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Teaching Place Value

During the first term in Key Stage One, many children have problems with place value. Springfield School in Jersey is pioneering a new teaching method which encourages students to visualise calculations as they create 'maths stories' by moving cups, or cards, between the resources and maths tables.

The calculation 3+2=5 is used as a basis to introduce 3000+2000=5000, where the values are described as a numeral followed by the word thousand. This aspect of denomination is used for hundreds and then tens, using the word 'ty'. Words are adjusted so they do not obscure the logic of the mathematics. Twenty one is 'two-ty-one', thirty two is 'three-ty-two'.

Only six weeks into Year One, students are able to work accurately and confidently with two digit numbers. They are introduced to higher numbers, like 'four-ty-six' using flashcards, where a six is placed over the zero of 40 so that the 0 is obscured, helping pupils visualise that 46 is actually 40 and six.

Isobel Wood, the Headteacher, explains that this technique encourages students to think and utilises the elements of visualisation, articulation and re-enforcement, all of which have created a buzz of excitement around the school.

Skills are developed quickly and, before the end of term one, students are expected to progress to vertical addition.

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