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!

Runoutofideas Tue 21-May-13 13:39:12

I think that is probably a very school specific question. In my case, dd1's actual capabilities have only been realised in yr3 where the work has become very differentiated. In Yrs 1 and 2, as long as they were likely to hit their level 3 target they didn't push them any further. Dd2 is yr1 and not being stretched in any way in maths - although having said that, she is not as able as your ds - but she can do all that is required of her at the moment.

In my opinion, unless you want him to be taking GCSE at 11 yrs old, there is no rush. Let him keep enjoying maths and finding it easy - one less thing to worry about!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 21-May-13 13:55:56

Noticed a bit in year 1, dismissed in year 2, nothing beyond expected in Year 3. Year 4 whoa, she's just completed the year 6 syllabus described as exceptionally gifted and is scoring well on level 6 SATs paper.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 21-May-13 13:58:58

Y3. We had no idea that what he could do was unusual until his Y3 teacher spotted his ability and gave him the chance to push on.

DeWe Tue 21-May-13 13:59:51

I was very good at maths from a young age. I went to Oxford to read maths. I didn't do anything different at primary school, just found maths easy,

All my dc are good at maths.

Ds is year 1, not 6yo yet. His current fad is solving algebraic equations using excel. We were discussing even numbers being 2n, and odd numbers being 2n -1 (n being positive integer) last night. The teacher said she found him very funny last term because she was getting the form to count up in 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s, and he stood up and anounced he was going to count in 7 millions. And promptly did so.

None of them have done anything different from the top groups in school, except dd1 who's had a couple of maths extention days. Neither of the others are old enough for that yet. Once they reach juniors the top set is very much extended (large school) but they've all been picked out as good from the beginning at preschool.
Just we discuss things at home, often more investigative things.
They all enjoy maths work books-are as likely to pick them up as anything else fun to do at home. Soemetimes if they talk about what they're doing at school, I'll offer them some extention stuff at home. Tonight we have an hour waiting in the car, they'll take each a ds, a book to read, and a game, but they will probably all end up at some point absorbed in a maths workbook.

sittinginthesun Tue 21-May-13 14:08:11

DS1 - in Reception I was told he enjoyed number work. In year 1 he was already being given extension work in top set. He's now year 4 and is working with the top half of year 6.

Mind you, he's in a bright class, with two peers at same level, so the school restructured sets for them.

bobthebear Tue 21-May-13 14:17:36

Reception/KS1 they commented on DS' maths ability. But, as he was already a L3 at the end of y1 they just let him coast during y2. Now he's in y3 and is doing L5 maths thanks to his amazing teacher. Like another poster though, I didn't realise that the things he could do weren't 'normal'

DS is in year 1 and istalented at maths. His capability isn't being acknowledged, let alone differentiated for.

I know why. He has the CONCEPTS. But is is absolutely essential that there are no gaps in the LANGUAGE.

So he can add 4 or 5 3 diget numbers in his head, can convert metric into imperial, can work out basic probability and fractions, can tell the time and knows that 3:17 comes before 4:05, and understands what an hour before 2'oclock would be. However, he could not tell you what an hour EARLIER than 2'oclock would be.

It is absolutely essential in the early years that the gaps are filled as poor foundations are very difficult to fill later.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HilaryM Tue 21-May-13 14:33:15

Was picked up in Reception, they 'did something about it' in Y1 - put on the G&T register, joined an inter-school maths club, which he still goes to in Y3. They don't do much more than that tbh.

OldBeanbagz Tue 21-May-13 14:54:27

DD & DS were both spotted for their maths ability in Reception and have been given harder work since. How far they have been stretched has depended on their class teachers.

DD has been awarded a Maths Scholarship and Y3 DS is now capable of doing the typical Y6 homework. They do maths for 'fun' at home hmm

They get none of their ability from me who barely managed to scrape an O Level (that's how old i am).

quip Tue 21-May-13 15:44:34

Ds1 got differentiated work from mid y1 but didn't really get stretched until one day in y2 he had to write spelling sentences with shapes in and he wrote pythagorus' rule and the formulae for calculating the area of circles, squares and triangles. He now gets more extension work. Ds2 is in y1 and can't consistently write his numbers the right way round. He is certainly as good as ds1 but can't yet express it. He has been given a y2 sats test at school and got full marks so they are differentiating a bit and will do so even more in y2.

DeWe we may have been at Oxford together. Did you do the 4-year maths course? I did, 95 matriculation.

theweekendisnear Tue 21-May-13 16:32:07

I'm not really answering the question... But, if you/ your DC enjoy Maths, make sure you search for "Vihart. Doodling in Math class" on youtube. Her videos are inspiring!

blueberryupsidedown Tue 21-May-13 16:38:22

Thanks everyone, it's very interesting to compare. DS has a speech disorder and has problems expressing himself verbally, which works against him but I think that next year we will meet with his teacher early on and try to find ways for him to express his interest better. I will leave it for now and carry on what we are doing at home, which is mostly games but also stuff he comes up with. His favorite thing at the moment is adding positive numbers and negative numbers together. He asked me the other day 'what's the smallest negative number'.... I'm still trying to explain the answer, any of you Oxford graduates can help me? smile

insanityscratching Tue 21-May-13 16:45:05

Ds was spotted in nursery (attached to school) because he could add and subtract three figure numbers and knew his times tables. He did numeracy from y1 with y3 and from y3 with y6. He completed SATs papers in twenty minutes got 100% and school had help from the secondary school from y5. I treasure a certificate he got saying "for loving maths so much and producing so much work we can't keep up with the marking"
He was never bored, he'd just explore and push his knowledge further and further so by the time he was in year seven he won the whole school maths challenge beating boys five years older than himself.

slug Tue 21-May-13 16:56:04

DD was spotted at year 2. However I'm inclined to think it's because I was a maths teacher and DH a scientist so we are a numerate household. I don't think she's particularly gifted, just lucky in her surroundings.

Ds2 was spotted in nursery. Whether this will continue I don't know but it's at the school he will be in come September and so it's all foundation stage.

I'm not bothered as long as they keep him interested. I don't want him to get bored and fed up.

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...

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 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!

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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!

DS is sitting H Maths as I type. confused

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?'.

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.

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.

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

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