FREE maths resources for all
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We can use a calculator to help solve one-step and two-step problems including money
Year 4 Unit 8
What we are learning:
- Calculators are very useful tools, but will only provide the correct answer to a calculation if the correct numbers are entered.
- Just one calculation i.e. What is the total of 50 and 25? is needed to solve a one-step problem.
- Two calculations – carried out in a specific order – are needed to solve a two-step calculation i.e. How much change will I get from £1 if I buy sweets costing 50p and a drink costing 25p? (Find the total for the drink and sweets and take this away from £1.)
- Children regularly misread amounts (in the context of money) on a calculator. The most common example is misreading 5.4 as £5 and 4 pence when it actually represents £5 and 40 pence as the 4 is in the column that
is 1/10 of £1, or 10pence.
ACTIVITY 1: SHOPPING PROBLEMS WITH A CALCULATOR
ACTIVITY 2: MONEY PAIRS GAME, EXPLANATION
ACTIVITY 3: MONEY PAIRS GAME, CHILDREN PLAYING
Activities you can do at home:
Cut up an old supermarket till receipt into several pieces (ideally each piece will contain 5 or 6 shopping items).
Find the total for each part till receipt using a calculator.
Now find how much change you would get from £30/£20/£40 etc.
Which part of the till receipt had the highest/lowest total?
Cut out the cards from sheet “Money pairs”. Lay the cards out in a grid face down. Player 1 turn over two cards.
If the cards have equal value keep them (and score a point) if they don’t turn them face down again. This is a good way of strengthening memory skills too! Now Player 2 turns over 2 cards … The winner is the person with the highest score at the end.
Watch out for some tricky decisions!
Good questions to ask:
How would I enter four pounds and sixty pence on the calculator?
How would I enter four pounds and six pence?
What is the difference in the way the calculator shows these amounts?
Which is bigger?
How do we know by looking at the calculator?
If your child:
Is not sure what to do first to solve a written word problem, or confuses the sequence of operations in a two step problem
Children find knowing WHAT to do to solve a problem much harder than the maths itself. This is where you can really help. Take time to talk about the problem in stages:
- Ask your child to read the problem aloud to you more than once
- Ask them what they know from the written information
- Ask them what they need to find out, e.g. describe the answer they are
- This is quite a comprehension task – if they cannot understand this they will not be able to get the maths right, so take time and talk about the problem from all points of view.
- Once they fully understand what they have to do, they can start the mathematical calculation.