# Starter

## Mental Mondays #15

This Mental & Oral starter is based on an idea from John Taylor’s book JumpStart! Numeracy.

The focus is on using shortcuts to quickly add and subtract 9 and 8 mentally. For our version you will need a set of coloured cards. Scraps of paper or even post it notes will do. We used blue and yellow paper squares. You need enough so that half of the class (or group) can  have one colour and the other half the remaining colour. Read more »

## Mental Mondays #14

This starter idea focusses on 2D Shape. In particular the properties of shape and the correct use of shape related vocabulary. Like most of our mental and oral starter ideas it can be used as a group or individual activity too.

It is related to the "Target Board" activity we explored in Mental Mondays #13

Here's how this one works. You show a grid of 30 numbered shapes: Read more »

## Mental Mondays #13

In our previous mental and oral suggestion (Mental Monday #12) we focussed on calculation. That activity involved displaying a grid of numbers and challenging the children to choose numbers to solve specific problems. Read more »

## Mental Mondays #12

This mental and oral starter is a quick way to display a range of calculations.

Like our other mental and oral starter ideas this is easy to adapt to suit the needs and abilities of a range of children.

The idea here consists of a coloured number grid and a series of questions. We have attached a PowerPoint file with a selection of grids.

You display one such gird, like this: Read more »

## Mental Mondays #11

With this week’s mental and oral starter idea we are thinking about counting on (and counting back) and place value.

Like most of our other suggestions this can very easily be adapted to suit the needs of your children, which means it could be used with Early Years right up to Key Stage 3. We have also found that it adds a renewed level of interest and enthusiasm to ‘counting on’. Read more »

## Number Triples - Addition and Subtraction

This little number hunt activity could be used as a paired-starter, or as a game.

The focus is on finding trios of numbers which can be used to create addition and/or subtraction sentences.

For example, 4, 6, 10 are triples since they can be used as the basis for the following simple calculations:

## Mental Mondays #6

This time we offer a Mental and Oral activity which focusses on using a specific strategy to give addition a speed boost.

This teaching activity enables children to gain confidence in reordering the numbers of an addition problem to make that problem easier. The focus is on looking for pairs which create a specific total.

## Mental Mondays #4

This Mental and Oral activity is based on the properties of shape.

It is quite a simple idea, but the focus is on the correct use of vocabulary and on the children's thinking skills. Therefore, as well as being a 'thoughtful' starter, it will also generate some good assessment opportunites.

Here's how we play it: Read more »

## Problem Talk - 3

This is a perfect introductory activity, particularly effective when children can work together on mini whiteboards.

As before, print out the file and cut each page into separate strips - each containing one written problem. Give each child a problem slip, and ask the pair to take it in turns to read the maths problem and discuss how it could be attacked. Read more »

## Problem Talk - 2

A number of members have asked for another series of the two-stage problems that featured in our original Problem Talk resource.

Here is the result: a set of 20 multi-step written problems, these are specifically designed to offer appropriate challenge for Y2 and Y3 children.

## Number Journey

This is a great way to get children discussing the mental strategies they use when calculating.

The idea is that the children have to follow a series of instructions to arrive at an unknown number. The image on the left shows a chain of number operations. The starting point is 2, to which 4 is added (making 6), this is then multiplied by 2 (giving 12), divided by 6 (making 2) then, finally, 1 is added (to end with 3). Read more »

## Target Number Machine

This makes a great partner starter activity.

The games gives children plentyty of practice in addition and subtraction of two digit numbers, and a simple development means it can also be used to reinforce place value and decimal numbers.

The gameboard features a series of cells representing three two digit numbers: Read more »

## Serial Adding - Spot the Bonds

Another number bonds resource; but this one is a perfect starter activity.

The activity gives children plenty of practice at looking for bonds to 10 hidden in a series of numbers... Why? To aid their calculation skills.

For example, when adding 6 + 2 + 4 it is a useful strategy to mentally gather together the digits that add to 10: Read more »

## Problem Talk

Here's a maths activity focused on helping children to work out what to do when faced with a two-stage problem.

Working with thinking partners, each child has a problem slip and they take it in turns to read it out and discuss how it could be attacked; discussing what maths functions they need to apply in order to solve the problem. Importantly, they must also decide on the order of those functions and be prepared to explain everything to the rest of the class. Read more »

## Times Tables with a Counting Stick

This is a wonderful example of teaching techniques using a counting stick. This video, taken from a lecture at Bath Spa University, shows Jill Mansergh helping a group of trainee teachers learn the 17 times table. The 17 times table is demonstrated to ensure that the trainees are outside their 'comfort zone' and go through the learning process, in a similar fashion to most children.

## Flip Flops Again

Following a couple of requests I have repackaged the original maths starter activity (the original Flip Flop design) in two ways:

- a larger, A3 format, so you can use the counting activities with larger groups of children.

- a set of mini Flip Flops, each counting grid is 8.5cm square. Read more »

## Simple Arrays

Multiplying two numbers can easily be thought of as finding the area of a rectangle. It is simple, direct and very visual strategy.

Using an array of objects or marks can help young children grasp the concept more quickly.