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Three of a kind;Cross-phase;Reviews;Numeracy

NUMERACY: MATHS IN YOUR HEAD. pound;5. NUMERACY: MULTIPLICATION MAKES SENSE. pound;25 + VAT. DECIMAL PLAYING CARDS. pound;3 + VAT. SMILE. Mathematics. Tel: 0171 221 8966

Maths in your Head contains a set of 20 whole-class numeracy activities for children at key stages 2 and 3. Activities are roughly grouped under headings such as Addition and Subtraction, Mixed Number and Place Value; but, strangely, not Multiplication and Division.

The activities are sound and will slot well into the daily numeracy lesson, as short stand-alone mental maths sessions or as the basis for the main part of a lesson. But there are no references to the Numeracy Framework objectives, and the stated "aims" of many of the activities, such as "to develop students' facility with an understanding of number", are too vague.

Multiplication Makes Sense is a seemingly random selection of 15 photocopiable activities grouped into national curriculum levels 2 to 6. Unfortunately, spreading so few activities across such a wide range of levels means no more than about half a dozen activities will be appropriate for any class.

The range of levels could have been useful for providing differentiated tasks with similar objectives if there were some discernible connection between the activities at different levels; but there isn't. Activities themselves are fairly lacklustre and the accompanying teacher's notes are uninspiring.

Redeeming the book is a pack of photocopiable A4 cards for making attractive eight-page individual multiplication tables booklets.

The pack of decimal playing cards is made up of 52 cards representing 13 one and two-place decimals in four ways: as a numeral, in words, and as representations on a square and on a number line. Probably most suitable for Years 5 and 6, the cards can be used for ordering and sorting activities and games such as Snap. Only a few activities are suggested, but most teachers or pupils could come up with many more.

Paul Harrison

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