Guidance on Calculation methods for Maths

At all levels learning maths is about solving problems using key processes such as:
  • looking for patterns and relationships between numbers
  • making sense of and checking information communicating and presenting maths using words and diagrams, for example, graphs and symbols
  • reasoning and developing mathematical arguments.

Progression in maths involves using and applying these processes and skills in mathematics lessons
across the whole school curriculum and in everyday life. To do this children need to understand key
elements such as number, geometry, measures and statistics.

As a mathematical problem-solver, your child should learn and use skills such as:
  • sorting
  • ordering
  • grouping
  • measuring
  • calculating
  • comparing
  • manipulating, organising and interpreting information.
Maths is an imaginative, creative way of thinking which is part of everyday living. Learning maths is
also about knowing where it has come from, why it is necessary and how different cultures have contributed to the way it has developed over time. Children learn maths best through tasks where they have to make choices in order to solve a problem or a puzzle. It helps them to practise skills, ideally in an enjoyable and engaging way, supporting the development of understanding as well as their confidence and their competence.

For younger children playing and talking about games together will really encourage their mathematical development and support their learning in school. All activities you do which are seen as a puzzle, a game or as a ‘finding out’ process will enhance your child’s confidence to play with numbers and help them be more competent puzzlers and problem-solvers. Encouraging them to play with numbers and develop a range of mental calculation strategies will also help build their confidence and competence.

As well as playing and discussing games, older children need to practice and consolidate skills such as
mental arithmetic, solving equations, working out angles and calculating an average. These skills are
necessary for solving the ‘bigger’ problems they will encounter as their mathematics develops. You can
also encourage your child to engage with maths in the media, looking at how numbers and graphs are
used to support arguments and encouraging them to question the reasonableness of what they are presented with. They may want to investigate further by searching on the internet, for example. Many parents will find the way maths is taught is very different from their own experience. If there are aspects of maths you would like to know more about, talk to your child’s teacher.