April 2

Morning Maths


This term we have been using the time before school really starts 8.30 am and a little after the bell 8.55 am to sharpen our maths fluency skills. We have been working on our recall skills for number facts. We were taught a great game called flip.

Using a pack of cards we flip over a card and we need to say the number to finish the fact. Learning facts to ten. All number cards are face value e.g. 7 of hearts is worth seven. Picture cards Jack, Queen and King are worth ten. Aces are worth one.

Using a timer we set one minute to go through the pack. When the minute is up, we count our successful cards. We have found that over the weeks our totals are increasing. We are recalling facts a lot quicker. The helps us when we need to calculate in problem solving.

The great thing about flip is we can play it individually or in partners. When we feel really confident, Ellen does a game with us to test our skills.

Once we are confident at one fact family, we challenge ourselves for different amounts such as to 20, or to 8. It’s great fun. Beepers are going off everywhere, there is a hive of mathematical activity.

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As we move into learning our multiplication facts we can still play flip, instead of making totals to a number, we can multiply the card shown by a certain table number e.g. pull a seven, times by two is 14. So we can learn our two times table facts a lot quicker.

There’s a lot to be said about practice makes perfect.


What do you think about morning maths?

How have you improved in recalling your facts?

What helps you or gets in the way?

Which tables do you think you should begin with?

March 19

Learning the art of Chess

This term we have been fortunate to have Chess expert Alan Goldsmith from Knights & Bytes teaching us all about the game of Chess. He has been teaching Grange kids and staff the skills of how to think logically and strategically  in order to capture the opponent’s King for many years.

Alan taught us about each piece and how to move each piece. We also needed to know how much they were worth if we captured one.

While we knew the information, winning a game is about careful thinking, planning and strategy! We found out it is important to think about the opponents next possible moves. We gave it a go.


Alan taught us to read the board as if it was a map and we could move pieces according to their position. for example Q to F4.

Did you know you need to do CPR in chess? That means if you hear that your King is in Check there are three things you should do.

  • C – Capture Can you capture any piece? If you can, then do that and the King is safe, if not then…
  • – Protect Move a piece in to protect the King, if you can, then the King is safe, if not then…
  • – Run The King needs to flee to safety!

Chess is all about protecting the King.


But if you want to do some extra chess playing go to www.chesstempo.com that is a site that will teach you exciting strategies.

If you really want to get into more chess then checkout  www.knightsandbytes.com.au   Alan has a host of chess information and activities available for you to peruse.

Next term we are having a chess tournament to find the top players in year three. Will it be you?  Start practicing.

What have you learnt about Chess?

What would you still like to know?

Do you think playing chess is a useful activity? Why, Why not?

February 25

Learning how to say, read and write Big numbers

Reading numbers like this  830 150 753 is a challenge, so where do we start?

Well knowing place value helps. That is looking at the value of a digit and knowing what it is worth by the position in the number.

We have been having a lot of fun learning how to better understand place value. We have learnt the first four places – Thousand Hundred Ten One then we played a game using playing cards. In pairs each player would flip a card and place it in one of those positions. The aim was to make the highest number. The winner was the one who could win five times.

I love it when they explain their mathematical strategies while they are playing, it helps us with our thinking. I reckon sharing how you do work is very helpful to others and ourselves.

This was a great warm up place value activity, then it came to writing these big numbers. First thing we did was to make our own set of arrow cards. These were colour coded for each place value. It took a while to cut everything, but it was worth it.

Go team one

Love the concentration team five

Way to go team three great modelling for others

Once that job was done we could make lots of four digit numbers. So randomly choosing one of each colour, we made 4 digit numbers.

But that’s not all.. No, we learnt that there were three ways you could record a number.  Check this out..

Anita has built the number 7762 with the cards she randomly chose, she can write it 3 ways

  1. Standard Form 7762
  2. Expanded Form 7000 + 700 + 60 + 2
  3. Written Form seven thousand seven hundred and sixty two

Look at them go..

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Using the arrow cards made a lot of sense to us. We could clearly see where the numerals needed to go to make the standard form and when it came to expanding the number, it was easy to read. Once we could read it, it was easy to write what we said… but we had to check our spelling for accuracy.

We’re not experts yet, but we have a made a great start to becoming one.

Something to think about.

What did you think of the place value card game?

What could you do to try to win the game?

Is it better to go first or second?

How do you feel about place value after using the arrow cards?

What confuses you with big numbers?

What do you still need to learn?

September 28

Who gets the bigger half?


fraction |ˈfrakʃ(ə)n| noun

a numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. 1/2, 0.5).

a small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something: he hesitated for a fraction of a second | her eyes widened a fraction.

For the past few weeks we have been investigating the mathematical concept of fractions.

We had all heard the words like half and quarters and began to share our understandings of what we thought fractions were. Alex Narcys, our Maths coordinator, wanted to come in and work with us further on this concept.

We began by reminding ourselves of what we valued when doing maths and what we didn’t like as well. You may want to revisit our earlier post on that from term one for our posters.

All photos taken by Ellen


Alex began by showing the students a bowl of fruit but we didn’t know how many apples there would be.



They all worked out that there were 6 apples. To solve this problem, students discussed their reasoning and the strategies used such as addition, others were using the language of halves and doubling numbers. They agreed on getting the language and concept right.

So what is a half?

Halves are two equal pieces


It soon became clear that students knew what made a half two equal pieces ….. or did they?

Alex gave them all squares and challenged them to find as many ways as they could to show half. After folding down the middle some had to think again, does it always have to be in the middle?  What could a different way look like?

What do you think of these samples?

Then we tried the same task with wavy lines… that was challenging but fun.

Fraction Walls

img_1109 img_1110

It was time to get building. We began to build fraction walls. Starting with a whole brick, we laid the foundation stone. Taking another brick we cut that into two equal pieces and laid that above. The third layer was divided into three bricks, the fourth into four bricks and so we went on to build strong walls. Ellen let us find our own ways to make the equal sized bricks.

Getting the bricks to be all equal sizes was a challenge. Children discovered  amazing strategies to get them to work. They realised wholes could be folded into halves and once they knew how to get thirds they could get sixths by folding thirds into halves. They all agreed the hardest was the fifths and then they thought ninths was almost impossible. But with persistence and strategic thinking, they completed their walls.

So what do we know now?

  • that fractions are equal pieces
  • a whole can be divided into many smaller equal pieces – these are called fractions.
  • the more you divide the smaller the size of the fraction
  • fractions have mathematical names -top is the numerator how many fractions and lower is the denominator how many equal pieces

You think you know it? Can you show it?

Mr Narcys wanted to see us put that new learning into practice. Choosing a random fraction he wanted us to show the fraction in different ways as a circle, in a square, as a collection, on a strip of paper and on a number line. We had these fractions  1/2, 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 to pick from. Some children sighed with relief when they got 1/2 and 1/4. Others groaned when they got 1/3, 1/5. Why do you think that?

The children found themselves using a lot of mathematical problem solving strategies particularly organising equal fifths. However they were collectively challenged by showing fractions on a number line.

We know where we need to put some investigation into for next term…. Numberlines

Stay tuned for more fraction investigations.

What did you enjoy about working with fractions?

What did you find tricky to do?

How would you explain fractions to a year two student?

What else do want us to investigate about fractions next term?

May 25

Understanding the mystery of Linear Measurement

We had a go at sharing what we thought we knew about measurement.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 10.43.17 AM

As you can see from our concept map, we already know a lot about measurement. In our teams we tried to sort this data out into similar concepts.

IMG_0411 IMG_0412 IMG_0413 IMG_0414 IMG_0416 IMG_0417IMG_0415

Isn’t it interesting how we all came up with a different way of organising information.

Which posters work well?     What would you change?

Over the past couple of weeks our Preservice teacher, Senija, has been teaching us maths skills and concepts to do with linear measurement.


Linear measurement is where we find out the length or distance of straight lines.

Senija reminded us of the units we could use.

millimetres mm

centimetres cm

metre m

kilometre km

We began by investigating metre distances. First Senija gave us some ribbon and our first job was to measure and cut it into 1 metre lengths.

Once we had our one metre ribbon Senija gave us some challenges. With our partners we tried to :-

jump a metre with and without a run up

stretching to do the splits

experimenting with the length of our body parts

that was fun…IMG_0349 IMG_0344 IMG_0347 IMG_0353

Metre measurement was okay for long distances, but what if we needed to know how long a smaller object was?

Next Senija gave us some interesting activities to practice measuring with centimetres.

Senija reminded us all to begin measuring at the 0. Some rulers have a dead end and we needed to be mindful of lining up the start correctly.

We found objects around the class that were smaller than our ruler.


We were getting really good at using and reading measuring tools such as rulers and tape measures. Of course we kept recording carefully as well.

Continuing to work with our partners we were challenged to find the lengths of parts of our bodies. Now which tool would be useful….mm?

Senija introduced us to the maths term Perimeter The distance around  the outside of a shape.


P = 9 cm + 12 cm + 7 cm

P = 28 cm


It was interesting to see all the different strategies our classmates used to calculate the perimeter.

Some saw that they could double numbers

10 cm doubled is 20 cm, double 20 cm is 40 cm so P=40 cm

Others added

10 cm+10 cm+10 cm+10 cm= 40 cm P=40 cm

or  we saw that you could use multiplication

4×10 cm=40 cm so P=4o cm

Clearly in Maths there is always more than one way to find a solution and it was great to see the different strategies.

It’s always great to be able to try to use new skills, so when Senija asked us to have a go at finding the perimeter of different shapes we didn’t give up, we had a go.

Senija went on to teach us about mass next…. that’s another story.

What part of these activities did you find challenging?

When have you needed to measure something? Why? How did you do it?

What are you looking forward to in learning about other measurements?