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Maths is fun at Capel Manor

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22 July 2016

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Maths is fun according to the children at Capel Manor Primary School in North Enfield where teachers introduce them to exciting ways to solve problems.

Maths is fun according to the children at Capel Manor Primary School in North Enfield where teachers introduce them to exciting ways to solve problems.

A recent primary maths conference, organised by Enfield Council's School Improvement Service reinforced this approach when 60 maths subject leaders from primary schools attended 'Big Ideas in Maths' to hear about learning programmes to improve children's maths.

At Capel Manor children recently demonstrated how much fun they were having solving a monkey puzzle.

Working in small teams of two or three solving this problem tested their ability to use equipment and work logically enabling them to understand maths.

And even getting a wrong answer resulted in further analysis of why it was wrong as teachers gave them the confidence to find the right solution.

Head of maths, Frances Chapman explained: "A typical example of problem solving involves a puzzle where children have to find answers that satisfy a number of conditions – such as the three monkeys eating a share of 25 nuts.

"In this exercise they are asked to share out the nuts so that the smallest monkey eats the smallest number of nuts, the biggest monkey eats most and the middle sized monkey has a medium quantity – but each share must be an odd number.

"Children learn from the earliest age to work together and arrive at their solutions using number aids such as coloured cubes or sets of coloured plastic shapes containing hollowed out squares to represent a number.

"Known as numicon – this equipment can fit together to show number combinations. We call this manipulative work and children learn how to use it very quickly. In this way the problem solving activity lays down some firm foundations in understanding numbers and how they work."

Leading maths expert, Professor Askew's, 'Big Ideas in Mathematics' mean that all pupils can be mathematicians, given rich, engaging and challenging problems.

For children of primary school age maths is an exciting subject where they learn concepts such as place value number, and are able to apply arithmetical reasoning, equivalence, classification and meanings of symbols.

These are part of the 'Big Five' ideas driving a teaching system based on understanding and using mathematical disciplines.

Peter Warwick, Enfield Council's Primary Learning Numeracy Consultant, said: "It was wonderful to see so many children engaged in practical problem solving activities. This is typical of the approach used by Capel Manor and other primary schools across Enfield."

Systems of teaching have been devised using geometry, algebra and statistics where they learn counting, measure, gather data, make comparisons, interpret, represent and solve addition and subtraction word problems.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member, for Education, Children's Services & Protection, said: "Our recent conference on maths teaching was a huge and inspiring success.

"Enfield schools are already producing excellent work and the pupils from Capel Manor show just what can be achieved.

"We all need a good working knowledge of maths in our everyday lives but it is also the basis for important developments in so many fields of work. For the inventors, architects, engineers, doctors, chemists, researchers, economists – and more - maths is the foundation for success."