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Cubes and cards that go the extra mile

Liven up your lessons with resources that improve children's skills and acuity, says John Dabell



Work box pound;24.95; Teacher's manual pound;9.95; Level 1 Workbookcards pound;6.95 Tel: 0114 281 3311 E-mail:

Mathspace Collins Education Year 3: Teacher's Guide pound;39.99; Differentiation worksheets pound;44.99; Pupil Book pound;6.99; Answer book pound;8.99; CD-Rom plus network licence pound;587.50 Tel: 0870 787 1610 Fax: 0870 787 1720 E-mail:

Learn to Count Economatics pound;28.95 Tel: 0114 281 3311 E-mail:

Toptastic Totals By Anthony David 6 sets of 36 cards, BEAM pound;39.50

All Out Winners By Peter Clarke Set of 5 games pound;13.50 ; all six games pound;69.50

BEAM Education, Delta Place, 27 Bath Road, Cheltenham GL53 7TH

Tridio is an innovative and distinctive hands-on resource that aims to boost children's three-dimensional acuity. Children learn to characterise objects on a flat surface. They first make a structure using cubes, then they learn to identify the different sides of the cubes as separate shapes, each with its own colour, after which they form the cubes, using rhombi and triangles.

These robust and professional materials are suitable for a range of contexts and would be ideal for improving children's spatial skills. Tridio is certain to test children's co-ordination dexterity, impact positively on their concentration skills and deepen their conceptual understanding.

It's no surprise that this excellent resource originates from the Netherlands, a country which has always been a few steps ahead of us mathematically. Tridio is available at two levels and can be used at all levels of primary and secondary education. Materials for gifted and talented thinkers are also available.

Pick up a maths scheme today and you'll have trouble spotting what's special about it. Collins' Mathspace is no different. There are teachers'

manuals, differentiation packs, pupil activity books and CD-Roms, all offering commendable support and enrichment for a variety of needs in maths. However, the format and organisation has all been done before and that's where the problem lies.

Schemes have to move on from the overcooked traditional National Numeracy Strategy recipe, think outside the box and offer children a more exciting menu of creative and inspiring experiences. Mathspace does the job but children and teachers deserve more in a post-NNS world that has lost its way. Schemes need to go the extra mile - Mathspace sort of runs on the spot.

Learn to Count is a colourful user-friendly wall chart or floor toy, suitable as an introduction to numbers and pre-maths skills. The attractive detachable pieces can be used for colour classification, shape and number recognition, sorting and matching skills, sequencing and addition and subtraction. The fully washable kit includes a handy ideas and information booklet. Recommended.

Toptastic Totals is an innovative collection of mathematical card games suitable for upper primary classes. The six sets of cards, each with teachers' notes, have been imaginatively created and provide groups of two to six children with challenging and engaging practice in mental recall, calculations and flexible thinking. The aim of the game is to win as many rounds as possible by selecting the best cards. Robots, spy kids, soap opera, fantasy, performers and endangered animals will capture children's interest. Ideal for group work and fast finishers, this highly recommended resource is likely to become a playground classic and a game children won't want to leave at school.

All Out Winners is an inclusive and communal card game that brings the whole class together to find quick answers to questions on place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and decimals. The set contains 30 games - five for each of Years 1 to 6 - and they come with excellent teachers' notes. They can be used as mental or oral starters, as part of a plenary session or to play between activities. The games keep everyone busy and challenged, and certainly get the whole class talking and working together, honing their mental arithmetic and rapid recall skills.

All Out Winners guarantees participation and success and lives up to its name.

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