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Maths terminology

(11 Posts)
Euphemia Tue 19-Mar-13 19:32:24

A colleague refers to Tens and Units as Tens and Ones. Her pupils told me that the former is old-fashioned.

Did I miss a memo?


StuffezLaBouche Tue 19-Mar-13 19:35:22

Tens and ones is old fashioned, I would have thought. My grandma, a retired Head, used to tutor me when I was young (23 years ago or so) and I remember her using tens and ones. I guess ones is misleading, as obviously other digits might be in the 'ones' column... Hmmm. Not sure. Do know that place value continues to be an area of massive weakness in every year group in every school I've worked in!

TwllBach Tue 19-Mar-13 19:37:13

I say units and our maths coordinator says units too... I finished my teacher training in 2011 if that helps? grin

Euphemia Tue 19-Mar-13 19:42:49

I'm wondering if it's from First Steps in Mathematics, an Australian book. I'll need to have a look!

I started school in the 1970s and I'm sure we called them Ones then! I haven't heard anyone call them Ones for 40 years! grin

Euphemia Tue 19-Mar-13 19:46:16

Yes - it's Australian. I found this in their Maths curriculum:

"Group, partition and rearrange collections up to 1000 in hundreds, tens and ones to facilitate more efficient counting (ACMNA028)"

Time to speak to our Maths co-ordinator!

YoullNeedATray Thu 21-Mar-13 00:23:20

Units in every place I've been in.

complexnumber Thu 21-Mar-13 07:56:01

Personally I think that 'ones' would mean a lot more to a young child than 'units'.

I think I was taught using units in primary (in the sixties).

LeeCoakley Thu 21-Mar-13 08:15:19

As a school we have all started saying units. New teachers were saying units and we were saying ones so we have all standardised now. It's much better because it's very confusing saying to 5 year olds e.g. how many ones are there in the number 12?

complexnumber Thu 21-Mar-13 09:54:11

"it's very confusing saying to 5 year olds e.g. how many ones are there in the number 12?"

Yes, I can see that LeeCoakley. I am not a primary teacher so I am quite happy to bow to your experience and knowledge

I just wonder how many 5 year olds understand the meaning of 'unit', and if they were to ask, how many teachers would say 'ones'.

LeeCoakley Thu 21-Mar-13 16:18:54

I still say 'ones' sometimes! Agree that 'units' is an odd term for young children, I think 'singles' would be a better term.

complexnumber Thu 21-Mar-13 16:45:29


That sounds good!

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