Term in Review – Math Buster Monday

This term we trialled a new approach, see more details here.

Monday saw us diving into our new approach with ‘Math Buster Monday’. The children astounded me with the energy they expended, they worked through their workbooks with a will accomplishing a weeks’ work in a couple of hours. Attitude makes all the difference.

They also enjoyed living math picture books, and the the older children settled in for a game of Number Quest. Number Quest is a DK board game, the object is to make the largest number you can under 100. With the role of 4 dice you multiply, subtract, or add to make the highest number, the catch is it can’t be a number already taken. Einstein surprised me with how fast he was at computation.


Michelangelo and Princess enjoyed the ideas in Lydia Sharman’s Amazing Book of Shapes and spent a large part of the morning creating kirigami artworks.


Jelly Bean had an amazing intensive morning with her being totally focused and wanting to keep working long after Mum was tired. She was learning how to read her numbers and associate the correct number of objects with the written number. I had being trying to help her place the correct number of beads under the number, with slightly successful results. Then in one of those ‘rare moments’ it occurred to me that a ‘control card’ was necessary. I hand drew numbers and the correct amount of ‘beads’ underneath. It was an instant success with Jelly Bean continually referring to it throughout the day.


Princess took a little more thought as she hasn’t been interested in maths for some time. After having such wonderful success with Gnomes and Gnumbers I thought I’d trial other hands on approaches with her maths. Theresa’s pictures of her JBug working with laminated maths cards gave me the solution. I made up some laminated maths cards of our own, using problems from her maths book and set her up with her shorts, longs and flats. She loved it! Thank you JBug:)

It was an intense morning but highly satisfactory, I could really see the connections being made and the interest there. We’re looking forward to a Term of Math Busters.

As I’ve shared we have been trialling a new approach, I have written a little before about our Math Buster Monday and thought I’d share some further highlights.

Angela’s idea of Marshmallow Maths had us inspired to join in the fun of building shapes and bridges with marshmallows and toothpicks. (Be sure to see Theresa’s ideas too.)

Carpenter had so much fun that he wouldn’t believe me when I told him that this was maths, he was convinced it was craft.

We continued to read living math picture books on Mondays, one we particularly enjoyed was The Three Little Pigs by Mitsumama Anno, much of what we have though is for younger children, I’d love to find living math titles for the teenage children.

I printed off some ‘fun sheets’ from the internet, and generally we enjoyed the slower pace. We also spent time focusing on their weaker areas which for some is times tables, my friend D generously made us some bean bags and the children enjoyed catching the bean bag as I asked a tables question and returning the bag with the answer. This same friend also suggested maths bingo; write 6-9 tables answers in grid, mum(or sibling) asks the fact and children cross out answers. The one with all grid crossed out first is the winner. Another friend G, shared that the best success she has had regards learning tables is having children recite their tables forwards, ie.4×1-4×12 and then backwards 4×12-4×1.. She’s right, for some reason it really helps. Thanks G:)

We also worked on our Singapore Maths. Although continued non-progress with one child prompted me to join the Living Math forum for ideas and support; one result from these past weeks is realising that for this child in particular I need to move away from the textbooks at present and focus on maths skills in a non-threatening manner. Much of what I see in this approach however appears to be for the younger child. I’d love to hear of ideas and resources for the older child.

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