques do of course vary from class to class and topic to topic, but teacher led learning is very much at the heart of what we do and this, combined with small group sizes, is the secret of our success. Up until and including Year 4, the children are taught in their form groups, but much differentiation occurs within these groups. From Year 5 through to Year 8, mathematics is taught in sets. This really helps to get the level of challenge and speed of learning at just the right level for each child, supports them to be the best they can and is our secret to producing some fine mathematicians. Typical lessons may involve practical work, investigative work, small group work, computer consolidation, written exercises, whole class discussion work, surveys or problem solving tasks.
Use of ICT within the Subject
ICT is a powerful tool in this modern era and the Mathematics Department makes good use of it. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard which is used to demonstrate the concepts being taught. On the interactive board, games can be played, graphs created easily, circles drawn with electronic compasses and shapes can be dragged into place, to name just a few things. The children are frequently invited to come up to the board to actively take part in the learning process. Various software packages and maths websites help to consolidate and test key concepts, and also add some fun to the curriculum.
Throughout the year the children take part in various mathematical competitions. In November, children in Years 5 and 6 take part in the Primary Maths Challenge, which is a national competition. The challenge itself involves answering problem solving style questions. Our highest scorers often go through to the Primary Maths Challenge Finals round, which takes place in February.
In Years 7 and 8 the children are entered into the Junior Maths Challenge competition, which is also a national event and takes place in April each year. Our highest scorers frequently qualify for the Junior Maths Olympiad, which takes place in May/June each year.
In March we celebrate "World Maths Day", along with thousands of other children from across the globe. The children compete in various online mental arithmetic challenges and in real time are pitched in mathematical battle with children from countries such as Australia, Mexico and Russia. This always produces a huge buzz of excitement around the school.
Annual activities like a Times Tables Competition or a dedicated problem solving Maths Day ensure Mathematics remains on the forefront and achievement in maths is continuously celebrated.
They acquire good mathematical skills from an early age, and manipulate numbers and understand mathematical vocabulary at a high level.