Sign In
Broadbent Maths
Broadbent Maths - creative primary planning

Teaching ideas and articles

Teaching ideas and activities for your classroom. Paul also writes articles on primary maths teaching and learning, the new National Curriculum and other maths topics for primary teachers.

Interested in Broadbent Maths Planning Package?
 
Clearing out the cupboards - make a maths library
11/07/2014
Clearing out the cupboards - make a maths library

The end of the summer term is often a time for a thorough sort of your maths cupboards and resources. This year of course there is a new maths curriculum so it's an even better time to have a sort out.  However, don’t be too hasty in throwing out-of-date maths books away. 
 
 
Raising standards with 32 Maths Hubs and help from China
10/07/2014
Raising standards with 32 Maths Hubs and help from China

The DfE has announced a network of 32 "Maths Hubs" in a bid to improve maths education in the UK. They, along with Chinese teachers, will bring in a new style of teaching and learning to emulate the achievements of the top East Asian nations.  
 
 
Maths ideas for sports day and the Glasgow Commonwealth games
08/07/2014
Maths ideas for sports day and the Glasgow Commonwealth games

Many schools are preparing for sports day. This gives a good reason for having a themed day with all learning around a context and obviously 'Sport' would be a great context at the moment, particularly with the Commonwealth Games starting in Glasgow on 23rd July. 
 
 
What should a school's calculation policy include?
24/06/2014
What should a school's calculation policy include?

Calculation policies are incredibly important documents, particularly for the teaching staff, as they should provide the guidance and expectations for the teaching of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division for each year group. So what should a school's calculation policy include?
 
 
Le Tour working wall - starting in Yorkshire
23/06/2014
Le Tour working wall - starting in Yorkshire

Le Tour provides lots of primary maths starting points, it is a fantastic spectacle and most children relate to cycling. There is the added bonus that this year it starts in Yorkshire as well as a Stage from Cambridge to London.  It would make a great backdrop for a working wall in your classroom.
 
 
Integrating statistics into every primary maths topic
17/06/2014
Integrating statistics into every primary maths topic

Planning for the use of tables, charts and graphs within each maths unit rather than having a separate unit on statistics can be more effective for learning, much easier to teach and helps children to make connections.  
 
 
Putting addition in a context - why not make it a football maths activity?
11/06/2014
Putting addition in a context - why not make it a football maths activity?

Practising a key skill in calculation can be so much more effective if it is put into a context that grabs the interest of a class.  This maths activity can be used in almost any theme or a topic from another curriculum area. With the World Cup upon us, try it as a football maths activity.
 
 
Statistics for KS1 - World Cup winners
10/06/2014
Statistics for KS1 - World Cup winners

Finding data in a real life context for EY or KS1 maths can be difficult as the numbers need to be small. The list of teams that have won the World Cup is perfect with numbers between 1 and 5.
 
 
Helping children learn their tables
30/05/2014
Helping children learn their tables

Some children (and adults!) find it hard to remember multiplication facts, which can be very frustrating after teaching them using counting patterns, number lines, multiplication grids, repeated addition, using facts we know to learn others, games, songs, chants… and every other method that’s out there. 
 
 
Football maths activities and ideas for the World Cup
20/05/2014
Football maths activities and ideas for the World Cup

The World Cup is almost here and it is a great way to teach maths in context. The wealth of facts and figures create fantastic opportunities for problem solving starting points. For example, player profiles bring in measures and averages and stadium seats are good for rounding, ordering and comparing large numbers. It all starts on 12th June and lasts for a month. Can't wait!
 
 
Assessment without levels: latest developments
18/05/2014
Assessment without levels: latest developments

Assessment is, of course, currently on the minds of primary teachers as we wait for any developments and advice. Many schools I speak to are sticking with levels for the time being, but these are two typical questions that I’ve been asked recently:
 
 
What's in a name? That which we would call a planning menu...
18/05/2014
What's in a name? That which we would call a planning menu...

I had a great day with two KS1 and KS2 Subject Leaders supporting them to implement my maths planning approach. However it became clear that Broadbent Maths Planning Package was too long for file names. Calculation policies and assessment were also discussed and I've started work on these.
 
 
Getting to grips with the new KS1 and KS2 maths National Curriculum
30/04/2014
Getting to grips with the new KS1 and KS2 maths National Curriculum

Most teachers are beginning find their way through the new primary National Curriculum in readiness for September. Here is a file to download with the details of the changes between the current and new KS1 and KS2 maths Programmes of Study.
 

 
 
Calculating with negative numbers
16/04/2014
Calculating with negative numbers

Adding and subtracting negative numbers is easy enough to put into a context, but it can be tricky to find a good way of representing the multiplication of negative numbers so that it makes sense. A trainee teacher asked me about it  last week and it made me think afresh about teaching this.
 
 
Teaching Roman numerals in the new curriculum
14/04/2014
Teaching Roman numerals in the new curriculum

The new National Curriculum maths Programmes of Study includes reading and using Roman numerals, which seems typically knowledge and fact based. However Ancient Romans as a theme offers a rich context for mathematical starting points.
 

 
 
Teaching data handling creatively using graph stories
23/03/2014
Teaching data handling creatively using graph stories

Graph stories are a fun and open-ended way to explore continuous line graphs.  As you know, if you have heard me talk about maths planning, I feel that data handling in the primary curriculum is a tool or form of communication that can be used to support the teaching and learning in all the other maths topics. 
 
 
Easter Maths Activities - try egg rolling
21/03/2014
Easter Maths Activities - try egg rolling

I'm always promoting teaching maths in context and Egg Rolling gives opportunities for measuring length and collecting and sorting data. Different tasks can be given to cover every age from Year 1 to Year 6.  It is also a chance to get outside and enjoy the first days of good Spring weather.

 
 
Another Maths Kit resource -  the elastic band strip
18/03/2014
Another Maths Kit resource - the elastic band strip

These are so simple and yet so useful for estimation and approximation skills and reinforcing place value, multiplication facts or fractions.
It can have numbers 1 to 10, large numbers to a million or decimals. Most importantly, if each child has their own then one question to the whole class can be answered by everyone as a 'Show me' activity.
 
 
Maths in a weather theme - which month has most rain?
18/02/2014
Maths in a weather theme - which month has most rain?
The weather is a popular topic in primary schools, providing many opportunity for teaching maths - particularly in rounding, ordering and  comparing numbers, finding averages, and using data handling. It is obviously a topic that will link well to the recent flooding in the UK.
 
 
10 ways to succeed with algebra in the primary classroom
18/02/2014
10 ways to succeed with algebra in the primary classroom
Ask most adults with an aversion to maths for the topic that turned them off the subject, and it is likely to be algebra. “I didn’t see the point…” is a common response, so what can we do to start children off with a positive view of algebra to hopefully stay with them for the rest of their lives?
 
 
A fraction wheel and angle estimator - to add to your maths kit
24/01/2014
A fraction wheel and angle estimator - to add to your maths kit
A fraction wheel can also be used as an angle estimator.  It is easy to make and is a useful resource to add to your maths kit. 

 
 
Make your own interactive maths kit
19/01/2014
Make your own interactive maths kit
Maths kits are really useful for interactive oral maths starter sessions and mental maths games. They can be used from Year 1 to Year 6 with small changes to the contents. So what are the most useful items to have?
 
 
Understanding maths versus tricks that get the answer
13/01/2014
Understanding maths versus tricks that get the answer
How should a teacher answer a parent (or a stranger at a party when they know you teach maths!), who say they have a quick method or maths ‘trick’ that would help children with their maths? 
 
 
2014 the year of the new National Curriculum
11/01/2014
2014 the year of the new National Curriculum
This is a big year for primary teachers with a new National Curriculum becoming statutory in September. It is the first all new NC after the 1989 original (revised in 1995 and 2000) so it should be introduced with a fanfare of trumpets and fireworks filling the sky. 
 
 
How many ways can a star be drawn?
10/12/2013
How many ways can a star be drawn?
Two different ways to draw a star are by placing two regular shapes one on top of the other or by drawing diagonals to alternate points on regular shapes.
Have a go at these with your class - here are examples, for both KS1 and KS2, 
to start you off.
 
 
A consecutive date - great time for an investigation!
A consecutive date - great time for an investigation!
11th December 2013 is the last date for 90 years that three consecutive numbers will line up.  
Celebrate it in your school by using the date as a starting point to investigate consecutive numbers.
 
 
Start a maths investigation with a Christmas song
08/12/2013
Start a maths investigation with a Christmas song
A video is a great way to start a maths investigation on the 12 days of Christmas. I’ve found a nice YouTube clip for the song 12 days of Christmas. As well as the Christmas songs, there are some good counting nursery rhymes for KS1 too.  Don't forget to check the content though, particularly the pop-up adverts.
 
 
Handling data and modelling bar charts
06/12/2013
Handling data and modelling bar charts

The process of gathering data and then representing it as a graph can be a difficult thing to model. Children are often able to interpret graphs, but not really have a feel for what the graph represents or how it was generated. 
 
 
Numbers in shapes
15/11/2013
Numbers in shapes

Here is a simple activity to get children thinking. I like starting points for problems that open up all sorts of possibilities - even better if they can lead the children on to making up their own questions. This is a good example of that, with an accessible starting point for all abilities from Y1-6.
 
 
Top online sharing wall for teachers
31/10/2013
Top online sharing wall for teachers


I’ve come across a really useful IT application - Padlet, that I would highly recommend.  It’s an easy way to share thoughts on a topic and it could be useful in schools for teachers to share ideas with each other or for classroom activities.

 
 
Shape, problem-solving and handling data
18/10/2013
Shape, problem-solving and handling data

I seem to have been doing a lot of 2D shape exploration recently, so here are two shape activities I’ll share with you for KS1 and KS2. They both use sorting diagrams – ideal for integrating data handling into a shape topic. 
 
 
 Maths objectives, success criteria, small progression steps: what's the difference?
15/10/2013
Maths objectives, success criteria, small progression steps: what's the difference?

When planning a unit of maths, the learning objectives are a key starting point. All teachers begin with a set of objectives, with many teachers then using success criteria as expected outcomes. I also like to use small steps of progression alongside these.
 
 
Planning maths to include problem solving
28/09/2013
Planning maths to include problem solving

I have been asked about how to find ideas for problem-solving activities to use as a central part of a unit of work. I think that the key is to have a bank of starting points for problems and investigations that can then be adapted for different contexts and matched to the objectives of the particular unit.
 
 
How one teacher linked a working wall to a learning journey
16/09/2013
How one teacher linked a working wall to a learning journey

I’ve had an interesting contact from an Australian teacher who has sent a photo of his maths working wall. He used my idea from a blog this last year to link a learning journey to a working wall and it has been a real success for him. 
 
 
2013 - using this year as a maths investigation
08/09/2013
2013 - using this year as a maths investigation


Did you know that 2013 is the first year since 1987 not to have a repeating digit? 
This is a great investigation to set your class.

 
 
Whole-class interactive maths - don't forget the counting stick
29/08/2013
Whole-class interactive maths - don't forget the counting stick

As a new school year begins this is a reminder to use the trusty old counting stick! I know it’s been around a while – but for good reason. It is an excellent, flexible model for a number line, and a great way of managing interaction with the whole class.
 
 
Current curriculum or the new 2014 NC - which should you teach?
25/08/2013
Current curriculum or the new 2014 NC - which should you teach?

Schools are currently in the process of making a decision on which National Curriculum programmes of study to teach to from September. It is all a little bit messy, caused by a mixture of the hasty publication of the new statutory orders and the hang-over of tests for 7-year olds and 11-year olds which will still match the current/old curriculum content.
 
 
Maths programme of study - what has changed in the new National Curriculum?
25/08/2013
Maths programme of study - what has changed in the new National Curriculum?

I've had a number of requests from teachers to provide a list of differences in the new 2014 maths programme of study compared to the current curriculum. Although the new curriculum isn't radically different, with familiar maths topics to teach, there are obviously many specific changes...
 
 
Cycling the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100
08/08/2013
Cycling the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100

Last weekend I cycled in the 100-mile cycle sportive around London and Surrey, raising money for Childnet - a fantastic charity.
It was an early start, cycling 5 miles at 6.00am just to get to the Olympic Park.
 
 
How long does it take before you switch off over the summer?
19/07/2013
How long does it take before you switch off over the summer?

Some teachers can switch off  the moment they leave their classroom on the last day of term - everything is sorted and ready to pick up again in the first week of September. 
 
 
New national curriculum for maths -using data handling to help make connections
21/06/2013
New national curriculum for maths -using data handling to help make connections

The national curriculum document for maths at KS1 and KS2 includes the words connect or connections 25 times – I think they’re trying to tell us something!
Most teachers are aware of the inter-connected nature of mathematics and this is one of the ‘big ideas’ taught on the MaST programme. It’s good to see this gaining such prominence in the NC framework.

 
 
Learning journey - make it a poster
21/05/2013
Learning journey - make it a poster

I had an interesting and enjoyable day marking M-level posters at Warwick University Institute of Education. The PGCE students had an assignment to critically reflect on their own personal learning journey towards becoming a maths specialist in primary schools, presenting their work as a large poster. 
 
 
05/04/2013
Draft maths National Curriculum - 5 things to change
Having spent two very worthwhile days at the ATM (Association of Teachers of Mathematics) conference in Sheffield, I thought I would grab a moment to evaluate the draft KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum. Here are my top 5 ‘CHANGE THIS!’ content issues that I will be feeding back to the DfE before the consultation deadline. 
 
 
National STEM Centre - exploring the eLibrary
13/03/2013
National STEM Centre - exploring the eLibrary

I’ve just spent an enjoyable hour exploring a wonderful library, losing myself in archives of new and old (but familiar) maths resources. It is part of the National STEM Centre site, with an online eLibrary gradually providing access to digitised resource materials from curriculum development projects. 
 
 
Easter Egg Tangram
07/03/2013
Easter Egg Tangram

This egg tangram provides an enjoyable and different Easter maths activity. Pupils work in groups or individually and explore the different shapes they can make from using all 9 tangram pieces.
 
 
Comparing maths test scores - how to get closer to high performing East Asian countries?
23/02/2013
Comparing maths test scores - how to get closer to high performing East Asian countries?

It was good to hear some positive news about primary teaching on Radio 4 yesterday morning, with headline-making research finding that our most able 10 year olds in England match the standards reached in maths tests by equivalent pupils in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 
 
Roman numerals and clock faces
22/02/2013
Roman numerals and clock faces

I’ve recently been working with teachers at The Green Way Academy Hull, sharing ideas to develop their maths planning.
Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be in a Y3/4 shape lesson which used ‘The Romans’ as a context. It was really creative, with children tessellating regular shapes with the aim to design a tiled pattern for a box they will make to hold a Roman artefact. I’m looking forward to seeing the end results.

 
 
Teaching calendars within time
18/02/2013
Teaching calendars within time
Here is one of the games from my Broadbent Maths Table Top games packs – feel free to download and print the game to use with your class. It is aimed at 8-9 year old children, but is good practice for all ages. There is a February problem for older children.
 
 
Level 6 Maths - Letts book published
11/02/2013
Level 6 Maths - Letts book published

I’ve had many requests for advice about what is expected for Level 6 maths following the blog I wrote last term: Level 6 maths in primary schools – what do you need to teach?

 
 
Maths in context - Pancake Day
04/02/2013
Maths in context - Pancake Day
This is something I’ve said a lot recently: “hang your maths on a real context and children will have more chance of being inspired to learn.”  With that in mind here are three maths activities around making pancakes - in addition to the task of making the pancakes with all the measuring that involves.
 
 
Another opportunity for a palindromic date
30/01/2013
Another opportunity for a palindromic date

If you missed the palindromic date on 21.11.12 in November and the 12.12.12 pattern in December, then there’s another chance to give your class a palindromic date challenge in January: 31.1.13.
 
 
Some tips for visiting the BETT show
17/01/2013
Some tips for visiting the BETT show
If you’ve never been to an education exhibition, then perhaps you could take a look at the BETT Show (British Educational Training and Technology). Entry is free. If you have been to BETT in the past, the venue has changed  – it is no longer in Olympia  but at the ExCel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands.
 
 
Teaching division - changing views on 'chunking'
10/01/2013
Teaching division - changing views on 'chunking'

We had a good discussion on the teaching of a written method for division in a school I was in earlier this week.
 
 
New Year INSET - progression in calculation
09/01/2013
New Year INSET - progression in calculation

Part of the training focus was on progression in calculation and developing a coherent approach to teaching and learning number facts, mental calculation strategies and written methods.
 
 
Make a star for Christmas
02/12/2012
Make a star for Christmas

Christmas gives some good opportunities for creative shape and measures activities. However, it is easy to forget the maths in all the cutting, sticking, shiny foil and glitter. Use this time to reinforce the language of shape and encourage them to measure accurately with a ruler.
 
 
12 days of Christmas  - a maths investigation
27/11/2012
12 days of Christmas - a maths investigation

I have chosen my Christmas cards for this year – with a maths theme, of course. The cards are from Cancer Research and have a design based on the Twelve Days of Christmas. This links to one of my favourite Christmas problems for your class to solve:
 
 
Level 6 maths in primary schools - what do you need to teach?
09/10/2012
Level 6 maths in primary schools - what do you need to teach?

Schools have another target to aim for – increase the number of pupils achieving Level 6. I have been asked a lot about this recently, so what is expected of these children and the Y6 teachers?
 
 
Linking a working wall to a learning journey
09/09/2012
Linking a working wall to a learning journey

Working walls and learning journeys have their own distinct features, but can be combined successfully to provide a good way for your class to be actively involved in their learning. Here are a few thoughts on making the most of each type of maths display area and how to link them together.
 
 
Do we need a qualification to teach?
31/07/2012
Do we need a qualification to teach?

The Department for Education knew it would be contentious. The press notice Academies to have same freedom as Free Schools over teachers‘ was timed to be released just before the opening ceremony for the Olympics – very well hidden indeed. Also many teachers will be away on holiday.
 
 
A little sporting logic for the olympics
27/06/2012
A little sporting logic for the olympics

This maths mystery involves logic to determine the sports played by different sports players. Six clues are given, each on separate cards, and children work in small groups to solve the mystery. One method to solve the mystery is using a 4x4 grid.
 
 
Maths, the Olympics and NRICH
19/06/2012
Maths, the Olympics and NRICH

One of my favourite websites is NRICH – and they are building up some interesting Olympic maths teaching ideas. I saw some of the NRICH ideas on angles being used at Manor Leas school, Lincoln – the photo shows a display of a ‘Learning Journey’ working wall for angles.
 
 
Maths football game - for Euro 2012
13/06/2012
Maths football game - for Euro 2012
I know many of you are planning for the Olympics at the moment, but don’t forget to make the most of the football as well. The excitement of Euro 2012 is building up and I’m sure a lot of you are displaying the group league tables in the classroom so they can be updated by the children – it’s something I did for every sports event. 
 
 
Plan your own olympic maths activities
06/06/2012
Plan your own olympic maths activities
I recently worked with Witham Academy to plan some Olympic themed maths, with lots of practical and fun ideas being shared by the staff. We found that there were many ‘ready-made’ Olympic resources online to use in the classroom, and, as always, the problem was finding those that suited the maths they wanted to teach for the children in their class.



 
 
Mathematics: made to measure
03/06/2012
Mathematics: made to measure

The Ofsted report  'Mathematics: made to measure' published in May made some important recommendations for the teaching of maths. It is well worth a quick look at the summary report but I would also recommend downloading the full report, particularly if you are a subject leader. 
 
 
Premier league final day - rich with data and stats
13/05/2012
Premier league final day - rich with data and stats
So it’s the season finale – the most exciting for years (unless you’re a Liverpool fan) and the opportunity for Manchester City to usurp their illustrious neighbours. There will be tears from the City fans whatever the result…
 
 
Using Flip-Flops to practice the multiplication tables
04/10/2010
Using Flip-Flops to practice the multiplication tables
Flip-Flops are a great resource – simple to make and fun to use. I have had them as part of my maths kit for years (I think they first appeared in Number Work for Infants by Thomas and Bannister in 1974) and when I used them in a school recently the teacher had forgotten all about them, even though they had been one of her favourite resources in the past. So here’s a reminder.