KS2Cross-phase

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Fast Forward Maths. Fast Forward Maths level 4-5. By Hilary Koll and Steve Mills. Pupil's book pound;7.50. Teacher's book pound;19.99. Numeracy Skills Progress, level 3 to 4

By Paul Harrison. Two books of photo-copiable worksheets. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;39.99.

Fast Forward Maths and Fast Forward Maths 4-5 are written for use in key stage 2 booster classes, summer numeracy schools, and so on. The teacher's resource books are excellent, with an emphasis on active (often very active) learning, plenty of ideas, and a good overview of strategies and objectives. The pupils' books are less successful.

There is full colour on every page, but the pages are very busy, and contain so much material that it would be easy to cram a mass of work indigestibly into the sessions.

In addition, the activities in the pupil books tend to be rather closed, even though most sections include a game and a "Let's investigate" activity.

I would thoroughly recommend a course taught by the authors themselves, but as they point out, it is essential that the books are used with constant teacher input.

The Numeracy Skills Progress books target key stage 3 pupils moving into level 4, with some suggestion they could be used with KS2 children. There are two books; one covers the four rules, the other multiplication tables and fractions, decimals and percentages.

Between them the two collections include more than 100 "core" worksheets for teaching new skills, with a further 100 for practice and assessment. Even so, there is, of course, no coverage of content in other attainment targets, and though the teachers' notes do mention the prime importance of mental methods and discussion between pupils, almost all the activities are closed, with little focus on investigative or problem-solving thinking. Those adopting these books would need to complement them with a wider range of more interactive materials.

Alan Parr is a primary mathematics writer and in-service training provider

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