In Round Tower IPS literacy and numeracy skills underpin our teaching and learning. Many lessons are cross curricular – often a numeracy activity will link to a World Around Us topic or other area of learning. For example, P7 may undertake a task involving plotting a route around India using points of the compass (topic – “India) while P6 may be working out the number of km. between various major world cities (topic – “Flight.”) Other classes have undertaken surveys relating to the types of healthy break eaten by pupils (this relates to PDMU and our healthy break policy) or collected data on litter being dropped (related to our ECO green flag award.) One of our major foci this year is to connect mathematical learning opportunities to real life contexts – this should hopefully foster a deeper understanding of concepts and allow children to see the importance and relevance of numeracy. We have a numeracy team of staff who oversee this area of learning throughout our school – Miss. Hamilton (KS2), Mrs. McIlwrath (KS1), Mrs Allen (Foundation Stage) and Mrs. Hill (SEN Numeracy.)
Numeracy is a skill that works across the curriculum. There are four areas to Numeracy: Number, Measures, Shape & Space and Handling Data. The curriculum also requires that children are taught knowledge and understanding as well as applying skills. For example, a “knowledge and understanding” question might ask “Find one quarter of the numbers listed below” whereas a more skills based question might state “The list below shows how many children are in each class. One quarter of the children in each of these classes are in choir. Draw and complete a suitable table to show how many children are in each class and how many attend choir.”
Numeracy in the primary school involves working through five levels and the level attained is sent to parents at the end of each key stage (end of P4 and end of P7.) At the end of Key Stage 1 (P4), the average child will be working at Level 2. At the end of Key Stage 2 (P7), the average child will be working at Level 4. This means that some children will be above this level, and some will be below this level. Please see the Northern Ireland Curriculum website for more information about these levels.(www.nicurriculum.org.uk)
Areas of Numeracy:
Number – this involves reading, writing and ordering whole numbers, understanding place value, being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers as well as estimate and make sensible approximations. Fractions are introduced at level 2 and decimals at level 4. Using money and calculations with money also fall into this area.
Measures – this involves working with length, ‘weight’/mass, capacity, temperature and time. At level 2 it includes ordering days, months and seasons and at level 4 requirements include calculating area, perimeter and volume. Telling the time in various formats and interpreting information from a calendar also fall into this area.
Shape & Space – this involves naming and describing flat 2D shapes such as “square” or “pentagon” and 3D shapes such as “cone” and “sphere.” It also involves position and movement and recognizing right/left turns and compass points. At level 3 symmetry and tessellations are introduced coordinates are used at level 4.
Handling Data - this involves using a variety of diagrams, tables and charts to record and interpret information. Children begin by sorting objects practically and by level 2 should be able to work with Venn, Carroll and tree diagrams. They then progress to working with pictograms and bar charts and collecting their own data. By level 4 they should be using spreadsheets, databases and also understand simple probability.