Making the difficult bits easy as 1 2 3

17th March 2006 at 00:00
A new guide and CD-Rom is a clear winner for primary maths teachers, reports Liz Ruddy

Primary Maths in Action, level E

teacher's book pound;40.50, pupil book pound;11.65, answer book pound;9, resource book pound;40.50

Problem Solving in Action

CD-Rom, levels C-E price depends on school size; Nelson Thornes; www.nelsonthornes.comprimary

Primary Maths in Action covers some difficult concepts but is presented in such a clear and interesting way that it doesn't look difficult. The guide is well thought out, has been written by primary practitioners, and the content is directly linked to 5-14 level E attainment targets.

The level E set consists of a teacher's book, pupil book, resource book, answer book and a Problem Solving in Action CD-Rom (levels C-E).

I like the teacher's book, as it is simple to navigate and the cross-referencing to other books for support material is clear. It also identifies what pupils are required to learn in each lesson, which is useful for planning.

The work is divided into four blocks of seven units. The page introducing each unit identifies the key mathematical concept covered, such as decimals, and leads on to the 5-14 strands and associated attainment targets.

Each section and its purpose within the unit is listed. Any relevant vocabulary used is shown with its meaning and serves as a reminder to teachers of the mathematical language pupils are required to use and understand.

Resources needed to support the work are listed and useful material is offered, linking problem solving and enquiry to the mathematical concept covered.

The detail of each section of work is given on a separate overview page, showing the purpose of the lessons and strands and attainment targets.

Further strands and attainment targets are listed in the sections.

Thereafter each section follows the traditional format of introduction, development, consolidation and extension and the relevant support materials required are noted. Problem solving and enquiry links are also identified.

The pupil book offers questions and examples related to the units in the teacher's book.

The content of each unit is split into section A, consolidating the concept taught, and B, which offers more challenging examples. Some of my pupils liked the introduction to each section because it was interesting and they said the graphics throughout were good and not old-fashioned.

The book is well designed. The structure of each question is straightforward and diagrams are appropriately positioned. There is also good use of colour to differentiate between questions.

The contexts in which some of the examples are set have a Scottish slant which is relevant to the pupils, eg Edinburgh Zoo and the football stadiums in Scotland. Other examples are based on up-to-date world information.

There is an answer book to support all the pupil work.

The resource book is useful and provides appropriate support and resource sheets, homework for each unit and assessment in the form of a check-up. I would have preferred the check-up to be in the teacher's book.

Scope and sequence charts to track the sections can be found at www.nelsonthornes.compmia.

Finally, I loved the problem-solving CD-Rom. It was simple to navigate.

Each of the nine units was supported throughout by strategies icons and five steps to problem solving. The graphics were great fun.

Liz Ruddy is headteacher of Overton Primary, Inverclyde

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