6 ways to get maths lessons off to a great start

Coming up with new and engaging maths starters can sometimes become a struggle, especially with the additional resources that need to be created, printed and organised for each lesson. Maths starters can be a great way to get your children ready to engage with the main learning activity. However, for those days when you would rather complete the maths starter without heaps of preparation, cutting and sticking, there are some fantastic ways to get children motivated with their number skills. Below are some ideas for getting maths off to a great start!

  1. Create maths movements

Getting moving is a great way for you students to stay active and learn at the same time. By encouraging children to create their own actions in relation to different calculations, they develop greater ownership over their learning and the experience becomes more memorable. Creating actions as a class is also a fantastic way to get everybody involved, preventing those passive learners from sinking into the background. One interesting actions maths starter that I observed during my teacher training involved the whole class. They were all encouraged to pretend that they were on a bike ride and as they climbed different hills, they counted up in numbers and when they descended the hill, they counted down. Making up rhymes and creating an accompanying actions is also a way to make number facts memorable e.g. 6 + 4 knock on the door.

  1. Online Games

Why not explore some online interactive games? Your students will love the opportunity to play online maths games and participate in interactive problem solving. Although most interactive boards only allow for one child to answer a question at a time, the rest of the class can jot down their answers on mini whiteboards. Some engaging online maths websites include: https://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/5-7-years/counting, http://www.ictgames.com/resources.html and http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html.

  1. Splat! Maths starter

For this maths starter, all you’ll need is a couple of fly swatters, a board pen and your classroom whiteboard. This game can be played with varied maths questions and different levels of difficult. Playing this game is great fun and gets all children involved in the competitive spirit. How do you play?

Draw six/eight squares on the board. You’ll need to draw two grids in the style of noughts and crosses.

Write your numbers inside the grid.

Your numbers can depend on the type of maths learning you would like to cover. For example, you could play this game with the 7 x tables. Inside the grid, you could write some of the answers. Then, split your class into two teams and for each question, choose a child from each time. Next, you’ll need to call out the question e.g. 5 x 7, and the child to swat the answer first wins the point. The team with the most points wins.

  1. Pass the maths ball

Another active maths starter game could include passing an object, such as a maths ball or dice with calculations. This is also a brilliant way for all children to feel engaged with an activity and an alternative way to keep your students on their toes. Passing a maths ball or dice around the class during the maths starter can help to kick off the maths lesson in a fun and enjoyable way.

  1. Maths Quizzes

There are plenty of amazing maths quizzes online that can help to engage children with their learning objectives. Putting children into teams or carrying out the quiz ad a whole class activity encourages children to help their team members to succeed in the game and with their maths skills.

  1. Maths Puzzles

Maths puzzles can be an engaging and hands-on starter for your students to get to grips with their maths topic. This is another great way to encourage children to work in pairs or as a team to solve the answers. Maths puzzles can serve as part of a great starter activity for any maths topic and can be differentiated to suit varying abilities. I’ve included some addition maths puzzles below. These puzzles are differentiated and colour coded, ranging from number bonds to 10 to challenging addition calculations, involving 3 digit numbers.

Addition tarsia front


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