An ideal way for children to grasp many of the concepts in maths is for them to be able to have that physical interaction with it. This will include making sure problems have that real-world application as well as using the child’s own set of knowledge to be able to understand the questions within the context of how they were set. This process should also involve the use of teaching aids. Teaching aids have evolved through curriculum development and have become highly effective and crucial pieces of ‘go to’ equipment that teachers and tutors use to support children in their learning of new mathematical concepts.
We have listed below, ten most popular maths teaching aids:
Wooden prisms, columns and blocks
The wooden prisms, columns and blocks can be used to help your child support their developing ability to work with numbers that are hypothetical i.e. numbers in a maths problem. Each piece would represent a number value that they are working with (hundreds, tens or ones) and for operations such as subtraction they are a great way to practice borrowing and paying back.
Clocks, stopwatches and sand clocks
Telling the time has become relatively easy, especially with the advent of digital clocks, but telling the time using analogue clocks, can still be quite tricky. When you add counting and subtracting timings to the mix, this can very quickly increase the difficulty levels in this department. Telling the time is, however, a much-needed skill for a variety of other mathematical problems such as problem-solving. And it is also an essential life skill. The learning clocks can be either the cut-out type or the real ones that be set and reset to perform whichever timing task is needed.
2D, 3D and other geometrical Blocks
These items are normally associated with geometry (or introduction to shapes at the primary school level). Shape blocks are another maths resource which is incredibly useful, especially for younger children learning to identify shapes. Using these types of aids will enable children to solve problems like puzzles, create and breakdown patterns, learn about symmetry and classification etc Children will also be able to have that close-up view of the objects in order to study and fully understand their properties.
Counters and Number Lines
These are used in the classroom to aid children in the development of their sense of number order. These resources also help children to calculate using the four number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). They begin to understand the patterns, as well as recognize the position of one number in relation to another (one more, two less etc.)
These aids are particularly helpful to younger children as they learn to count on or backwards using a number line to 10, 20, 50 or 100. They can also be used to help them when counting, or to add or subtract.
At the higher levels, children might use number lines with no numbers on them to help with more challenging addition and subtractions tasks, as well as division and finding multiples of numbers. At this level, the number lines may also not go up in ones, and could include negative numbers.
A 100 Square (sometimes called a number square) is a great resource used to help with counting, to aid the recognition of number patterns and to facilitate calculating.
At the lower levels in primary schools, children find them particularly useful when learning to recognise odd and even numbers, as well as while learning to count numbers that are bigger than twenty. They also find it a great tool to use when practising to count in 2s, 5s or 10s.
At the higher levels in primary school, children can use a number square to learn their times tables or find number patterns by colouring in, for example, every third square and noticing what happens. The 100 square is also quite useful when learning to add or subtract 9 or 11 by recognising the ‘shape’ that this makes on the square.
The 100 Square may also have a blank side to it or, be available as a totally blank grid. The resource in this form is usually used by younger children to practice how to count (forwards and backwards). The grid in this form can also be used to help with boost children’s knowledge in fractions and their equivalent when dealing with percentages and decimals.
The 100 Square is also quite helpful to children of numbers and common factors.
Dice, cards and counters
Dice, cards and counters are quite good for practising probability and chance concepts. If you are looking for engaging and interactive ways to help your child understand these maths concepts much better, these maths aids would help immensely.
Fraction walls are very helpful when comparing and ordering fractions, and determining which fractions are larger / smaller. This becomes especially useful in demonstrating to children that the larger denominator does not mean a larger fraction. They are also great for comparing fractions that have the same value, such as 2/4 = 1/2 or 5/25 = 1/5 etc.
Real or artificial money
The use of real or artificial money would be quite clear in terms of how your child could benefit from practising with it. Different tasks could include: counting, giving change, learning to shop for a number of items, comparing amounts, as well as how to achieve them with the different denominations etc money can also be used to practice other number concepts e.g. greater / smaller, decimals etc.
There are a host of other useful resources that can be used to facilitate further understanding of the different maths concepts and it would be highly beneficial to seek these out to help your child in any area he/she might be struggling.
Leaders are Readers offer a robust maths programme, which is curriculum-based and offered at different levels. Click on the link below to find out more.
For more on maths, have a look at the following links:
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