# A feeling for numbers

26th November 2004 at 00:00
John Dabell reviews a kinaesthetic approach to multiplications

Numberball

Logical Learning pound;14.99, plus pp

Tel: 01763 273 701

Email: info@numberball.com

www.numberball.com

Timesmajic

Timesmajic, pound;2 per pair for orders of one to 24 pairs; pound;1.75

for orders of more than 25 pairs

Tel: 01904 643239

Email: timesmajic@hotmail.comwww.timesmajic.com

Numberball is a simple, but highly effective piece of kinaesthetic genius that supports children learning their multiplication tables. The kit compromises two octagonal, dice-like balls, numberedtwo to nine, four 10*10, Pythagorian multiplication chars (pictured below), four fill-in charts, counters and a sand-timer. To play, children roll the ball and multiply the digits thrown using the tables charts as support. The Pythagoran table charts are colour coded in such a way that they dovetail the colours on the dice and so guide children to the correct product with ease

Numberball could be used as a support tool in a range of teaching contexts.

A child playing independently or maths buddies working in pairs could aim to complete as many multiplications against the clock. Children in groups could also play competitively against each other, completing blank charts and calling out multiplication equations correctly.

This resource addresses all three sensory preferences: the colours will appeal to children with visual dominance, the tactile dice will attract hands-on learners, and the verbal repetition inherent in the game will help auditory learners. Numberball is well thought-out and will help low attainers get to grips with their tables while also having fun. A Braille version is available with the addition of Braille charts and a rolling ring.

Mention digital maths to most people and the conversations that follow will almost certainly refer to electronic computers, not digital or finger computing. Most children count on their fingers, but how many know how to multiply their six, seven, eight, nine and 10-times tables?

Timesmajic's revolutionary accelerated learning glove allows children to really get to grips with their tables in a highly interactive and meaningful way. These kinaesthetic mittens enable them to perform multiplications using a creative, physical method that is challenging and fun.

Clear instructions are provided, there are six bright colours to choose from - one size fits all - and they are well made. These digital gloves are a handy way of multiplying and have a definite place in the classroom, because they add to children's repertoire of skills, providing tangible success so giving children a sense of progression.

They would ignite a mental and oral starter, provide invaluable support in small group settings and bring whole-class sessions alive. They could be used with a range of abilities and would clearly impact on children's self-esteem and confidence. They would make a wonderful resource when furnishing a maths kit. Digital gloves have great potential to prod and poke mental maths skills, improve vocabulary and communication skills and promote challenge. Thumbs up.

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