Developing fluency in maths

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Thinking about the working mathematically components of the NSW K-6 Mathematics Syllabus, I am challenged by the notion of fluency and the ways teachers can support the development of fluency in their students. At a recent Teacher Professional Learning TRIO shared some card games for building mathematical fluency.  Name that number, in particular, interested the teachers who were present. This game develops fluency through applying different numerical operations. So, at their request, we have added our version of this card game for maths. This game and variations of it are suitable for students in stages two and three. Click here to find the instructions for this game.


Communicating and making connections in maths.

At this time of the year we are assessing student achievement as part of reporting to parents. The two work samples from grade 1 students were a result of reading a book about a prince who continually asked for ‘more’. The text didn’t have any explicit mathematical concepts but as we were learning ‘doubles plus one’, it was simple to make a connection. The task was to create a problem based on the concept of ‘more’ and ‘doubles plus one’. During the reflection at the end of the lesson students were asked to check a partners work (peer assessment). One student completed the task correctly, second sample. The first work sample shows knowledge of ‘more’ being an addition problem and working mathematically. During feedback from a peer the student responded positively and was made aware of how to complete the task fully.


Assessing the work based on the syllabus, the students were able to demonstrate all components of working mathematically.

Communicating-They were able to describe, explain and represent their ideas.

Problem Solving-They formulated, modelled and solved their problem.

Reasoning-The students peer assessed a partners work to to check the maths was correct.

Understanding-They adapted and transferred mathematical concepts.

Fluency-They were able to transfer mathematical concepts from a previous lesson and make connections. The students who drew pancakes did not model ‘doubles +1’, however, she did demonstrate her knowledge of facts of ten and simple addition.

New Resources for 2014

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I know it is still holidays but TRIO never sleeps. Every conversation seems to lead to another good teaching idea. It is sad but true -curriculum excites us, even in our spare time! The logical next step is to share our lesson plans with you. Today we launch the first of our new range of teaching notes. To cover the time invested to write, and teach these lessons and units ,we have decided to charge a minimal cost for this range of resources. The first to be available is two maths lessons students in grade two and above. These lessons come with templates to use with the lessons. We hope you find this range of resources useful in your classroom. Watch this space for more exciting resources.

Take a piece of string…




Last week as Trio worked with teachers in Newcastle we were asked why we don’t post very much about maths. Maths is easy, in a way, because it is all about the content. However the challenge with the new NSW maths syllabus is to make working mathematically central to the teaching of maths. Problem solving and open-ended questions need to be core business and not peripheral in our classrooms.

As we worked with this group of teachers exploring the maths syllabus we asked them to form groups¬† of three and use a piece of string to make a triangular prism. The groups worked enthusiastically with a lot of talk to make their 3D shape. Each group solved the problem but all worked it out differently. The reflection after the task showed everyone a variety of ways the problem could be solved. A final question, ‘could three people make a cube?’ sent everyone back to their group to explore that possibility. The answer: ‘yes!’

This task was characterised by excellent maths practices, talk, trialling a variety of possible solutions, reflecting on the solution and enthusiasm  from the participants. Hopefully the same can be said for maths lessons in our classrooms.