The summer holidays stretch ahead of us with September seeming a gloriously long way off. 5 or 6 weeks is a long time to be away from the classroom though and all the learning activities provided within a school setting. But all is not lost.
The season itself lends itself to some wonderful learning opportunities and your child can return to school having kept up their learning, maybe even having filled in some gaps, and start the new school year hitting the ground running.
As a classroom teacher, I and my colleagues inevitably find students returning to school having forgotten a significant proportion of what they learned the previous year, assuming that the new year’s topics were just that: ‘new’. We always have to spend some time recapping what was covered previously before we can move on.
One of the topics that pupils consistently find challenging is Ratio and Proportion, and in particular the relationship to fractions. Try diluting squash in a 1:4 and a 1:5 ratio (the containers will recommend a different ratio ‘for optimum taste’ but start simple!). Children will soon realise that despite the 4 being smaller, the squash is stronger due to the concentrate being a bigger fraction and therefore proportion of the drink. Maybe extend this to mocktails for a summer party?!
Talking of parties, children can be tasked to work out how many packs of buns and burgers they might need when they come in different size packs but they need the same amount of each! (Multiples and factors).
If you’re lucky enough to be holidaying abroad, try giving your child the responsibility of converting some currency. This is even more motivating if they have seen an item they want to get but don’t know if it’s cheaper at home or away. Using the calculator on their, or your, phone, they can look up currency rates and decide if it’s a division or a multiplication they need to do.
The other area that crops up as being persistently tricky is Measurements. In particular perimeter, area, volume, the difference between them and converting them. Students should know the common units of measurement and have a hook that they can relate to for an idea of the relative size of that unit. (e.g. a door is just over 6 feet or 2 metres high, a long 30cm ruler is 1 foot/12inches). Get children to also measure or mark out – they will love a tape measure – a square metre. If they are into STEM, they can construct a frame to help! How many square centimetres will fit inside it? How many square metres is their room, garden, paddling pool, swimming pool…? Convert these to square centimetres. Even better if they can convince you how much paint they need to redecorate their room.
Units of volume require a bit more lateral thinking. How much ice cream will fit into that swimming pool??! A 1 litre tub = 1000ml = 1000cm3. There’s a lot of mileage in measuring and converting and blowing young minds when they realise the magnitude of the numbers involved.
And then there’s measuring journey times, speeds – that should keep down the cries of ‘Are we there yet?’!
Enjoy the summer!
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Written by Mrs O'Shea, our maths teacher. Mrs O'Shea's summer learning top tip is:
"Getting the family involved in learning makes it much more engaging, entertaining, and fun!"