Measure of success

21st February 1997 at 00:00
Maths co-ordinator Mark Hilton aims to make his classes for 11-year-olds fun as well as educational.

The topics for this lesson are mental arithmetic and capacity. "First we'll have a five-minute test to recap on what we learned in the last lesson - multiplication and division by hundreds and tens," he says.

It's eyes down for the 20-strong class, as they work as quickly as possible through the questions in their "Daily Ten" workbook. After five minutes, time is called - and the children check their own answers on their calculators. It's presented as a game, and there is a strong element of excited competition.

Throughout the lesson, pupils dip in and out of a range of textbooks, according to the sums they are being asked to do. But for a large part of the lesson they sit as a class, facing the teacher . His enthusiasm for the subject spills over into the class - and the number of testing games reinforces this.

Mr Hilton then introduces the concept of capacity. He says:"We will try to solve a series of problems, with the aim of showing a variety of methods for doing addition."

He says that when the school reviewed its national curriculum tests and its own school tests held in the summer term, staff identified a problem among the children in terms of the application of addition and subtraction. As a result, more time has been built into this term's curriculum to allow for it. The flexibility of the school's maths scheme allows this kind of re-allocation of class time.

The children are given a series of containers, one that holds one-and-a-half litres, another that holds one-and-three-quarters and another that holds 150ml. They are then asked to find out how many multiples of various volumes each container holds.

One child has a problem - he has put one of the digits in the wrong place. This opens up a discussion about the importance of accuracy in the recording of answers. Again, the class is learning together. At the end of the lesson Mr Hilton recaps on what has been learned, so the children leave with the concepts fresh in their minds.

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