If your child is very good at maths, when/how was it spotted at school?

(42 Posts)
blueberryupsidedown Tue 21-May-13 13:31:30

DS is in year 1, just turned 6, and he is very good at maths. I could give numerous examples, but I don't want to boast so you will have to take my word for it. He is very good at understanding maths concepts (percentages, fractions), spotting patterns, adding/subtracting in his head (he can add three, three digit numbers), measuring and comparing distances, map reading, etc etc. I spoke to his teacher a couple of times about this since he started year 1 and raised it at parents evenings, but all she said is to write down any extra work we do at home in his work book. Trouble is, she doesn't seem to adapt any work at all to his capability. I don't want to make a fuss over it and I am happy to support his learning at home, but would appreciate if other parents could tell me how it works at their school/classes. Will it just come later on when he is older? Or not at all? Thank you!

motherstongue Thu 23-May-13 00:28:07

Interesting how many of the posts are about boys! My DS was picked up in nursery, was tested early on in 1st year of school and got extension work all through state school. Got a scholarship to independent at 9 mainly due to his maths but a year into his new school the science teacher said although he was super at maths he felt his real talent lay in science and he just didn't know it yet. This was very true. From being a child obsessed with maths, the broader curriculum of more in depth science and also the classics gave him new dimensions to discover. Always got golds in the junior maths challenges though and recently got a gold in the intermediate maths challenge with a call back for the top 500 kids, however, he professes to dislike, in his words, wordy algebra maths and has o intention of doing it as an A level. I echo those who have commented on language skills. My experience is that as their language improves so does the maths as they are better able to explain and understand

Mominatrix Wed 22-May-13 14:59:35

Reception. He was placed in a year wide (across 4 classes) special session for children who were similarly ahead in maths.

dd grew up obsessed with numbers (and reading) from tiny but it wasnt until secondary school that they really really came to terms with it. Our philosophy as well as the schools is expansion, not acceleration. So now she works off curriculum doing extended maths problems and is very happy.

nrich is a great place to start.

Moominsarehippos Wed 22-May-13 14:52:53

DS is faster in maths than I am. I'm pretty good at the mensa maths questions (its all patterns really) and he is quicker (in his head) at doing them than me and his dad. He's 8!

School just says 'he's really really good at maths, isn't he?'.

DS is sitting H Maths as I type. confused

Cat98 Wed 22-May-13 14:34:37

My ds is still in reception and is doing things like multiplying 2 digit numbers.. He was spotted at the beginning of the year by his fabulous teacher and she tries to differentiate. I don't know if we should be doing more at home but at the moment he's content doing maths problems before bed (and giving me some to do as well!)
His mental calculation speed isn't far off mine really. I am not amazing at maths ('b' grade at gcse) but he is only just 5.
With other topics he is bright but not exceptional. I don't know what to do with him really!

blueberryupsidedown Wed 22-May-13 11:48:34

Oh and thanls DeWe, I will show this to him tonight and see what he says!

blueberryupsidedown Wed 22-May-13 11:47:48

Thanks Guinevere, it's very interesting. How old is he?

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Wed 22-May-13 11:41:42

blueberry - it doesn't sound to me like you have anything to worry about. If he has dvd & global dyspraxia it's going to be more important that he gets his expressive language and writing skills to the level that he can properly demonstrate his mathematical ability. If he already "thinks maths" it doesn't really matter whether or not he's being given specific stretching mathematical tasks at school.

I do understand your frustration, though. My ds2 also has dvd and although I've witnessed an aptitude for understanding mathematical concepts, he struggles as yet to express numbers verbally. So he's been stuck doing pretty basic numeracy tasks and likely will be for a little while yet.

DeWe Wed 22-May-13 10:43:50

There isn't a smallest negative number.

If he thinks of the smallest negative number you can always give one smaller. It doesn't stop suddenly.

The thing is you do get negative infinity, but infinity is a concept, the numbers approach +/- infinity, but never actually get there.

For example, if you want to work out what 1 divided by infinity is, then you look at what happens as you increase the bottom number: So you have 1/1>1/2>1>3 >...1/999>....>1/922746856>... so the numbers are getting smaller and smaller, and closer and closer to 0. So what we would say is that as n approaches infinity, 1/n approaches 0.

Hope that helps at a basic level.

blueberryupsidedown Wed 22-May-13 09:53:13

Yes DS has Dyspraxia and developmental verbal dyspraxia, and he finds it hard to express himself. I think that's partly the problem. I will give a few examples of what he does at home, and it's very similar to other children here, but I think it's not reflected at school:
- yesterday at bath/bedtime he played 'what's a quarter of' and then 'what's an eight of' and figured out that an eight is a half of a quarter, and that a quarter is a half of a half.
- He will say things like 'if you add two odd numbers together it will always make an even number. And if double any number it will always be an even number, even if the number that you double is odd.'
- They are learning how to use number lines at school, but they do it with single numbers. He made his own number lines for three-digit numbers and his numberlines has mini-lines so he can figure out how to add two digit and three digit numbers quicker.
- As others above, he will say things like 'it's 9:27, so it's 33 minutes before it's ten o'clock'
- For his birthday he wanted a compass. He read the instructions on how to use it and can now tell where North is, and north east, and north north east, etc
-He will say things like 'if you split a square in quarters, you either get four squares with all equal sides, or four triangles with all equal sides.'

It's hard to translate these thoughts into actual progress at school, so I suppose it will either come later or not at all, I suppose. But it's difficult to avoid because he is always thinking in numbers.

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Wed 22-May-13 09:24:55

Ds1 is now yr4, and whilst you wouldn't describe him as a maths genius, he is certainly very able. He loves maths and will happily do it for fun with me (it's my favourite activity to do with him blush).

In reception and yr1 he was pretty abysmal at the subject though.

Ds2 is yr1 and currently bottom table maths and has needed extra support. He has had to overcome a speech/language disorder and it hasn't been helped by him being one of the youngest in the year. However, it's all suddenly starting to come together and I'd be surprised if he's any less able than his brother in the long term.

richmal Wed 22-May-13 07:35:39

DD's maths was never spotted at school.
I now home educate.
IME I would say as well as teaching maths concepts it is equally important to encourage children to think how to solve problems for themselves.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Tue 21-May-13 23:24:32

Picked up following baseline test on computer in yr. scores exceeded the range that the other 89 fell in. Loves maths, loves board games. Was asked to count in twos to 20 at school and went to 100 before explaining the pattern to them (nobody had taught him this). In nursery mid rant i said we were running late as i'd wanted to leave at 8.05 and he looked at the clock and said '8.08 we're 3 minutes late already'.... That was when i realised there was something unusual....
School set him some extra challenges and don't make him sit through the counting to 20 lesson.

insanityscratching Tue 21-May-13 23:13:01

Ds found A level maths tedious but enjoyed further maths. He didn't pursue maths after A levels either but his logical approach and his astounding memory has been very useful in his chosen career

xyx Tue 21-May-13 22:15:53

Working with numbers to 100 in reception, Y1 but moved school in y2 and put in bottom set, perhaps a bit quiet in his new class, not showing what he could do? Anyway I was shocked and said something to the effect that this must be a truly amazing class, put it on a bit. But it worked. Within a week in the top set, L6 SAT last year. Interestingly not so great at English, 5c now at end of y7, but never placed in the wrong set at any point! I know another child who scraped a L3 at the end of year 2, getting his mark through the sums rather than the worded questions iyswim. Perhaps you could ask the teacher about whether your DC is similar? Good luck!

storynanny Tue 21-May-13 22:00:48

Yes I think it was a combination of both, he loves arithmetic and has found some aspects too dry and boring. Despite all of my sons showing talent in maths none of them pursued it as a career or at degree level, considering it to be " just something you need to know" like reading and writing skills.
Re the poster querying statistics for achieving high GCSE results, there is a chart which predicts outcome at year 11 from achievement at end of key stage one tests. I haven't seen it recently as I'm not teaching full time so can't explain it!

theweekendisnear Tue 21-May-13 21:47:33

storynanny, it's interesting that your DS didn't actually like A-level maths. Maybe he liked arithmetic, more than mathematics, or, more likely, and more worringly, the A-level maths syllabus was too rushed and dry and didn't develop his love and understanding for Maths - very sad...

storynanny Tue 21-May-13 21:34:53

In nursery aged 3, understood place value completely, odds, evens, tables,fractions etc. loved problem solving maths in infants, bored silly with maths in juniors, got enthusiasm back in secondary and got a* GCSE. Did a level maths for a year but then dropped it as was fed up with it.
Like my older sons, he just seemed to think mathematically in lots of areas of life. Especially keen on statistics, particularly sport related.
I agree with poster who talked about a mathematical environment helping . We always were playing cards, dominoes, dice games and they all learned from an early age to subtract from 501! (Darts) Games are the way to go for encouraging numeracy skills in my opinion as a parent and infant teacher.

cakebar Tue 21-May-13 19:53:15

DS is naturally good at maths (but he doesn't sound as talented as some on here). His preschool noticed and asked me if I knew, they told school. He is in year 1 now and in the top set but given nothing extra. He has been taken out this week to do some kind of maths test, not sure what that is about though. I think maths is given a very low priority in infant school. I am happy with the approach taken though because he has difficulties in some other areas and I'd rather he focus on those at the moment.

Lemonytrees Tue 21-May-13 18:48:28

DS1 is in year 2 and was 'spotted' this year. He is in a very bright class, but still has his own work. He was always good at maths but only really recognised by the teacher this year (probably because the teacher LOVES maths too!) I tried to bring it up in previous years but think I was dismissed a bit as a pushy parent tbh. The main focus this year has to been to get him really fast and accurate with tables, mental arithmetic etc. rather than lots of new concepts and it has worked really well. I'm a bit worried about what happens next year though - so would be interested what happened to older dc

mrsbaffled Tue 21-May-13 18:17:49

Reception. They had to write the numbers counting down from 10. He wrote 10, 9,8,7.....2,1,0,-1,-2,-3...... Gave up at -24 as the paper ran out smile

Moominsarehippos Tue 21-May-13 17:40:55

Nursery. He is a number whizz, it' his 'thing', always has been. He understands them. I don't.

Moominmammacat Tue 21-May-13 17:37:55

Anyone actually know what proportion of children get higher tier GCSE maths?

trinity0097 Tue 21-May-13 17:17:29

Some children pick the basics up very easily, often if they have parents who are supportive and do stuff with them at home, but come unstuck when they come across non routine problems, a good ability at the basics does not necessarily equal good ability at mathematics as a whole. I teach a child who is extremely advanced in terms of tables and basic calculations, but struggles with any aspect of shape work, e.g. Shapes, angles,constructions, area, perimeter etc...

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