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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years
Number Time
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Activities explained
Writing Numbers, Number Ladders, Number Sequences, Making Numbers, Number Stories, Add and Take Away
Writing Numbers  

Use these sheets to encourage numeral recognition and formation. Encourage children to say the name of each number and to show the appropriate number of fingers. Reinforce by asking children to carry out that number of actions; clapping, nodding, leg tapping etc. Trace the numeral with a finger, drawing attention to the spot which indicates the starting point, and the arrow which shows direction. Encourage children to draw their own numerals in the air, on the carpet or on each other's backs.

Look at the apples on the sheet and count them together. Emphasise the rule of one apple / one count. Repeat the final count of the apple set, and help children to make the connection between this and the numeral on the activity sheet.

Where there are larger numbers of apples, talk about the need to avoid errors in counting.

  • Where did the counting start?

  • Have we counted any apples twice?

  • Have we left any apples out of the counting?

Point out the number word on the sheet drawing attention to helpful initial and final sounds as appropriate.

Using the Sheets

Encourage the children to trace over the numeral with a finger.

Remind the children that El Nombre and Little Juan write numbers in the sand. Explain that they will be able to pretend to do this by cutting out the hat and moving it over the number.

Show the children how they can make a number mobile by decorating and cutting out the number and then hanging decorated apples from it.

Go to 'Writing Numbers' activity sheets
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Number Ladders  

These activity sheets will help children to develop the early skills and language of addition.

Start by reinforcing the language of 'one more'. Make a small collection of objects and ask the children to help you to count them. Now ask how many objects there would be if there was 'one more'? Collect and record predictions before carrying out the addition practically, and checking the result by counting.

Now repeat the procedure, introducing the number line as a means of support. Emphasise that when counting along a number line it is the 'jumps' that are counted, not the spaces or squares.

A good habit is to place the forefinger of both hands on the starting number. The left hand finger then stays in position, whilst that of the right hand counts the jumps to the right. This helps children to remember their starting point.

Using the sheets

Show the children how to work down the numbers on the left hand side of the page, each time adding one more and recording the answer in the appropriate ladder space.

When children have filled in a few of the answers on the number ladder, pause the activity and encourage them to look for number patterns in the answers.

Once a pattern of rising numbers is recognised discuss the possibility of the pattern continuing down the ladder. Talk about the uses of pattern in predicting and checking answers. Invite more able children to explain why this pattern is formed.

Go to 'Number Ladders' activity sheets

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Number Sequence  

These activity sheets provide opportunities for children to practise the ordering of numbers . They require children to recognise sequences, supply missing numbers, to add specific numbers to a partially completed line and to place several numbers in order.

Some of the sheets also offer opportunities to introduce aspects of number patterns, including odd and even numbers.

Using the sheets

The sheet 'Cut and Match' is used to make a matching game. To play the game children should work in small groups with adult support. Cut all the pieces out and randomly arrange them, face uppermost. Make sure that the numbers are correctly orientated to enable recognition, and be prepared to support the reading of number words. Children take turns in finding numbers, words and pictures which go together. The cards can then be used to set challenges in which the numbers, words or pictures are placed in sequence.

Children can also work individually, arranging the pieces of the sheet into trios, before sticking them onto paper or card after checking.

The activity sheet 'Stand in Line' asks children to identify the positions of two numbers missing from a line. Introduce and support the activity using 'washing line' activities in which number cards are pegged to a line in sequence. Encourage children to talk about their choices as they make decisions in positioning numbers. For example, "The number 4 goes here because it is less than 5 but more than 3."

'Don Fandango's Treasure' and 'Alien Footprints' both ask children to fill in the missing numbers along a trail. Start by reading the numbers aloud, encouraging children to identify the numbers which are missing. Finally ask the children to complete the activity sheets, writing the numbers in the spaces.

Looking at those numbers which are already on the trail, and those which are missing offers an opportunity to introduce ideas of odd and even numbers.

Show small groups of children how to cut out the pictures of houses with numbers from the sheet 'House Numbers' and to arrange them in order. Talk about the ordering of the numbers as the children work, asking questions such as: "Which is the biggest number? Which is the smallest? How many houses are missing?"

Help the children to decide which numbers which are missing. Show them how to write numbers on the doors of the remaining pictures to provide the missing houses. The houses can then be coloured and stuck onto paper to make a street. Older or more able children can be challenged to make a street with 'sides' of odd and even numbers.

Go to 'Number Sequences' activity sheets

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Making Numbers  

These sheets present a variety of number problems including examples of addition and subtraction. Supply supportive counting apparatus for children to manipulate and count. Use the objects to provide practical illustrations of the number operations involved.

Some of the sheets also have number lines on them. Again, encourage children to count along the number line to find the answers. Remind children how to 'count on' to the right to add, and 'count back ' to the left to subtract or 'take away'.

Using the Sheets

There are two sheets called 'Making 10'. The first presents a problem to solve, in which children find number bonds or compliments of 10. The second sheet offers a recording option for the activity.

Having cut out the numbered stars on the first sheet, explain to the children that they are going to look for two stars with numbers which can be added to make ten. How many different pairs of stars like this can they find? Draw attention to the ten stars under the moon on the page and explain how they might be used for support. Count, for example, four stars and cover them up with your hand. How many stars can now be seen? There are four stars under your hand and six more. 4 stars and 6 stars make 10 stars altogether.

Show the children how to choose a different numbered star to complete each of the sums (or number sentences) on the 'Making 10 record sheet'.

To solve the puzzle of 'Tanto's hiding place' the children need to find the answer to each addition sum, using either counters or the number line on the sheet. Talk about the answers to the sums and encourage the children to talk about the pattern of numbers made by the solutions.

Use the sheet 'Football Shirts' to give practice in solving a mixture of addition and subtraction problems. Remind children how to use a number line for support in solving number sentences with missing components . To solve the sum 7 - _ = 5, for example, invite a volunteer to demonstrate how to start with a finger on the number 7 and to count how many jumps it takes to go back to number 5.

In solving the Number Puzzles 1 - 10 activity sheet children will again be helped by the use of counters. Talk about the way in which some of the puzzles give a total number from which something else can be worked out. The third question on the sheet, for example, can be read as 'How many do you have to add to 2 to make 5 altogether?'

Discuss the way in which the number line could also be used to solve this problem. To find the missing number in '2 + _ = 5', remind children how to start with a finger on number 2 and to count how many jumps it takes to reach 5.

This activity sheet finally introduces the idea that addition is commutative. When you add two or more numbers together, swapping them around doesn't change the answer, so 3 + 2 is the same as 2 + 3.

(It is a useful discussion point that subtraction sums are not commutative. . 5 - 3 is not the same as 3 - 5).

The final sheet in this set, 'Number Puzzles 1 - 20', extends the problems to involve larger numbers. Again, supportive practical apparatus, in addition to the number line provided, will be helpful.

Go to "Making Numbers" activity sheets

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Number Stories  

The number puzzles present addition and subtraction problems in everyday contexts. They offer useful opportunities to develop relevant mathematical language as children discuss and describe what happens in each case.
Ask questions:

'Do you think there will be more balloons or less if some blow away?"
"If some ice creams are eaten are we adding some or taking some away?"

Introduce ideas of 'the difference between' two numbers:

Pedro had 3 sweets, now he has 5. how many more does he have? What is the difference between 5 and 3? 5 is 2 more than 3. 3 is 2 less than 5.

In all cases provide supportive apparatus so that children can enact the problems presented.

Once children are confidently working with these problems, use them as the basis for mental mathematics, using the images of the number stories. Ask children to imagine, for example, a cake with three candles on it and to blow one out. How many are still alight?

Using the Sheets

The first sheet, 'Birthday cakes' shows a series of birthday cakes with candles. The children are asked to say how many candles will be left alight on each cake when two are blown out. Show the children how to draw a line through candles as they 'blow them out'.

Talk about the puzzle:

"There were three candles and two were blown out. There is one candle left alight."

Use the number line at the bottom of the page to reinforce the solution.

"Starting on 3 and counting back 2 jumps, takes us to 1."

Introduce the number sentence 2 less than _ is _.

The sheet 'Balloons' is very similar, but introduces larger numbers, as 5 balloons are burst in each example. Again, marking the balloons which pop in some way, will help children to visualise and understand the problems.

On the 'Ice Creams' sheet 4 ice creams are dropped in each example. Again, use opportunities to talk about what has happened in each story.

"Pedro had 10 ice creams and he dropped 4. Now he has 6 left. 10 take away 4 leaves 6."

The 'Sweets' and 'Apples' activity sheets both tell stories which involve adding more. Encourage children to draw additional pictures in the boxes to show what happens in each case.

Use the language of addition as you talk about the puzzles.

"Pedro had 3 sweets and then Juan gave him 2 more. Now he has 5 sweets. 3 and 2 make 5 altogether."

Introduce language which helps children to link these practical examples with mathematical notation:

Go to 'Number Stories' activity sheet
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Add and Take Away  

The key vocabulary for Key Stage 1 is introduced in the "Addition and Subtraction" series and is reinforced and clarified through these acitivity sheets. It can be useful to brainstorm, discuss and display the vocabulary and symbols.

Children can be asked to think of all the words that relate to + symbol and - symbol and give examples of ways in which these can be used. For example, encouraging children to recognise the relationship between addition and subtraction in a variety of contexts.

Some vocabulary may be more familiar to children with a different meaning E.g. the difference between. Children may be more used to looking at physical differences and respond to "what is the difference between 2 and 7?" by discussing their physical attributes. The activity sheets can provide contexts to help the children make sense of the mathematical meaning.

Most children will be familiar with seeing numerals written in different styles – handwritten, printed, calculator displays, video recorders, telephones, buses etc. It is useful to develop this awareness through discussion, number hunts (how many ways can you find the number one written around the school, at home etc?).

Using the sheets

The activity sheets will help the children to get acquainted with the concept of recording. The emphasis is on developing mental strategies for calculating. Alongside their oral and mental work, children learn to read, interpret and complete number statements and then record the results of their own mental calculations in a conventional way using a horizontal format.

Go to 'Add and Take Away activity sheets

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