Maths problem solving is for life

Help children appreciate that maths is as much part of everyday life as English 

Although maths is very much a part of problem solving in our society, from working out personal budgets to calculating football league tables, it is not often seen in this way by children. Indeed, children often see maths as little more than a set of rules to be applied.

Of course, there are rules in maths which must be learned. But where children have the opportunity to undertake their own maths investigations, their understanding of what maths is and why the subject is so important can grow dramatically.

Then by engaging in solving the problems they are given, through using appropriate mathematical processes, the children can more readily learn the way in which maths can be used in the world at large.

Indeed, it is in this way that maths becomes a creative and inventive subject, as the awareness grows that numerous problems can be solved through the use of a variety of different mathematical strategies.

From here the children move toward open-ended investigations based on real-life scenarios, each utilising a different strand of maths, from number to chance, patterns to algebra.

This approach is of course not just helpful for learning maths but is one that encourages children to explore their own problem-solving strategies; a creative approach that can then be utilised in almost every subject in the curriculum.

The Open-ended Maths Investigations series of books allows pupils to bring their own thinking and learning strategies to each task. What’s more because the exercises do not need to be used in sequence, the materials can be added to the existing scheme of work, as needed.

In this way children come to understand that maths is not just another subject they have to study but is in fact an integral part of life – a subject that is central to solving many of the problems that emerge in every walk of life.

Find out more information on the Open-ended Maths Investigation books and try the sample tasks under the ‘Try before you buy’ tab.

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