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Year 5/6 Maths Mental-Oral Starters

By Ruth Merttens

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 and Number, Apply Known Addition and Subtraction Facts 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 download filename are easier, as they revisit skills from previous terms.

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Place Value and Number *FREE*
Locate numbers on a line, read scales, rounding

Children estimate where to place large numbers and decimal numbers on a landmarked line. They apply their understanding of place value and decimals to read units of measurement from scales with improving accuracy and confidence. Children round whole numbers to the nearest 100, 1000, 10,000 or 100,000, and decimals to the nearest tenth or whole number.

Autumn: Placing numbers on a line (3) | Reading scales (2) | Rounding (2)
Spring: Place numbers on a line (3) | Read scales (2) | Rounding (2)
Summer: Locate numbers on a line (2) | Read scales (2) | Rounding, including decimals (2)


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Apply Known Addition and Subtraction Facts *FREE*
Add to place value ‘boundary’ numbers, such as the next whole, 100 and £1. Find totals and differences.

Children apply learned number facts to bring fluency to finding totals and differences. They add to the next multiple of 100 or 1000 and apply their understanding of decimals to add to the next whole number and next £1. Occasional ‘tricky’ questions will challenge understanding.

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Mental Addition and Subtraction *FREE*
Mental strategies for adding and subtracting, including money

Children use their understanding of place value to add and subtract multiples of 0.01, 0.1, 10, 100, 1000; then apply this to add/subtract amounts of money. They practise mentally adding two numbers, choosing an appropriate and effective non-written strategy. They also rehearse mentally finding a difference, counting up from the smaller to the larger number.

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Times Tables
Secure and apply multiplication and division facts

Children recall facts from across the full range of tables, practising both multiplication and associated division facts. Challenging multiplication questions probe understanding beyond simple recall of facts, e.g. a multiplier is above the 12th multiple or a multiple of 10. Division is extended to calculation of remainders, including their conversion to a decimal.

Autumn: Multiplication and division facts (5) | Division with remainders (3)
Spring: Explore tables facts (7)
Summer: Multiplication and division facts (8)


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Mental Multiplication and Division
Multiply/ divide by powers of 10; select an efficient mental strategy for x and ÷ calculations

Children rehearse their understanding of place value in relation to multiplication and division by calculating with increasingly larger powers of 10. They practise doubling and halving large numbers and decimals, applying skills when choosing an appropriate mental multiplication or division strategy. Across the year, children practise scaling up and down by a factor of 2, 4, 5, 8 and 10.

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Fractions and Percentages
Secure fluency when manipulating fractions and their equivalents

Children match and derive sets of equivalent fractions, which may include proper and improper fractions, mixed numbers and decimals. In Spring, children practise recognising and expressing fractions in their simplest form and are introduced to percentages.

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Telling the Time
Confidently read analogue and digital times, calculate intervals, use timetables

Children identify and match analogue and digital times, including the use of 24-hour clock. They calculate elapsed times and time intervals, again using the 24-hour clock. In Spring onwards, they apply skills to interpret timetables.

Autumn: Time (2)
Spring: Time and timetables (2)
Summer: Time and timetables (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 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.