Year 6

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We can add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers and decimals in our head

Year 6 Unit 5

What we are learning:

  • When your child is calculating mentally, they may do the whole calculation in their head or they may need to jot part of it down, particularly if there are several numbers or stages involved. This jotting is important and should be encouraged.
  • Your child should be confident in calculating with whole numbers before beginning to calculate using decimals. Decimals with one decimal place are introduced first e.g. 3.6, 18.5, etc.
  • Where possible your child should use facts that they know to work out those that they don’t. For example, when calculating 6 x 0.3, use the fact 6 x 3 = 18. This also requires your child to draw on their knowledge that 0.3 is ten times smaller than 3 and therefore the answer will be ten times smaller than 18 (1.8)
  • Even though your child is calculating mentally, they should still be encouraged to explain how they complete this in their thinking. This helps them remember their methods, and enables you to help them if they go wrong.

Activities you can do at home:

Play ‘The answer is ___, what is the question?’
Decide on an answer e.g. 12. Challenge your child to think of different questions that have that number as an answer. E.g. 144 ÷ 12, – 20 + 32, etc.
Encourage them to think of unusual questions.
Encourage them to think of questions that include decimal numbers e.g. 0.12 x 100

Good questions to ask:

What do you know already that will help you to work this out?
How can you use this knowledge to help you?
What is the easiest way for you to do this?

If your child:

Finds it difficult to explain their thinking process
Go through the problem together one step at a time to focus on each part of their thinking process. Use jottings to illustrate the steps they took in their heads

Can complete calculations mentally without jottings
Try more complex problems, especially with two or three steps and larger numbers or decimals

Extension Activity

Please use this activity when you think your child understands the unit of work. It will deepen and extend your child’s understanding of this unit.


Extension activity (PDF)