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When should children be able to add/take away in their head ie without using number lines/fingers?

(9 Posts)
fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 10:55:53

Just wondering as DD is brilliant with number lines, but gets a bit confused using fingers. She is a summer baby, in yr1.

Teacher has said she is doing really well at numeracy, but when we do stuff at home (only if she wants to - they don't get numeracy HW) she seems very confused - but I don't know if I am expecting too much.

Thanks! smile

Hulababy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:07:50

He will be using number lines and number squares well into juniors, even into Y6 for various numeracy work. They can even use them in SATs.

Being able to use her fingers is handy though. You can make it into a game. Number her fingers with little stickers to turn them into a number line too, starting with 1 on the left thumb (palms facing her)

Hulababy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:08:01

She not he

Paddlinglikefluffyducklings Tue 26-Mar-13 11:58:58

Dd yr 3. No number lines anymore and can do number bonds to 10 and 20 instantly. Still uses fingers now and again. ( as do I occasionally!)

Knows all her tables and can recall most of these instantly too. (I can't).

I think she was still using number lines in yr 2 some of time, it helped her think about where numbers were in relation to each other and gave her a bit of confidence.

Paddlinglikefluffyducklings Tue 26-Mar-13 12:02:38

Sorry, read message as she was still using number lines and fingers and that you were worried!

I would get her to count on her fingers and then think of fingers each having a number name, write it on in pen. Funny though dd uses her right hand thumb as number 1, going from right to left, which I think is a bit odd. Lines any numbered books up this way too.

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:06:46

I am trying to think back to when I was at school and I don't think we did mental arithmatic until what would now be year 3. Some kids will just be able to do it but I would have thought it will year 2ish before most will start just doing it in their head. They introduce counting in 10s, 5s and 2s before but I don't think many tables are introduced properly until year 3 so I would assume it all goes together.

PastSellByDate Tue 26-Mar-13 13:09:07

Hi fuzzpig:

Neither of my DDs could add/ subtract numbers in their head in Y1. I think DD2 showed signs of this in Y2 but DD1 (who struggled with maths) was definitely Year 3.

Games that can help:

Snakes and ladders: Play forward for addition & backwards for subtraction. Use more than one die to generate larger numbers. We started off counting out loud (so if DD1 rolled a 4, we'd count from the space four on - so if she was on 10, we'd say out loud together 11, 12, 13, 14. And then repeat without the counting - so 10 + 4 = 14.

Another useful game we found was playing 21 or blackjack open handed. Have to teach them that face cards = 10 and ace = 1 - but basically it can be a lot of fun as a family game - spice it up by betting smarties or candies after first two cards are dealt.

We also played addition SNAP. So decide what number you want to work with - maybe 9. Face cards = 10 and ace = 1. Flip over card - say it's an 8. What is 9 + 8. You can use number line or fingers or number square - but it's a fun game (go really slow so they can win now and then). [for subtraction version - just take away the flipped card number from start number].

The other game we play is who can get the highest number. So same rules about face cards = 10 and ace = 1. Deal each player 10 cards - each player adds up their cards. You can play best out of 5, etc... - or winner chooses what's for dinner. [We used this a lot for subtraction. Everyone started with 100 and we would see who gets to 0 first].

useful on-line games:

woodlands junior school maths zone: addition games to 10, 20 and 100:

also subtraction games from numbers to 10, 20 and 100:

digit workout from crickweb: - simple digit addition to 20 and 100.

ambleside primary addition zone:

ambleside primary subtraction zone:

Math Games counting games:


fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 13:37:00

Paddling you read it right, I was a bit worried TBH! blush

Maths was always my best subject and I raced ahead in it as a child (not that it's got me anywhere) so I am aware I am unsure of what is 'normal' and struggle not to get frustrated if she doesn't 'get it' quickly (whereas with reading, which really didn't click for her until yr1, I am much more patient for some reason). Not that I show my frustration obviously.

Feel better now thanks to the replies though so thank you smile great recommendations too - DD is really starting to want to do this sort of thing at home so I will give them a go smile

DeWe Tue 26-Mar-13 14:15:41

I still use my fingers sometimes when working out. And I have an Oxbridge maths degree. One of my tutors could have done with doing it too. He frequently did sums that were along the lines of 2+3 =7 confused

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