Baby talk adds up

13th February 2004 at 00:00
As part of our maths week I organised a careers day, when parents and governors came into school to talk to the children about how maths was relevant to their everyday work.

Some examples of the talks offered to the children were: Year 6, how stocks and shares operate; Year 5, how the pop charts are compiled; Year 4, the design behind computer graphics; Year 3, bank accounts.

Particularly successful was a Year 1 session in which aspects of maths and health were integrated when a health visitor parent, Carmel Van Den Berg from Richmond amp; Twickenham Primary Care Trust, came in with an eight-month-old baby to measure and weigh. The baby was from the family of one of the children in the class, making the event even more exciting. The bouncing baby was weighed and measured in class and his growth plotted using a simple growth chart.

To fully involve the Year 1 children their parents had been asked to send in their birth-weight data and these children were also weighed, sensitively, by the teacher in class.

We used the data to make block graphs to make comparisons between the children's birth-weights and reveal growth patterns.

A simple explanation was given for why it is necessary to measure growth and how the growth of babies is linked to the way they are fed and the care given to them by their parents. The children had the opportunity to ask questions, handle the equipment and play with the baby.

Helen Frostick, deputy headteacher, St Osmund's Roman Catholic Primary School, Richmond upon Thames

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