On a roll to pupil success

17th March 2000 at 00:00
Everything from fancy dice to software is showcased at Birmingham. Paul Harrison follows the trail of some primary maths classroom aids.

In this first year of the numeracy strategy in all primary schools, publishers and equipment manufacturers are keen to show off their numeracy wares. These range from number cards and fancy dice to numeracy schemes that will do everything for you except actually teach.

Cambridge University Press is launching its key stage 2 scheme, Maths Direct. This supplements their established key stage 1 scheme, First Skills in Numeracy. While you are at the stand, have a flutter on the National Dottery - a competition to guess the number of dots in the Maths Direct logo with pound;600 worth of materials for the winner.

Other numeracy schemes worth checking out are Oxford Maths Zone at the Oxford University Press stand, Stanley Thornes's Primary Maths, Folens' Maths Programme, Kingscourt's Maths Link Plus and Ginn's revamped Abacus Maths.

For maths software, try RM. One of the most sophisticated and comprehensive primary maths programs around is its Maths Learning System, which provides individualised learning programmes progressing from pre-level 1 to level 4 and automatically monitors a child's progress, adjusts the programme accordingly and provides systematic diagnostic reports.

Also visit Logotron-Longman, which produces the BBC Maths Workshop series of CD-Roms on number, calculations, shape, space and measures, aimed at Years 3 to 6. These also have built-in progression and tracking, albeit at a much cruder level.

For maths underachievers, White Space's acclaimed Number Shark CD-Rom - co-authored by a practising special educational needs teacher - contains more than 30 games and activities designed for motivating and improving the performance of underachievers, particularly those with poor short-term memory, short attention span and problems with sequencing skills.

Materials such as number cards and squares can be found at Autopress Educards. They are produced on durable, brightly coloured laminated card and come in demonstration size or small size for individual use. Look out for the bargain lass packs for under pound;70 which contain enough of everything for a teacher and class of 30.

BEAM Education, perhaps better known for maths books, offers a similar range of equipment, including number "fans" and six, 10, 12 and 20-sided dice.

Active Designs supply numeracy cards in a range of specialised Numeracy Bags, which include a number bag, a place value bag, tens and units bag and - a recent addition - a number rhymes bag. The cards are backed with Velcro, enabling them to be fastened to each other or arranged on the flattened bag.

LDA will be using some of its range of numeracy equipment in two daily interactive maths sessions, where show visitors will role play as pupils. LDA is also offering a 10 per cent discount off all orders at the show.

If you feel that the current intense focus on numeracy is sidelining mathematical links with other areas of the curriculum, then the series of 24 photocopiable books from Naturetrek Educational should be of interest. There are four books using environmental themes for each of six primary age ranges, all fully referenced to numeracy framework objectives.

Tarquin Publications has always traced its own idiosyncratic furrow producing beautiful books and materials on the more esoteric and aesthetic areas of maths. Look out for the two Mathematical Curiosities, packs of models to cut out and make. Scan the posters on, among other themes, Celtic knots, curves of pursuit and Euler's law. Be intrigued by The Number Detective puzzle book. And browse through the multiplication tables colouring books.

There is a seminar on maths learning difficulties at 10.30am on Thursday in room A.

SHOW CONNECTIONS

Active Designs stand EY13

Autopress Educards stand PV245

BEAM Education stand PV241

Cambridge University Press stand PV120

Folens Publishers stand PV290

Ginn stand PV130

Kingscourt Publishing stands PV145PV97

Logotron-Longman stand IT43

Naturetrek Educational stand PV328

Oxford University Press stand PV60

RM stand IT76

Stanley Thornes stands PV42PV50

Tarquin Publications stand PV210

White Space stand SN8


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