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A Parent’s Guide to Modern Maths continued

Today we’ll take a look at some of the ways addition is taught in primary schools. Modern maths methods can seem very strange to parents, so let’s take some of the mystery out of it.

Written methods for addition of whole numbers

Number lines

Number lines can be used to help with addition, either numbered lines or the empty number line. See the previous post for more information about number lines and what they are.

At Key Stage 2, the empty number line is usedto help with addition. Suppose you want to do the addition 8 + 6. Start with an empty number line, mark 8 at the left. 8 + 2 is 10, so mark 10 to the right of the 8, and link them with an arrow. Above the arrow write +2, because you have added 2 to get from 8 to 10. Add 4 to 10, because you want to add 6 altogether and you’ve already added 2, 6 – 2 = 4. 10 + 4 is 14, so mark 14 to the right of 10. Link the 10 and 14 with an arrow, and write + 4 above it. You now have the answer, 8 + 6 = 14. Click on the image below to see an illustration of this and another example.

Modern Maths - written methods for addition


The partitioning method breaks addition of two digit or larger numbers down into easier additions. Suppose you want to add two two-digit numbers together. First split each two digit number into tens and units. Add the tens together, add the units together, then add your results to get the final answer. Click on the image above to see examples.

If you learnt to do addition by the more traditional method, using column addition and carrying over where necessary, then partitioning may seem odd. Partitioning can help children to understand what is really going on when they move on to column addition.

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