Memorable mathematics

21st February 1997 at 00:00
Parents and Primary Mathematics Pounds 15.00 Number at Key Stage 2 Pounds 19.50 Exploring Shape and Space Pounds 19.50 BEAM Publications Barnsley Complex Offord Road, London N1 1QH

Jon O'Connor enthuses over a collection of bright ideas. BEAM publications always offer refreshing and thought-provoking materials. The BEAM dream is all about partnerships helping to identify good mathematical experiences for children, combining bright ideas and good teaching.

Parents and Primary Mathematics is a package of in-service materials for schools who want to harness parent-power in their quest for memorable mathematics. The entire programme could usefully provide work for between two and three terms, but is well-suited to a pick and mix approach for co-ordinators or in-service providers focusing on specific home-school issues.

The first section explores jargon, the value of practical work and starting points at home. Section 2 offers practical help with organising essential communications and contact points. The final section provides models of successful work.

Starting from the recognition of low confidence and attainment for many adults, the text provides discussion and development activities to adjust our attitudes to mathematics.

Number at Key Stage 2 is the follow-up to the well-received key stage 1 volume. Developed in conjunction with teachers from King's College, London, the content provides the basis for a school scheme of work. Essential number experience is developed from six different approaches, including both practical and mental work. There are 10 units, each covering one aspect of number and algebra, collected into sections that explore number systems, relationships, operations and applications. The book offers particularly good advice on differentiation, with core activities developing into extension work, effective assessment and analysis of progress.

The Exploring series amounts to a practical framework for the philosophy that mathematics is an interactive, developmental journey to be enjoyed. Each title provides a guide to essential learning experiences, vocabulary and theart of holding good mathematicalconversations, together withorganisation,assessment and record-keeping tips.

The latest title, Exploring Shape and Space helps children to develop a reference system of imagery to internalise and manipulate concepts. This is achieved through 23 practical core activities using dough, feely-bags, construction materials and much more besides in a refreshing and fun-packed set of teaching sessions.

These publications are a gentle and welcome invitation to the teacher to stir the mathematician within. BEAMS of approval all round.

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