St FrancisChurch of England Primary School

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Year 1 Maths

Maths – How to help your children learn



When supporting your child at the beginning of the year, it is important to support the foundations of number by helping with number recognition and formation. These will then support your child throughout the rest of their maths learning in the year.


Below are some ideas on how to support number and place value.


1. Talk about numbers around us

Numbers are everywhere, and they can tell us all sorts of different things. Some numbers tell us about an amount (for example, ‘there are ten sweets in the jar’). Some tell us about position (for example, ‘I finished the race in 2nd place’). And some are just labels (for example, ‘we are waiting for the number 15 bus’).

Talking about how numbers are used in the real world can help your child understand why they are important. For example, you could talk about numbers when you are buying something, or telling the time, or catching a particular bus.


2. Count

Your child needs to know why, how, and when to count.

You could practise counting orally through songs and rhymes like ‘Ten Green Bottles’, going forwards and backwards.


3. Make representations of numbers

It is important that your child understands what numbers look like, so it is helpful to represent numbers using objects and pictures.

For example, to understand the number 3, children need to understand what 3 really is. We can represent it using the symbol, 3, but it is important to understand what three looks like as a quantity. You could count out three sticks or draw three pictures to help with this.

Your child also needs to understand that numbers can be made up of other numbers. So three can be made of three ones, or a two and a one. Once they reach the teen numbers, we need to show that these are numbers made from one ten, plus several ones. For example, fifteen is made of one ten and five ones. Again, this is much easier to explain to your child using objects or pictures.



Below are some ideas on how to support addition and subtraction.


1. Play the Number Facts Pairs game

Your child needs to know a range of number facts involving addition and subtraction. Number facts are facts that we know immediately, without the need to calculate, like 2 + 2 = 4.

For instance, it is very important for your child’s future learning that they are able to recall the different ways we can partition (break apart) numbers from 1–10. You can help them learn by playing Number Facts Pairs together!

  1. Write out the numbers 1 to 10 two times, making 20 separate number cards.
  2. Turn the cards face down and pick one at random. This is the number you are going to try to make.
  3. Now, take it in turns to pick up cards. Add each card you pick up together until you get to the target number. If you go too high, you can use your turn to put back one of the cards you have picked up, face down.
  4. When a player reaches the target number, they win!


2. Focus on subtraction

Your child will be expected to know subtraction facts up to 10. They will begin by subtracting one from a set of objects and noticing that the set has decreased in size. Encourage your child to relate subtraction to taking away by showing them how it works in everyday situations.

For example, if your child has a handful of raisins, ask them how many they have. When they have eaten one, ask them how many they now have left. Do they have more raisins or fewer raisins? What happens if you eat two raisins at the same time? Using real objects or drawings and removing the ones that you want to subtract helps your child to visualise what subtracting really means.


3. Play dice games

There are lots of ways you can encourage your child to solve addition and subtraction problems practically – all you need are two dice.

In school, they will be taught that addition is when we add two groups of objects together or when we have an amount to start with and then add more to it, making the total increase. You could play a game where each player rolls two dice and has to find the total. The winner is the player who has the largest total.


4. Focus on counting on

Help your child practise addition by combining two or more sets of objects. For example, if you have 4 grapes and your child has 7 grapes, ask them to find out how many grapes there are in total. Your child may count each grape one at a time to find the total amount.

To ensure that they count each grape accurately, it might be a good idea to ask your child to place the grapes in a row. Your child may be able to begin solving addition by ‘counting on’. In this method, the child could start with the 4 grapes and then count on 7 more to find the total, i.e. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. You could then support your child to record what they have done using symbols, i.e. 4 + 7 = 11.


If your child likes collecting stickers, ask them how many they have already. Then ask them how many they would have if you gave them 2 more. This will encourage them to begin ‘counting on’ from the original amount to solve the addition problem, which is much quicker than counting every sticker!