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Maths

Free Maths Mental-Oral Starters

Ruth Merttens By Ruth Merttens

Get your maths lesson going with a bang!

Use a starter to engage children’s maths brains, rehearse lesson-specific skills, or to keep key skills simmering.

  • A short burst of buzzy, appealing, quick-fire question-and-answers gets children properly limbered up and ready to learn.
  • Awaken prior learning that children are about to apply.
  • A planned structure to cover the year’s key skills, maintaining fluency even when these topics have not been taught for a while.

From 1st July, these will start to appear on the site. We shall provide:

  1. A bank of 12 weeks of starters available under Key Skill headings.
  2. A set of fun ‘quick-fire tests’, so children can find out if they have beaten their personal best scores each week.

For now – have a look at some examples….

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Year 3 Times Tables
Practice in multiplication and division facts

Each starter takes a particular times table as its focus. We aim to practise both multiplication facts, e.g. 3 x 4 is what? And also division facts, e.g. How many 3s in 12? For the easier tables, e.g. 2x and 5x, we add some tricky questions. These are intended to pose a challenge outside simple recall of facts and some children will love this. Encourage all children to have a go!

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Year 3 Number bonds and next 10
Pairs adding to numbers to 20, adding to next 10

Different addition and subtraction facts are rehearsed in the starters. These include: number bonds to 10, number bonds to 20, pairs of numbers adding to make numbers up to 20 and bonds to the next multiple of ten. Occasional 'tricky questions' challenge children to go beyond simple fact recall.

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Y3 Double and Halve
Doubling numbers to 50 and halving even numbers up to 100

Children rehearse their known facts, e.g. double 6 is 12 and half of 18 is 9. They also practise quick mental calculation involving doubling and halving, e.g. half of 44 or double 23. Some may involve simple partitioning, e.g. double 15.

times wand big.jpg
Year 4 Times Tables
Practice in multiplication and division facts

Each starter takes a particular times table as its focus. We aim to practice both multiplication facts, e.g. 3 x 6 is what? And also division facts, e.g. how many 6s in 18? For the easier tables, e.g. 2x and 5x, we add some tricky questions. These are intended to pose a challenge outside simple recall of facts and some children will love this. Encourage all children to have a go!

Y4 4 digit numbers_square.jpg
Year 4 Place Value
Placing numbers on a line, place value calculations and rounding.

Children estimate where to place 3-digit and 4-digit numbers on a line. They extend this to decimals later in the year. They fill in missing numbers in place value calculations, e.g. Which of these could be the value of the missing digit in 54_7? (a) 4 (b) 30 (c) 600 Children also round numbers to the nearest 10, 100 or 1000, and, later in the year, they round decimal numbers to the nearest whole number.

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Year 4 Mental addition and subtraction
Two digit number calculations; using place value for calculations involving large numbers

Children practice mental calculation strategies in the context of 2-digit numbers, including rounding and adjusting, e.g. 45 + 19 and counting up subtraction, e.g. 72 - 56. They also rehearse the use of place value in addition and subtraction, e.g. 4357 + 400 or 4357 + 5. This includes crossing g boundaries, e.g. 5999 + 1 or 2003 - 4.

Year 3 Times Tables Year 3 Number bonds and next 10 Year 3 Double and Halve Year 4 Times Tables Year 4 Place Value Year 4 Mental Addition and Subtraction