National Strategies Secondary Maths Collection - ICT Supporting Mathematics: Number
Collection Author: Craig Barton - Maths AST and creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com (TES Name: mrbartonmaths)
ICT has many applications in Number. Calculators are obviously an important example of the capacity of ICT to speed up some mathematical processes, but it is important not to become over-reliant on calculators and lose a sense of the magnitude and appropriateness of a solution to a problem.
The activities included within this strand are aimed at encouraging pupils to deepen their understanding of these fundamental mathematical processes by exploring how they work through discussion. Many activities work on the principle of ‘hide and reveal’, where there is a need to predict an answer and explain the reasoning behind it.
1. Place Value, Ordering and Rounding
This sub-strand of mathematics has many potential misconceptions for pupils, who frequently misunderstand the need for and the result of approximations. There are some simple interactive whiteboard activities included here, as well some spreadsheets designed for whole-class use to provoke discussion and to try and tease out pupils’ misconceptions.
- These are four simple screens which can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector to lead discussions on the effect of multiplying and dividing by powers of 10, rounding to the nearest decimal, use of the greater than and less than signs, and comparison of quantities of measures.
- This spreadsheet has two tabs to enable pupils to discuss and predict the outcome of converting numerics to and from standard form.
- This spreadsheet has two tabs to enable pupils to discuss and predict the outcome of rounding to the nearest power of 10, or to a given number of decimal places.
2. Integers, Powers and Roots
ICT has an important role to play in speeding up some mathematical processes, and one good example of this is in calculating square and cube roots.
Although calculators can provide the information at the touch of a button, this activity is designed to allow pupils to use trial and improvement, recording their steps, to get closer to an answer. It also allows discussion of rounding and degrees of accuracy, which might be inadvertently missed if we just allow the calculator to provide us with an answer.
- This activity uses a spreadsheet which allows groups of pupils or a whole class to refine their estimate of a square or a cube root.
- This resource allows pupils to develop an idea of the relative size of objects when we describe them using integer powers of 10.
3. Fractions, Decimals, Percentages, Ratio and Proportion
The Fractions ITP was originally developed for use with the Primary Strategy, but trials in the ICT pilot ‘Improving learning in mathematics’ have shown it to be useful in teaching pupils who are older, especially if they have had difficulties in understanding the mechanics of numerators and denominators and how they can be manipulated in calculations.
There are four suggested lesson resources using the ITP for fractions only, but with a little imagination it could be used to model decimals, percentages, and ratio and proportion problems.
- Using the Fractions interactive teaching program (ITP) to look at simplifying fractions
- Using the Fractions interactive teaching program (ITP) to look at comparing fractions
- Using the Fractions interactive teaching program (ITP) to look at adding and subtracting fractions
- Using the Fractions interactive teaching program (ITP) to look at dividing fractions
4. Number Operations
Many number operations can be automated by the use of computers or calculators, but ICT has other potential applications to investigate relationships and solve associated problems, especially if it is used to create questions which probe at the interconnections between these operations.
- Generic starter suitable for all year groups and levels (parameters can be changed for different groups).