Numbers: Number Bonds
The Maths curriculum concentrates on helping children to do a wide range of calculations in their heads rather than on calculators. Your child needs to be able to instantly recall key facts or 'number bonds' so that they can calculate quickly and accurately.An example of this is knowing all the pairs of numbers that added together make 10, and then using these facts to make other number bonds e.g. if you know that 3 + 4 = 7, you can deduce that 30 + 40 = 70, and that if 8 + 2 = 10, then 18 + 2 = 20, and 28 + 2 = 30.
The Role of EquipmentEquipment can be useful in helping your child to learn number bonds. First of all, young children will start by using their fingers for counting. It is important not to let your child become over-reliant on this, as you want your child to start 'seeing' the numbers in their head. To combat this you can encourage your child to use their fingers behind their backs.
The next piece of equipment that is important in the learning of number bonds is a centimetre ruler because your child can count along it. This can be used as a number line, or specific number lines can be made easily using some cardboard, a pen and scissors.
A hundred square is a vital resource in the learning and teaching of number bonds. A hundred square displays all numbers from 0-100 and is useful for seeing patterns in numbers e.g. counting in 2's, 3's etc, working out which numbers are odd or even and how to add 10 to a number. Your child will use one in school but it is also useful to have one at home for helping with homework. Your child may already have a hundred square in their Maths textbook or again, they can be easily made using some squared paper.
Maths TechniquesThe learning of tables is very important for the teaching of multiplication and division facts to your child. However, simply knowing a table off by heart does not show understanding of it. Ask your child random facts rather than having them recite the table, or encourage them to try saying it backwards. Your child also needs to understand the relationship between multiplication and division - for example, 7 x 2 = 14, therefore 14 divided by 2 = 7.
Your child will be learning many different mental strategies for the calculation of number bonds in school. Find out from your child's teacher what mental strategies they have learnt so that you can practice at home and reinforce what they have already learnt.Some of these are as simple as to divide by 2, just halve, to multiply or divide by 10, move the digits along, when adding start with the tens, not the units.
Very few words are needed to learn basic number bonds and so children with reading difficulties should be able to learn them without too much difficulty. Maths language and the language in textbooks need to be reinforced for children with reading difficulties, as they need to understand what is being taught. Activities and number games are helpful in giving children a chance to practice their maths language orally.
You can encourage your child by showing them how important Maths are and how we use them in our everyday lives. For instance, older children can work out how much the shopping will cost and how much change they will get, younger children can play counting games and sing songs such as 'One Green Bottle'. Teachers generally recommend that parents should practise number bonds with their children at least 3 times weekly.