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Chunking - what's the point? and general Maths teaching questions

(13 Posts)
isthistoonosy Wed 05-Oct-16 17:24:54

I'm not a maths teacher but can generally do maths so I've been asked to help my nephew (12 yrs old, but only yr 6 as I'm not in the UK) as he is totally lost in his maths class. So I started today with a keystage 1 test and realised he can only add by counting on his hands, can't explain how he gets his answers, and missed some questions and lots of points on the test becasue of it. We tried a few different ways and he just doesn't get chunking but seems fine with the old method.


if that makes sense.

Am I OK to just skip past chunking or will he need to understand it for something else as he gets further on. Needless to say I suppose, but he can't do multiplication, division other than the simple stuff in his head either.

Are there simplier version for these that they need to know before moving on to the old fashioned way?

Similarly written problems seem a total mystery I tried simplifying one using real people, real apples and it seemed no clearer. but I'm hoping that will come once I build up his general confidence. (obv didn't tell him the level of his paper today)

I am also pushing his parents to go back to the school and insist he needs more help. Sending him home with trig and algebra is crazy and demoralising. Unfortunaly the class room assistant can't do the maths they are getting at the moment so she isn't helpful either.

Thankyou for any help and advice,

Meadows76 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:28:57

Tbh I wouldn't be tring to tech him anything and certainly not testing him. Parents should be in touch with school if there is a problem with maths. Bringing in an outsider who is not versed in the methods used in school will only serve to confuse. This boy needs a tutor who knows what and how to teach him.

isthistoonosy Wed 05-Oct-16 17:34:03

I have got in touch with a volunteer service that offer tutoring as well for advice as they aren't near enough for him to use the. But the school and the area in general just don't have people. I at least have a degree, know to read the syllabus etc. Tbh I could get a teaching job over here they are that short of teachers, a general knowledge (half a degree max) is enough in STEM and languages.

irvineoneohone Wed 05-Oct-16 17:48:40

TBH, if you can have internet access, better to use teaching website rather than taught by some random person? Maths/ English Grammar/Science History/Computing etc. MFL

isthistoonosy Wed 05-Oct-16 17:56:15

Those sites aren't in our language and the one I've found that is needs someone to talk him through it as it is very basic. As it stands I'm that person. But I've not gone through to the end of a-level level in every area of maths so wanted to.ask a.few questions about what's needed or likely to be needed in the future.

Do people not use tutors in the UK? People who have degrees / A-levels but aren't teachers.

clam Wed 05-Oct-16 18:48:03

'Chunking' is a method used for division, involving repeated subtraction. The example you quote is the formal written method for addition.
For the record, there's probably not a child alive that likes the chunking method!

catkind Wed 05-Oct-16 23:14:49

Yes people use tutors, yes an intelligent adult working 1:1 with a child on a regular basis can probably help them hugely (and personally I'd prefer that to using websites as you can pace it to the child, get feedback as you go along to check they're understanding). That is very behind though so I hope his parents are talking to the school too.

clam, I think by chunking for addition OP means what I'd call partitioning, I've heard that referred to as chunking too.

I think it is worth understanding OP as if he hasn't got that he may not fully understand place value and that's so central. And it explains why column addition works the way it does which makes confusion/mistakes in column addition less likely.

A lot of primary schools here publish a document showing what methods they teach and how they progress through, e.g.
But it would be better if you could get hold of the equivalent from his own school then you can teach him consistently with what he is getting in school.

Don't underestimate the value of hands on stuff if he's still at the counting on fingers stage. One thing you could try for addition (or generally!) is working with something physical like dienes blocks/hundreds tens and units blocks. You could easily make something at home, or even use loose change (1p/10p/£1 or whatever your local equivalent is). For example for chunking addition, they physically line up all the 10s together and all the 1s together. It makes it really easy to understand.

TeenAndTween Thu 06-Oct-16 11:43:39

With maths, you have to get the foundations right, otherwise everything else is shaky.

I'm not a teacher, but have a maths degree and helped my AD go from being nearly 2 years behind in Juniors up to just missing an A for her GCSE.

If I were trying to help, I would first go right back to the beginning and see where the holes started to appear.
I would use and manipulate physical objects.
I would use number lines (which I think are fantastic).
I would make sure basic language was understood (more, less, share, each)
I would then work very very slowly upwards.

Confidence is key in maths.

The thing is you can teach a 'method' they can perform without understanding, but when they try to build on it, it can go rocky.

poppyfieldmum Thu 06-Oct-16 11:56:46

I found this blog article and video helpful for trying to get your head around division by chunking. Chunking - A Guide to the New Long Division

isthistoonosy Fri 14-Oct-16 18:49:56

Thanks, sorry I didn't come back sooner. I went back a few yrs with the test to try to find his gaps which had the benifit of being able to explain to the parents the extent of the problem and after making a lot more of a fuss about it and they are now getting an 1 hours 1-1 a week through the school. So hopefully the school will now also see the problem and start setting things for me to do with him at home to help him progress faster.

Oh an reading back I now understand the early comments, I should have explained my degree is in Engineering, and before that I did 2 yrs of a Maths degree.

catkind Sat 15-Oct-16 18:49:10

That sounds like really good progress, well done!

3asAbird Sun 16-Oct-16 10:12:06

My daughter goes on about chunking method how much she hates it and she prefers bus stop method no idea what that it's.

She struggles in maths.
She has a tutor who's a secondary school teacher.

He says difference senior schools is pupils can choose a method.
I primary tends to be the method specific teacher prefers.

We had a maths information evening my husband attended few years back.
Maths in our primary does seem to depend on the teacher although I think they have a calculations policy.

AllPizzasGreatAndSmall Sun 16-Oct-16 10:17:19

In primary they are taught different methods and need to be able to show they understand and can use them. It's not which method the teacher prefers, but which method they are required to teach in that year.
The idea is that children understand what they are actually doing when, for example, dividing and ultimately they can choose to use their preferred method.

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