I play a game with mixed Year 3 and 4 pupils that helps to develop mental arithmetic and subtraction skills in particular.
The children have individual whiteboards. I choose three to stand at the front of the class and take turns rolling a large dice. The first child rolls the dice and the children write that number on their individual whiteboards. The second child rolls the dice and the children have to add on the new number and write the total. The third child rolls the dice and that number is added to the new total.
The game continues with the dice being rolled and the pupils keeping a running total on their whiteboards. The winners are those who reach 50 or over. They are rewarded with points on our star chart.
In an alternative version, pupils begin at 50 on the whiteboard, and at each roll of the dice they subtract the numbers until zero or below is reached. At this point, negative numbers can be introduced. The dice may be numbered differently - for example, using numbers from seven to 12 to make the game more challenging.
Once a week I also play a game called "Beat the Clock" to teach and reinforce key objectives and skills from the numeracy strategy, particularly mental arithmetic.
On the class whiteboard I write 10 questions. For example, I might use key objectives that include finding the complements of numbers using the bonds to 10, 20 and 100, writing the "less than" or "more than" sign between numbers. This is also good for practising a quick response to addition, subtraction and multiplication tables. I set a kitchen timer for up to two minutes, depending on the activity. The children write the answers as fast as they can before the timer rings. As a class, we then go through each question explaining and sharing strategies. The children really love this game and often request to play it.
Maria Collings, Aycliffe Drive Primary School, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire