Using a maths 'toolkit'
Tools are chosen and used to investigate and solve real mathematical questions and problems posed as the children play.
The children are shown how to use the resources. Practitioners model using items to solve problems, even those they would normally do in their head, for instance a practitioner used an abacus to calculate how many children were there, moving one bead for each child. This leads to many more independent uses for example, children using the tool kit to see how far something has rolled. Children regularly use the camera or mark making tools to record.
The kit can be accessible in a room or outdoors and children encouraged to make use of items, which can be added gradually, until they are using them independently.
The contents of a maths toolkit could include:
general contents can include:
• For measuring - tape measure, ruler, string, strips of fabric or tape, timer.
• For counting and calculating - abacus, bead string, calculator, bag of objects (eg corks), string and pegs for number line.
• For recording - bag of digits, digit fan, calculator, note pad, squared paper, clip board, printed digits (eg cloakroom tickets, packaging with quantities, prices printed), black board, white board, mark making tools(eg chalk, pens etc.), camera.
The addition of a clipboard in particular has helped develop many activities and provided some of the very best opportunities for adults to model mathematical mark making in real problem solving in children's play.