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Information about Simple number skills webpages

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These webpages are very simple exercises in early number work. If your child finds them trivial, then well done! Move onto something more complicated. If your child finds them frustrating or impossible, then you need to work out still earlier number work, such as learning the digits up to ten, and counting up to ten.

Schools are welcome to use these pages if they can be of help. They were really designed to help parents who are worried that their children are finding number work difficult, which is why they are easy to use (I hope!). The pages are based round pictures such as transport and insects which children seem to enjoy (all right - I wrote them for a young boy!). If you click on a wrong button, then nothing happens. If you are right, then something fun happens. The 'fun' efecdt is naturally limited, and I hope it's sufficient reward to keep a child's interest. They will inevitably get bored quite quickly. Only do one page for a short time, and then move onto another, or stop the session altogether.

There seem to be a lot of pages covering the same topic in more or less the same way. However, they are all slightly different. If a child manages one OK and has problems with another, then that may give you a clue where the problem of understanding is, and you can work on that. Don't restrict yourself to the computer. Try counting things such as marbles or Lego bricks, or anything you have enough of! Some number work is about understanding, and different ways of covering the same topic might help. Other number work is learning by heart, which requires practise. This is boring, so try to keep it light-hearted and fun.

The pages all require use of a mouse. The child may need to learn to use a mouse. You can slow down how fast a mouse pointer moves through the Control Panel, under Start, (for PC computers). Make sure that the child's finger is on the right part of the mouse. Stick a coloured sticker on the correct button (the left one) can help.

First topic - Recognise numbers (10-99)

These pages assume that the child is confident with the numbers 1-9, and can count items OK.

Visualise a number - helicopters Click on a number from 10-99. That number of helicopters appears. After a few seconds they disappear, and you do it again! The idea is to see the difference between 11 and 19 isn't that great, but between 11 and 91 IS large.

Choose tens or units - planes You are shown a number of planes, either below ten or a multiple of ten, e.g. either 8 or 80. There are two buttons giving you a choice and you must click on the right one. If you get it right, the planes fly off (sort of!) The point of this is to give children a feel of small or large numbers. They don't count them, they estimate, which requires them to glance and guess. The guess is easy, which should give them confidence.

Count different objects You are shown a number of different objects, and asked to count one type of object. It can be hard to count objects scattered around, as opposed to in a line, so this gives practise. You can select 2x2 (4 objects), 3x3 (9), 4x4 (16) or 5x5 (25). More objects makes it harder.

One more/less than - cars You are asked to give the number which is one more (or less) than the given number. If you get it right, then a car drives off, or an extra car drives on, to join those there. You can select 2 or 3 more/less if you want to make it more complicated (and watch more cars!) This is simple addition and subtraction, but it also puts numbers in relation to each other. The given number will be between 10 and 20, although the buttons show answers between 1-20 (just to make life a little more challenging).

Second topic - Tens and units

Numbers between 10 and 99 need to be broken down into tens and units before you can work with them. These pages provide various ways to do this.

How many tens? - trains You see a number of trains which have ten carriages each. Click on the number of the carriages. The sum (in the form of 6 x 10 = ?) is given, so this could be regarded as an exercise in ten times table, but it also gives a representation of what this means. If you get it right, the trains move off, and then you get some more trains.

Tens and units - children - tens, then units A number of children are lined up in the playground. You make them line up to go into school, by first clicking on the ten button until there are less than ten left, then on the unit button. A running count is given. This is the only page where you need to click on Next Go to get more children. This is so you can look at the lined up children and discuss what they mean.

How many? - children - enter number This is similar to the previosu page, except theat the children line themselves up, and you need to enter the number (i.e. the number of rows, for tens, and then the number in the last, incomplete row). If you get it right, the children walk off into the school. A preceptive adult may notice that the numbers are all small, both tens and units. This is to make it easier for the child to count them. We are trying to get the child to understand the nature of numbers, not giving practise in counting.

How many? - bees - buttons (wide choice) The bees are already in rows of ten plus some units. There is a choice given of three possible numbers, where one is right. The choice is 'wide', i.e. you can probably get the right one without thinking about it too much! The bees fly off when you get it right.

How many? - cars - buttons (narrow choice) Similar to the bees page, except the three buttons give a narrow choice - three similar numbers, and you need to be more careful.

How many? - ships - sum shown, enter number The ships are shown in rows of tenplus some units. The sum is shown, so you don't need to count anything. You click on the digit buttons to give the right answer, and the ships sail off.

Third topic - Two times table

Times tables have to be learned, and this needs practise, which is boring. Here are a couple of pages to help!

Up to 2x6 - ladybird The ladybird has the same number of dots on both wings. The maximum is 2x6, and you can always count if you want! Only even numbers are given as a choice. If you get it right, then the ladybird changes colour. (A nature note - yes, there are ladybirds which are black with red dots, but one type of ladybird doesn't turn into another! But then there aren't necessarily ladybirds with all these pairs of dots!)

Up to 2x10 - bus This takes quite some time. Two children at a time get onto a bus. You have to say how many are on the bus each time. You can count the children, of course. But it gives an introduction to the two times table. When the bus is full, it dives off.

Fourth topic - Adding

Simple addition - children Two groups of children must be added together. A sum is provided as well. You can certainly count the children, but with practise, you should go straight to the correct answer. When you get the right answer, the children move into a single group, then some of them jump into the air (perhaps they're dancing!) This page also allows you to specify that the sum is always going to be +1, +2, +3, +4, +5 or random. (The numbers are never more than 4 + 5). So if a child is finding addition hard, then you can specify something simple, such as +1, until they get that right all the time, then move onto +2, and so on.

Addition - any part of sum Here you are given a simple sum, but you might have to provide any part of it. For example, 2+3=? or 2+?=5 or ?+3=5. This reinforces exactly what the sum means. You don't just always add together the numbers you see! The illustration gives a clue.