9th February 2001 at 00:00
CLEVER CATCH ADDITION BALL. pound;7.50, TTS Group, Monk Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7RL. Tel: 01773 830255. Email: Website:

Sport and numbers have always gone together - whether it's remembering old match stats, working out the number of runs needed to win a cricket match or trying to figure out exactly how many days it's been since Spurs last won an away game.

So TTS is on to a winner with the Clever Catch Addition Ball which exercises the brain and the body. The 24-inch inflatable ball is covered with 99 maths problems. Children can play a game of catch in pairs or in a group, with the child catching the ball answering the problem that is under his or her left thumb. All the problems use only single digit numbers, making it suitable for key stages 1, 2 and special needs. Some problems are presented as symbols, so everyone in the class can take part.

The size of the ball makes it easy for even the most unco-ordinated child to catch, and the figures are large enough to give visually impaired children a chance join in. <> As well as working on their mental agility, children can improve their co-ordination, and when playing group games, hone their teamworking skills. Teachers can use the ball to enliven numeracy sessions, but with an answer sheet provided, the ball can also be used without supervision. If you've been looking for a way to sneak maths into the playground, this could be it. You may need to create your own answer sheet, though, as the one which is supplied is a bit drab. And as one flimsy sheet of A4, it won't last very long in over-enthusiastic hands.

Multiplication and subtraction versions of Clever Catch are also available from TTS, and each ball comes with game suggestions and a repair patch. The ball is a bit of an effort to blow up and it will leave you light-headed if you try to do it in one go. But it is well worth the effort.

Clever Catch Addition is a cheap, inclusive and inventive addition to the schemes and projects that have been running over the past year to make maths relevant and exciting to sometimes unwilling children.

Yolanda Brooks

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