Sum of its parts;Primary;Maths Year 2000;Books

1st October 1999 at 01:00
MATHS LINKS PLUS FOR YEAR 2. Teacher's guides (one per term) pound;19.95 each. Practice and assessment workbooks pound;7.95 per pack of 10. Numeracy flipbook pound;15.95. Giant discussion book pound;39.95. Follow-up activities (one per term) pound;7.95. Big Story Books - 12 titles, pound;17.95 each (also obtainable as small books for pound;1.75 each and on audio cassettes for pound;4.95 + VAT each). Mathematics from Many Cultures, pound;37.95. Kingscourt Publishing.

This is one of those hybrid schemes cobbled together - relatively successfully in this case - from existing and specially written components. The teacher's guides (one per term) follow the Numeracy Framework's Year 2 teaching programme to the letter in providing daily mathematics lessons. Lessons are divided into the standard oralmental; main; plenary format. Included - but not for all lessons - are suggestions for consolidation, support and extension activities and homework. Layout is clear and helpful.

Teachers may find the range and variety of follow-up activities for small group or individual work insufficient, with, in many instances, all children merely working on the same worksheet. The initial daily oral sessions - all very sound, with clear objectives - are provided in Numeracy 2, which comes in a small free-standing flip-book format for easy ongoing reference by the teacher.

The most striking component - and the best maths "big" book I have ever come across - is the Giant Discussion Book. Measuring a good 60cm X 40cm, it has rigid board covers and contains mouth-wateringly brilliant illustrations that will stimulate rich discussion. Also impressive are the 12 big storybooks, each with a mathematical slant, which are used as a basis for some of the lessons.

A subject neglected in most schemes, Mathematics from Many Cultures - which has been around and well regarded for some years now - is a welcome component of this one. It comes in a pack containing a big book with attractive double page spreads (reproduced as posters), each on a separate culture, and its own book of teacher's notes.

Providing the bulk of the written activities are the three monochrome practice and assessment workbooks and the three photocopiable follow-up activities books. It is disappointing that more able and less able children are not well catered for.

Individual components in this scheme are well worth considering. As a complete scheme it is also worth a look, but teachers may feel the need to supplement it - particularly for differentiated activities - from other sources.

Paul Harrison is a writer and lecturer

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