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The role of the practitioner in children's problem solving is to pose challenges and prompt them with occasional questions and suggestions, but not provide the answers for them, says Margaret Martin.

Give children plenty of opportunities to measure and compare quantities, and develop the vocabulary to describe what they are doing, with more activity ideas in our series by Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Introduce children to patterns, and help them learn to recognise the mathematical rules behind them, describe patterns and create their own, with these ideas from Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner

Where is it? Develop children's mathematical thinking by giving them plenty of opportunities to talk about positioning with resources and activities around the setting, suggested by Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Help children to use, discuss and think about shapes in mathematical terms with suggestions from Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Practical experience using everyday objects is best for understanding adding and subtracting, as Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner explain.

Demonstrating the idea of one more and less is the basis of adding and subtracting, say Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Mentally attaching a number name to an object within a group is an important skill for young children to master, say Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Practitioners can gently prompt children into identifying problems and trying solutions, as Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner show

Fun activities to associate written numerals with what they represent are outlined in our series by Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner

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