Number crunching now fun and games
PUPILS have created a maths library to help other youngsters improve their numeracy skills through playing fun card games, puzzles and board games.
The games at Crackley Bank Primary in Chesterton are loaned out weekly as a reward for children's hard work and progress in lessons.
They feature mathematical conundrums to test pupils' logic and problem-solving abilities.
One pupil from each class is selected for the maths honour each week and they pick out a game to take home.
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Nine-year-old Ebony Fairfield, from Crackley, is one of the young library helpers who oversees the scheme.
She said: "We have a loan book, where we write their name, the date and the game they have borrowed. They sign it as well.
"Children get quite excited at using the maths library. The games are really, really fun."
The games include Pop To The Shop, What's The Point, Bus Stop, and a variety of dominoes and flash card-related challenges.
Assistant headteacher Simon Cotterill, who is also the school's maths co-ordinator said: "The response has been very good. We've also had some very positive comments from parents.
"We are trying to get parents involved in children's learning at home and they can play the games with them. Many of the children also play them with older brothers and sisters."
The maths display has been given pride of place in the main library, in a recently revamped part of the school.
Although the games are not offered on general loan, they are proving a hit with pupils.
One, called Chocolate Fix, requires children to arrange plastic pieces of chocolate on a plate to solve logic problems.
Josh Wood, aged nine, from Crackley, said: "I played Chocolate Fix about 10 or 15 times at home. It was really good."
The maths resources have been funded through the school's main budget.
But Crackley Bank is considering carrying out fund-raising to expand the scheme and buy electronic games for use on a Nintendo DS console.
Logan Sargeant, aged nine, from Chesterton, said: "We've got games for young children, older children and a bit in the middle.
"When children get to choose the games, they think they are really good at maths."
The maths library is just one tactic used to make numeracy learning fun and help pupils apply knowledge to real problems. Mr Cotterill said: "We also give out awards every term, with a maths award for each class.
"I am the chief maths wizard and wear a wizard's hat for it.
"We also have wizard time at school. It is for 20 minutes every day after lunch, when children do a quick blast of mental maths."
Crackley Bank has already seen the impact on pupils' academic progress. The school gained its best ever set of maths results this year.
Nine out of 10 seven-year-olds achieved the standard expected for their age in key stage one assessments. And 78 per cent of 11-year-old pupils at Crackley Bank reached the national standard in SATs.
What is your school doing to improve basic skills? Email firstname.lastname@example.org