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A Parent’s Guide to Modern Maths

The way Maths is taught, especially at primary school level, has changed significantly over the last 30 years. With the changes, the vocabulary of Maths has changed too. As a parent, the language of modern maths may seem completely foreign to you. Here are a few tips and explanations to help you find your way through your children’s homework.

Some Basics

Place Value – the value of a digit in a number depends on its place value in that number. Understanding place value is vital to understanding numbers and the number system. Modern maths tends to use the term place value, before it might just have been referred to as ‘knowing your hundreds, tens and units’.

Number line – a simple tool for helping with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Modern maths tends to use number lines instead of counting up and down on fingers for simple sums.  Number lines may look very much like a ruler, with equally spaced segments marked out. An empty number line is just a line, numbers and arrows are added to record the steps in a calculation.

Number bonds – the term for pairs of numbers that add up to a specific number. For example, number bonds to 10 are all the pairs of numbers that add up to 10. You are most likely to come across number bonds to 10, 20 and 100.

Subtraction bonds – similar to number bonds but using subtraction instead of addition. The basic set of subtraction bonds is all the subtraction sums you can make using the numbers from 1 to 10. Sometimes these can all be shown together in a subtraction grid or square – click on th image below to see an example.

Modern Maths Number and Subtraction Bonds

In the next post we’ll take a look at addition methods used in modern maths.

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