Nicola Randall is a Primary Mathematics Adviser at Herts for Learning. In this blog Nicola channels her inner Cher in order to provide Y6 teachers with some ideas for teaching mathematics in that difficult last half term.
If you have ever taught in Year 6, you will be well aware of the mad rush of emotion and relief as the pupils complete their final SATs test in May. Glad that they got through it with minimal crying, relieved that they all followed your advice and double checked their answers (yeah, right!) and completely exhausted with the high expectations required to meet the expected standard.
The following week is a cross between the Walking Dead and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where the pupils either go completely bonkers or turn into exhausted little zombies, slurring their way through the poetry that you thought would be a good idea when you planned it before the SATs.
So after the dust has settled, what do you do in Year 6 for the remainder of the term? You know that you must continue topping up their subject knowledge and prepare them for life at secondary school but are also painfully aware that they have already metaphorically left the building.
My view is that the second half of the summer term is perfect for some outdoor learning and cross-curricular maths. It’s fun, motivating and keeps mathematical knowledge fresh.
Many schools are lucky enough to live near a swimming pool, or even an outdoor lido, which provides an excellent treat for the weary Year 6’s. To make the most out of this, show the pupils the new Boots Advert, filmed at Letchworth Outdoor Pool in North Hertfordshire. Pause on the final frame, on the birds-eye view of the swimmers.
How many people do you estimate there are?
Gather pupil’s estimations on post-it notes and then ask them to discuss their strategies.
Other images could then be explored for pupils to apply the different strategies and consider their effectiveness. Objects such as a pile of jelly beans, trees in a woodland or a flock of birds provide pupils the opportunity to hone their skills of estimation and rehearse place value of large numbers. You could even take the class outside and gather objects in the natural environment. How about estimating a pile of pebbles and then trying to organise them into arrays, or estimating how many leaves there are on a tree.
The book ‘Great Estimations’ by Bruce Goldstone is perfect for some inspiration and contains images that you could easily use with your class.
Using a photo as a stimulus can also be an opportunity to incorporate other areas of maths, such as money, measure and ratio.
For example, questions related to the swimming pool could be:
- For a family of 3 adults and 2 children, what would the cheapest ticket cost be?
- The pool works on a ratio of 75:2 for swimmers and lifeguard. How many lifeguards would be needed for 330 swimmers?
- The greatest depth of the pool is 2.4m. Are there any animals that can stand upright and still be able to breathe?
- There are 660,430 gallons of water in Letchworth Outdoor Pool. How many litres is this if there are 4.5L to the gallon?
- What is the perimeter, area and volume of the pool? Compare this with measurements of other local swimming pools. What is the difference between them? Do any of them share the same area but have different perimeters?