Numbers in Your Head. By John Spooner. Pounds 7.50. In the Hall. By Tom O'Brien and Fran Mosley. Pounds 9.50. All available (add Pounds 2 pp) from BEAM Mathematics, Barnsbury Complex, Offord Road, London N1 1QH.Tel: 0171 457 5535.
Despite - or because of - the current preoccupation with numeracy "lessons", it is timely for us to be reminded that other subjects also offer splendid opportunities to use and develop maths skills. Starting from Maps and Plans contains a wealth of open and stimulating activities for children from the early years to the top of key stage 2, all of which will contribute mightily to mathematical and geographical understanding.
The 20 games and activities on mental mathematics in Numbers in Your Head cover not only number practice, but also a considerable amount of collaboration, prediction and generalisation. Well trialled, these will be immediately motivating to children as well as useful to teachers devising numeracy lessons.
In the Hall is a real gem: a handy-sized, stand-up book with 36 activities which investigate number and shape ideas at key stage 2 through physical movement. Many of these too involve collaboration and group problem-solving, so helping dispel the notion that maths is something done in isolation while desperately striving to prevent your neighbour from copying.
Equally useful on the field or playground, they offer instant involvement and come ready-matched to National Numeracy Framework objectives. Most of BEAM (BE A Mathematician)'s catalogue deserves a place on the shelves of every staffroom: the three latest titles are no exception.
Laurie Rousham teaches a Year 4 class in Ipswich, Suffolk