Maths in Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)
By Year 5, children are mentally subtracting, adding and doubling decimals (eg double 1.6, or 5.7 – 2.6). They use written methods to add and subtract large numbers and decimals up to two places.
Most children will have been taught to be able to say what the value is of the digits in 10.05 and 10.5, and to explain which is the larger number.
They work on fractions, decimals and percentages, comparing, ordering and converting and solving problems in a meaningful context (eg can you tell me a decimal half way between 1 and 2? Repeat with other numbers. Can you write these fractions as decimals? 2½, 3¼, 7¾ and 5½).
They are also introduced to percentages of numbers and quantities, such as 10% of £5 and 10% of £100.
Teachers provide practical examples so that children can understand that a percentage is the number of parts of 100 (eg 1 part of 100 is 1% and 25 parts of 100 are 25%). They learn about common multiples and find them for small pairs of numbers.
By this stage children learn that many calculations can be done mentally and they will use their knowledge of number facts and place value. Teachers will be giving them opportunities to investigate, solve problems and puzzles, and they will try to make maths fun (eg If 80 is the answer, what is the question? You can use add, subtract, multiply and divide. How many sums can you make?).
This sort of challenge really makes a child think and enables them to work at their own level.
In Year 6, children are solving more complicated problems, including those that have decimals, fractions and percentages. They can use appropriate strategies and can use a calculator effectively.
They are taught to work systematically, use the correct symbols and to check their results. They use informal and standard written methods for their calculations. They also learn about positive and negative numbers, and should be able to use their knowledge effectively.
They continue to practise their mental recall of number facts, including multiplication facts and tables up to 10 × 10. They are taught that prime numbers only have 2 factors and will have to find factors of two-digit numbers.
Plus, they also work on percentages of whole number quantities (eg 50% of £200) and carry out conversion of currencies.
By the end of Year 6, children should be able to multiply and divide whole numbers and decimals by a one-digit number and work on more difficult multiplication (eg 372 × 63). They still need practice to reinforce skills and knowledge, and to become more confident.
Many Year 6 children are able to talk about their maths, and explain their solutions, decisions and reasoning. They can often try something different if they're finding a problem difficult, as they have sufficient methods and techniques at their disposal.
Teachers try to plan for the needs of all children, often within a broad range, to ensure that less-able pupils are well-supported and more-able children are fully challenged.