On a roll;Books;Reviews;Maths books you can count on

26th February 1999 at 00:00
EXPLORING NUMBER PATTERNS. Exploring Weight pound;19.50 each. Casting the Dice pound;7.50. Number Crunch pound;9.50. BEAM, Maze Workshops, 72a Southgate Road, London N1 3JT

These books are full of easy-to-organise activities that teachers will be crying out for as the numeracy framework clicks into gear.

Exploring Number Patterns and Exploring Weight are two of a series, each describing 24 core activities for primary children at both key stages.

The emphasis in both books is on children doing, questioning, and thinking. Each activity starts with the words: "Ask the children to..." followed by three key "Useful Questions" to stimulate thinking and a "What if..?" section. The notes offer suggestions for assessment and organisation. Most of the activities are appropriate for a wide ability range and would be suitable for whole-class lessons.

Casting the Dice contains simple games for practising mental maths. There are illustrated instructions for each game and thought-promoting questions. The games require two to six conventional dice, but some need more specialised dice (1 to 9 spots or 1 to 20). There are games for most age range and ability levels.

In contrast, most of the 20 photocopiable activities in Number Crunch - aimed at key stage 2 - can be tackled at a range of levels, usually by using smaller or bigger numbers, or by extending the activity. This makes them suitable for whole-class sessions. Each activity sheet is accompanied by teaching notes that include suggestions for an introduction, useful questions, related activities and some have ideas for a plenary session.

Paul Harrison is a former head and a writer of maths books.

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