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Year 4 Maths Mental-Oral Starters

By Ruth Merttens

Get your maths lesson going with a bang!

There are 48 starters – 4 per week plus a bank of 12 ‘Fun-Fair Friday’ tests.
Starters are categorised under key mathematical skillssee headings below.
ALL starters in Place value & number, Counting and Adding PV 'boundary' numbers 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 download filename should be easier, as they revisit skills from Year 3 or from previous terms.

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

Children estimate where to place 4- and 5-digit numbers on a landmarked number line, applying their understanding of 3-digit place value. They also locate 1-place decimals on a line, using understanding to compare and order numbers. Children round numbers to the nearest whole number, 10 or 100.

Autumn: Placing numbers on a line (6) | Rounding (3)
Spring: Placing numbers on a line (6) | Rounding (3)
Summer: Placing numbers on a line (5) | Place value addition (1) | Rounding (3)


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Counting *FREE*
Improve fluency with number by counting in different-sized steps

Three starters with a mix of counting forwards and back in same-sized steps. Early counts begin at zero or lower multiples of 5, 50 or 100. Counts in latter examples don’t begin at any exact multiples, so draw out skills of digit pattern-spotting.

Autumn: Count in steps of 5, 50 and 100 (3)
Spring: Count in steps of 4, 5, 50, 1000 (3)
Summer: Count in steps of 4, 5, 25, 50, 1000 (3)


Adding to place value 'boundary' numbers *FREE*
Apply number facts when finding complements to place value boundaries

In Autumn, children apply learned number facts to add to make the next multiple of 10 and 100. They apply new learning on decimals to add to the next whole number. Occasional ‘tricky’ questions will challenge understanding. In Spring, rehearsal is extended to find complements to 1000.

Autumn: Next 10 (2) | Next 100 (4) | Decimals (3)
Spring: Add to next 1, 10, 100 (5) | Complements to 1000 (3)
Summer: Add to next 1, 10, 100 (4) | Complements to 1000 and £10 (3)


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

Children work towards fluent addition/ subtraction of any pair of 2-digit numbers. They use their knowledge of number and place value to decide on an efficient addition strategy. They also rehearse mental strategies to find a difference, counting up from the smaller to the larger number. They add and subtract 1s, 10s, 100s or 1000s to/from 3- and 4-digit numbers and extend this to add/subtract 1ps, 10ps and £s to/from amounts of money.

Autumn: +/- 2-digit number (8) | +/- 1s, 10s, 100s, 1000s (4) | +/- 1ps, 10ps, £1s (2)
Spring: +/- 2-digit numbers (5) | +/- powers of 10 (3)
Summer: +/- 2-digit numbers (5) | +/- powers of 10 (3)


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Multiplying and dividing by powers of 10
Strategies for one of the number system’s key concepts

Introduced in the Spring term, children rehearse moving digits across PV columns to multiply 1- and 2-digit numbers by 10 and 100. Multiplication by 1000 is introduced in Summer. They apply learning on decimals when dividing numbers by 10 or 1000.

Autumn:  N/A
Spring: Multiply by 10 & 100 (2) | Divide by 10 & 100 (2)
Summer: Multiply numbers by 10, 100 & 1000 (2) | Divide numbers by 10 & 100 (2)


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Times tables
Practise multiplication and division facts

In Autumn, each starter takes a particular times table as its focus, either for multiplication or division; later in the year, some tables are rehearsed alongside one another. In Spring and Summer, multiplication and division facts are revised together. The trickier skills of multiplying by teens numbers and multiples of 10 are also introduced in Spring. By mid-Summer term, fluency with all tables to the 12th multiple is expected.

Autumn: Multiplication facts (5) | Division facts (4)
Spring: Tables (8)
Summer: Tables (9)


Equivalent 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’, to include halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths and twelfths. As the year progresses, children also consolidate understanding of expressing a fraction in its simplest form.

Autumn: Equivalent fractions (2)
Spring: Equivalent fractions (3)
Summer: Equivalent 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 5-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 time (2)
Spring: SI equivalents (3) | Telling time (2)
Summer: SI equivalents (3) | Telling time (2)


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.