Mental Maths Starters
Mental mathematics is an important part of the numeracy strategy and for the first time is taking place in most schools on a daily basis. This has to be a good thing.
The Starters book aims to provide a range of activities to fill the first part of the numeracy lesson. However, the activities vary considerably. Some are appropriate - for example, the old favourite, "What's my number?" - while others do not seem as helpful for the starter. Stack he Dice, for instance, would fit better as an activity in the main part of the lesson as it involves the children working in groups.
Two important things missing from the book are progression and how to make connections within maths. It is not clear where the activities fit into the strategy and what age group are they for. In the end, then, not a useful resource, mathematically, more a "bright ideas" for starters.
Patti Barber is a lecturer in primary mathematics at London University, Institute of Education