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Y4 Maths .. teachers please reassure me

(9 Posts)
wizzler Wed 10-Oct-12 18:04:25

DS is in y4. V confident with numbers and maths, DH and I are both numbers people and we encourage dc to be the same. Last year school used traditional techniques and DS thrived. This year we are back to number lines and he is struggling to get it. eg.. If I gave him a subtraction to do in his head he can do it, and he could do it in column format, but struggles when applying the number line principle. It doesn't make sense to him .

Part of me wants to agree with him, and ignore, but I dont want to undermine the school or put him off his lessons which he enjoys ?

Are there any teachers out there who can assure me that this is a sensible approach and that we will all benefit from this in the long run?

Bonsoir Wed 10-Oct-12 18:05:32

Clever children who are good with numbers don't need number lines.

Elibean Wed 10-Oct-12 18:08:47

Not a teacher, but do have a dd in Y4 who brought home some partitioning homework last week - we were both baffled by it, tbh blush though we worked it out in the end! She could do the sums (subtraction and addition) in her head, or by column method, but had forgotten how to do partitioning.

I think it probably is useful, in that mastering a variety of strategies can only enrich future problem solving.....but totally sympathize with the bafflement.

At dd's school, they teach as many strategies as possible up to Y5, then let kids choose the ones they are most comfortable with.

Bonsoir Wed 10-Oct-12 18:58:08

At her French school, DD (Y4) has column addition, subtraction and multiplication operations every single night for homework. I really like this: it deals with revision of number bonds and times tables and working sums out all in one go!

PastSellByDate Thu 11-Oct-12 10:01:36

Hi wizzler:

It may be worth dusting off snakes and ladders which effectively is a number line and try playing it backwards (so subtracting from 100), maybe rolling two dice so it goes a bit faster. If you want you can play it for times tables practice - so decide on a table you want to practice say x4 and then get two dice (so practicing from 4x1 to 4x12) - and then play away. With bigger numbers play up (1 - 100 and back 100 - 1 again).

You can stretch out a tape measure (for sewing) or a ruler if you don't have a tape measure - and just point out that like snakes and ladders - counting along a number line is the same thing effectively.

A number line is just visually showing you the numbers from one point to another sequentially so that you learn to count up and count back along it.

Have your DS Measure things and then ask how big it would be if you took 17 mm off, etc.... That's basically number line work, but might seem more practical to him and therefore make more sense.


lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 13:48:53

I'm under impression that most schools promote many methods. They encourage children to learn several because they help to check each other, but ultimately it's getting right answer that matters first. So good way to do the work is to use a method he knows, and then try to learn another method to get same answer, in the security that he already has the right answer.

I love modern maths methods like number lines, they make so much sense to me! I could never do mental maths until I figured out my own version of these things.

witchwithallthetrimmings Thu 11-Oct-12 17:27:11

my ds really really struggled with number lines in year 2 doing addition. We got round it by getting him to do the sums "properly" and then draw the jumps later.
So for 62-27, get him to do 62-20 = 42 and then 42-7 = 35. I spent ages trying to persuade his teacher that if he could write the sums down like this there was no point in doing the jumps but no avail, but at least doing it this way he will not get confused

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Oct-12 17:40:11

I explicitly say to children that what I am doing is giving them tools to fill their 'maths toolbox' with. Then when they have a problem to solve, they can select exactly the right tool for the job. I also explain that they may well have a 'preferred method', but there may be some calculations where the 'new tool' is best and quickest - being a skilled tradesman is knowing your tools, keeping them sparkling clean and ready to use, and knowing when to use each.

For example, 2013 - 1996 is a faff using a column method - and a complete doddle using a number line to count on. However, when teaching, we often use easy examples for a new method - and then it might look pointless to the children who can already do such calculations another way. Moving quickly on to examples where the new method (or the old method you are polishing and keeping ready to use) is the easiest and most appropriate usually converts such children quite quickly to the idea that the right method can depend on the problem.

LaQueen Thu 11-Oct-12 18:21:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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