Maths 2000 is a complete mathematics course designed to meet the needs of children throughout the primary school age range. It contains separate number and topic strands as well as a variety of other resources. Topics Book 7 and Number Book 7, for example, are aimed at children in Year 6, while the early Activity Cards and Workbooks are designed for children in reception classes and Year 1.
The publishers have taken great care to cater for a variety of teaching styles including whole-class teaching, group work and individual approaches to learning. Maths 2000 supports the belief that children should develop a range of mental methods for tackling mathematics in addition to the conventional pencil and paper approaches.
The teacher's resource book will help in planning by setting out aims and objectives for each number and topic activity. It includes a checklist of prior learning to ensure children are working at the correct level. There is helpful advice for the teacher on each page of the pupils' books as well as sections on "getting started", "assessment" and the "mathematical processes" involved in each topic.
I was pleased to see sections within each topic entitled "practice page" and "enrichment page". This scheme acknowledges that every class, even in a school with sets for mathematics, has children with a wide range of mathematical abilities.
The teacher's resource book also contains photocopiable material and sheets to assist with record-keeping. Links are made with the national curriculum programmes of study and at the end is a helpful equipment checklist.
The material for children is attractively produced in colour and clearly laid out, with characters and cartoons helping create an interest in the mathematics. The authors strike a balance between closed questions, for example: finding the cost of Kiri's meal in David's Diner, and more open-ended tasks, such as: work with a friend - you can each choose a meal - the total bill cannot be more than pound;10.
The children are told on each page what equipment they will need, given a few words of explanation to get them started and told what they should have learned during the topic.
Children will enjoy working through this scheme, but we should remember that true enrichment in mathematics comes from skilful teaching. We must not lose the practical work and impromptu discussions that arise when teachers respond creatively to children's questions, their errors and the interest they show when they are encouraged to think imaginatively about mathematics.
Brian Weller is a lecturer in mathematics education at Nene College, Northampton