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Year 3/4 Maths Mental-Oral Starters

By Ruth Merttens - 5 Jul 2018

Get your maths lesson going with a bang!

Each term, we provide 48 starters – enough for 4 per week for 12 weeks – plus 3 sets of 12 ‘Fun-Fair Friday’ tests.
Starters are categorised under key mathematical skillssee headings below.
ALL starters in Place value & number, Number bonds; adding to place value 'boundary' numbers and Mental addition & Subtraction are FREE to download. Others are only available to Friends and School subscribers.
In each download, expect starters further down the list to get slightly harder. Most starters include a couple of quite challenging questions!
Starters with an E at the end of the filename are easier, as they revisit skills from Y2/ Y3 or from previous terms.

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Place value and number *FREE*
Placing numbers on a line, place value calculations and rounding

Children estimate where to place 3- and 4-digit numbers on a line, applying their understanding of 2-and 3-digit place value. In Spring, children begin to locate and order 1-place decimals; in Summer, they estimate where to place 5-digit numbers and negative numbers.
They fill in missing numbers in place value calculations, e.g. Which of these could be the value of the missing digit in 4_7? (a) 4 (b) 30 (c) 600.
Children revise rounding numbers to the nearest 10, 100 or whole £ in Autumn. Rounding decimals to the nearest whole number is introduced in Spring.

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Number bonds; adding to place value ‘boundary’ numbers *FREE*
Recall number bonds; apply number facts when adding to the next 1, 10, 100, 1000 or £

Addition and subtraction facts are rehearsed, including number bonds to 10 and 20, pairs of numbers which make the numbers up to 20. Children add to make the next multiple of 10, the complement to 100 or whole £; then in Spring, complements to 1000 are introduced.

Autumn: Bonds for addition & subtraction, next 10 (4) | Complements to 100, next £ (3)
Spring: Number bonds; addition to next 1, 10, 100, 1000 (5)
Summer: Number bonds; addition to next 10, 100, £1, £10 (5)


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Mental addition and subtraction *FREE*
Mental strategies adding and subtracting, including money

Children practise mentally adding and finding the difference between two 2-digit numbers, using their growing number-sense to choose whether to use place value or a different appropriate calculation strategy. Later in the year, skills are applied to add three 2-digit numbers.
They add and subtract 1s, 10s, or 100s to/from 2- and 3-digit numbers and extend this to add/subtract 1ps, 10ps and £s to/from amounts of money.

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Doubling and halving
Doubling numbers to 50 and halving even numbers less than 100

Children rehearse 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.

Autumn: Doubling and halving numbers (3)
Spring: Doubling and halving (3)
Summer: Doubling and halving (2)


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Times tables and counting in steps
Practise multiplication and division facts; count in steps

In Autumn, each starter takes a particular times table or group of tables as its focus. We aim to practise both multiplication facts, e.g. 3 x 6 is what? and also, division facts, e.g. How many 6s in 18? For most tables, we include questions intended to pose a challenge outside simple recall of facts. Mastery of tables facts is developed in Spring and Summer by applying tests for divisibility when spotting multiples.
Children count in steps of 5, 50 & 100 in Spring, 4, 5, 50 & 1000 in Spring and a combination of all steps in Summer.

Autumn: Multiplication facts; spotting multiples (6) | Division facts (3) | Count in steps (2)
Spring: Multiplication, division and multiples (9) | Count in steps (3)
Summer: Tables (9) | Count in steps (3)


Y3_4 Multiply and divide larger numbers.jpg
Multiply and divide larger numbers
Strategies for one of the number system’s key concepts

Introduced in Spring, children multiply 1-digit numbers just above the times tables. They rehearse moving digits across place value columns to multiply/ divide 1- and 2-digit numbers by 10 and 100, applying learning on decimals when dividing numbers by 10 or 100. In Summer, children extend skills to multiply by 1000.

Autumn: n/a
Spring: Multiply and divide larger numbers (3)
Summer: Multiply and divide larger numbers (3)


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Explore Fractions
Matching sets of equivalent fractions; express in simplest form

Children look carefully at sets of fractions and identify those which belong to the same ‘fraction-family’, including halves, thirds, quarters and fifths. Calculations to find simple fractions of amounts are applied in Spring, along with recognition of a fraction in its simplest form.

Autumn: Equivalent fractions (2)
Spring: Fractions (3)
Summer: Fractions (3)


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Tell analogue and digital times; manipulate units of measurement

Children identify the correct time on analogue clocks, then find digital time displays to match. Through the year, they tell time with increasing accuracy, from 15-minute intervals in Autumn to 1 minute in Spring and Summer.
In Spring, activities to practise conversion between some common ‘SI’ units for measuring length, weight and capacity are introduced.

Autumn: Telling the time (3)
Spring: Convert SI measures (3) | Telling time (2)
Summer: Convert SI measures (3) | Telling time (2)


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Testing children’s basic skills rehearsed in Starters

The tests each have ten questions and are fun to do as children compete not against each other, but against their PB (personal best). Each week, they see where they have got to on the Fun-Fair Height Chart – which rides will they be able to do?
Choose a test to fit the Starters you have done this week. Download the Tests Overview to make your choice.