Square dances

16th June 1995 at 01:00
NUMBERTIME: SHAPES. Age group: 4-5. BBC2, Mondays, 9.45-10.00am.

The Numbertime series of programmes on shapes, broadcast earlier this term, has been an excellent, fast-moving mixture of animation, songs and real-life examples, designed to support primary maths. In this collection, simple shapes such as the square, circle, triangle and rectangle are introduced.

There are two episodes per programme of a story featuring the animated figure El Nombre, a Zorro-like character. He comes to the rescue of young Juan who is upset because he doesn't know what, for example, a square is, or how to draw it. El Nombre provides a definition and draws the shapes in the sand. These episodes in each programme follow exactly the same format, including virtually identical dialogue, which could get a little tedious if the programmes were used too closely together.

Other formats are used to good effect. I liked the game show in which the contestants have to "Name that Shape" and the "Come Prancing" formation dance team who illustrate (eventually) what a circle is, to the tune of "Ring a Ring of Roses". Particularly enjoyable is a non-sexist version of the story of the caveman and cavewoman who discover that their primitive car will only move with circular wheels. In this version, it is the woman who wields the club.

The presenters of the programmes avoid any temptation to talk down to their viewers, and give every appearance of enjoying the sending up of the television genres. The accompanying teacher's notes provide some good ideas for follow-up work as well as worksheets. I was slightly worried by the way in which the definitions of squares and rectangles talked about four "corners", which would also apply to parallelograms and rhombuses, and pictures of spheres when talking about circles, but these niggles aside, this is a very enjoyable set of programmes which will entertain and motivate pupils starting to explore the world of shapes.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now