People tend to think of Maths as a black-and-white subject, with one ‘correct’ way to calculate an answer. At Gateway, we know that is not so, and, in Year 5, this week was a case in point: in every mathematical activity the children were able to recognise that being flexible in their approach was necessary to find answers efficiently.
In mental maths starter activities, the children discussed and identified the most efficient ways to add and subtract different pairs of numbers - should we round and adjust, use place value knowledge, spot near doubles, or count up to subtract?
Our exploration of decimals has also continued this week, and Year 5 have been making links with fractions and finding a range of different ways to convert between them. The children spotted the connection between tenths, hundredths, thousandths and the place value columns we use when writing decimal numbers. Some quickly identified that they could apply their knowledge of equivalent fractions to help them change fifths and twentieths to equivalents with denominators that were easier to convert. Others recognised that another way to change fractions to decimals was simply to divide the numerator by the denominator. We then applied our knowledge to solve ‘Tarsia’ problems, matching fraction and decimal equivalents, choosing the most efficient method to check our answer in each case.
It has been interesting to discover which methods worked best for which numbers, and for the children to recognise, once again, that there is more than one way to solve a problem.