How to Teach Maths in Year One

Written by Dan

Teaching mathematics in Year 1 is a critical phase in setting the foundation for a child’s mathematical understanding. At this stage, teachers must impart a sense of curiosity and enjoyment while introducing basic concepts.

Pupils at this level should develop confidence in their counting and calculation abilities through a variety of interactive and practical experiences.

The Year 1 mathematics curriculum lays down the groundwork for future mathematical learning by covering key areas such as number recognition, simple addition and subtraction, and an early grasp of shapes, space, and measures.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Use Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract Resources In Maths

How to Teach Maths in Year One

An effective Year 1 maths education relies heavily on providing engaging and relatable resources that encourage active participation. Teachers need to craft their lessons to build fundamental maths skills in a way that is both accessible and enjoyable for the children.

This involves integrating a mix of visual aids, manipulatives, and real-life examples to concretise abstract concepts.

Additionally, the use of storytelling and games can facilitate a deeper engagement with the subject matter, making it easier for pupils to internalise mathematical ideas and apply them in varied contexts.

Key Takeaways

  • Establishing foundational maths skills early on is crucial for future learning.
  • Resourceful, interactive teaching methods enhance engagement and understanding.
  • Regular assessment and support are key to nurturing mathematical proficiency.

Related: For more, check out our article on Maths KS1 Overview

Understanding the Year 1 Maths Curriculum

The Year 1 maths curriculum lays the foundation for a child’s mathematical understanding, focusing on core concepts and their practical applications throughout the academic year.

Core Objectives and National Curriculum Alignment

The National Curriculum for Year 1 Maths is designed to ensure that pupils develop a strong base in the subject. It introduces fundamental principles that are essential for their progression through the key stages.

The objectives are aligned with the national curriculum, aiming to foster confidence and fluency in mathematical reasoning, problem-solving, and numerical operations.

  • Fluency: Gain proficiency in basic addition and subtraction.
  • Reasoning: Understand mathematical concepts and the relationships between them.
  • Problem-Solving: Apply mathematics to real-life situations and solve practical problems.

Seasonal Term Breakdown: Autumn, Spring, and Summer Terms

The year is categorised into three terms – Autumn, Spring, and Summer – each with targeted learning goals per the national guidelines.

Autumn Term:

  • Pupils learn to count and write numbers up to 20.
  • Introduction to simple addition and subtraction.

Spring Term:

  • Emphasis on number bonds to 20 and basic place value (tens, ones).
  • Introduction to measuring and geometry – shapes and sizes.

Summer Term:

  • Reinforcement of arithmetic operations learned.
  • Exploring time, money, and data handling through practical activities.

This structured approach ensures pupils remain engaged and are able to develop a comprehensive understanding of Year 1 maths concepts.

Related: For more, check out our article on Maths Teaching Aids

Developing Fundamental Maths Skills

Children solving addition and subtraction problems using colorful manipulatives and number lines in a bright, organized classroom

In Year One, children build the foundation for all future mathematical learning. They start with firming up their counting ability and then make crucial steps towards grasping basic addition and subtraction.

Fostering Counting and Number Fluency

Children must develop confidence in counting and understanding numbers. Teachers can use various approaches, such as number songs, counting games, and daily count-along sessions to solidify this skill.

Each child should be encouraged to count objects regularly, progressing from 1 to 10, and eventually up to 20 and beyond.

Consistent practice helps with the development of number fluency, which involves recognising numbers, understanding their order, and being able to count forwards and backwards with ease.

Introducing Addition and Subtraction Concepts

Once a solid base in counting is established, introduction to basic addition and subtraction can commence.

A practical approach using physical objects like counting blocks or beads can illustrate these new mathematical concepts effectively, making the transition to abstract thinking smoother.

Teachers might start with simple equations within 5 and then move to those within 10, using clear, visual representations. For example:

  • Addition
    • 2 beads + 3 beads = 5 beads
  • Subtraction
    • 5 beads – 2 beads = 3 beads

By integrating storytelling and real-life situations, teachers can make these concepts relatable and easier for the children to grasp.

This not only reinforces the numbers but also aids in understanding how subtraction is essentially “taking away” and addition is “putting together” or “increasing.”

Related: For more, check out our article on Tips For Improving Students Maths

Engaging Learning Through Resources and Activities

A colorful classroom with math manipulatives and interactive resources. Children are engaged in hands-on activities, exploring numbers and shapes

Engaging Year 1 pupils in maths can be achieved through a diversity of interactive resources and stimulating activities. These tools are vital in fostering a love for mathematics while building foundational skills.

Using Interactive Games and Powerpoints

Interactive games provide a dynamic platform for children to practise maths skills while having fun. For example, programmes like Times Table Rockstars offer a gamified approach to learning multiplication.

Such games often include competitive elements which can motivate pupils to improve their speed and accuracy.

Additionally, using PowerPoints as part of the lesson can enrich the learning experience. Teachers can download free resources with interactive slides that illustrate maths problems visually, making concepts easier to grasp.

  • Recommended Resource: Numberfit competitions
  • PowerPoint Tip: Use slides with animations to demonstrate problem-solving steps.

Incorporating Video and Third-Party Sources

Teaching maths also benefits from the use of video content which can explain complex ideas through storytelling and animation. Videos maintain pupil engagement and can be paused for discussion or replayed for reinforcement.

Furthermore, incorporating third-party sources into lessons can provide additional perspectives and teaching methods that might resonate differently with pupils.

For instance, Third Space Learning’s online interventions offer unique approaches to teaching key concepts like fractions, and can be used to supplement classroom instruction.

  • Video Suggestion: Seek out educational channels that specialise in Year 1 maths concepts.
  • Third-Party Maths Resource: Explore services that provide targeted learning activities.

Exploring Shapes, Space, and Measures

In Year One maths, children embark on grasping foundational concepts in geometry and measurement. They learn to identify and describe shapes, quantify objects, and understand the basics of length, mass, and volume.

Learning About Shapes and Quantities

Young learners begin by recognising common 2D shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. They explore these shapes through activities that involve sorting and classifying them according to their properties. For example:

  • Circles: Round with no corners.
  • Squares: Four equal sides and four right angles.
  • Triangles: Three sides which can be of varied lengths.

Children also discover quantities, counting sides and corners, and comparing the sizes of different shapes. They may use a simple chart to tally these features, which helps to enforce the concept of number as it relates to physical properties of shapes.

Understanding Length, Mass, and Volume

Understanding length involves hands-on activities where children measure objects with non-standard units, such as paper clips or blocks. They learn that length refers to how long an object is from one end to the other.

Mass is introduced through comparing the weight of different objects. Teachers can utilise balance scales for children to physically see which objects are heavier or lighter, reinforcing the concept of mass.

When it comes to volume, children experiment with various containers and liquids. They might fill a jug with water and pour into different shaped containers to see which holds more or less, introducing the idea that volume is the amount of space occupied by an object or substance.

Building Towards Advanced Mathematical Skills

A colorful classroom with math manipulatives and visual aids. Children engaged in hands-on activities, exploring numbers and shapes. A teacher guiding small group instruction, fostering curiosity and problem-solving

Teaching mathematics in Year 1 sets the stage for the development of advanced mathematical skills.

Focusing on establishing a solid foundation in fundamental concepts will ensure that pupils have the necessary building blocks to tackle more complex areas of mathematics, such as multiplication, division, fractions, and times tables.

Laying Groundwork for Multiplication and Division

Multiplication and division are key concepts that require early exposure to ensure future proficiency.

Educators can introduce these topics by connecting them to addition and subtraction, respectively. For instance, one can view multiplication as repeated addition, which can be represented visually through arrays or groups of objects.

They should encourage pupils to think of division as sharing or grouping, which could include practical activities such as dividing a set of objects evenly among several pupils.

Example Activity:

  • Grouping: Provide pupils with a small number of items, such as counters or fruit, and ask them to divide them equally into groups, recording how many items are in each group.

Introducing Basic Fractions and Times Tables

A fundamental understanding of fractions begins with dividing objects into parts and speaking about one part in the context of the whole.

Year 1 pupils can explore fractions through everyday experiences, like cutting shapes into halves and quarters. It is essential to convey that fractions are a form of division.

Times tables are a critical component of mathematical fluency and can be introduced through pattern observation and rhythmic learning.

Ensuring that children are familiar with the concept of doubling numbers can provide an effective gateway to grasping times tables.

Example Activity:

  • Halving Shapes: Have children cut out paper circles or squares and fold them to see how the whole can be split into two equal halves or four equal quarters.

By situating these concepts within engaging and relatable activities, educators can help Year 1 pupils build confidence and lay a strong foundation for future learning in mathematics.

Assessing Progress and Providing Support

Assessing progress and providing the appropriate support are crucial in ensuring every student achieves their potential in mathematics during Year 1.

Measuring Student Progress Through Year 1

In Year 1, it is important to track student progress in mathematics to ensure foundational skills are secured. Teachers can use the Key Learning Indicators of Performance to gauge whether pupils are on track to meet the expected standards.

Progress should be periodically reviewed using structured assessments, which are aligned with the end-of-year expectations.

  • Termly assessments: To monitor incremental progress across the three terms.
  • Observational assessments: To ascertain understanding through pupils’ participation and reasoning during lessons.

Supplemental Support and Resources for Varied Abilities

Pupils with varied mathematical abilities require tailored support to thrive.

Teachers can access a range of resources and guidance which detail the ‘ready-to-progress’ criteria, helping to identify learning gaps and strengths. Providing differentiated resources ensures all children can access the curriculum effectively.

  • Resources for lower-ability pupils: Including concrete manipulatives, visual aids, and step-by-step guidance.
  • Resources for higher-ability pupils: Incorporating challenging problems and exploratory tasks that extend beyond the curriculum.

By thoroughly assessing pupils’ progress and effectively utilising resources, teachers can support students not only in Year 1 but also in gradually building a strong foundation for subsequent years Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, and Year 6. The goal is a progressive and continuous enhancement of mathematical skills across the key stages.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful classroom with numbers and shapes on the walls, a teacher at the front, engaging with young students using visual aids and manipulatives to teach math concepts

This section addresses common inquiries surrounding the teaching of maths to Year 1 students, offering insight into effective educational strategies and resources.

What are the best strategies for initiating maths learning for Year 1 students?

In the initial stages, it is crucial to make learning interactive and fun. Using physical objects for counting and simple games can build a solid foundation for numerical understanding. To facilitate this, teachers might introduce Teach Number and Place Value concepts early on.

Which topics should be included in the math curriculum for 5 and 6-year-olds?

The math curriculum for Year 1 pupils typically encompasses basic number theories, place value, simple calculations, and an introduction to measures, shapes, and data handling. Specifics such as recognising coins and telling the time may also be included, aligning with the National Curriculum objectives.

How can worksheets enhance the mathematical skills of Year 1 pupils?

Worksheets can reinforce classroom learning by providing structured practice. They encourage independent work and help solidify concepts like counting, comparing numbers, and recognising patterns. Hands-on activities incorporated into worksheets can be particularly effective, as outlined by resources like Hands-On Education.

What are effective methods to engage Year 1 children in learning mathematics?

Incorporating games, storytelling, and everyday examples can captivate children’s interest. Presenting challenges like solving puzzles helps maintain their engagement in mathematical learning. Additionally, providing practical contexts, such as shopping scenarios, facilitates real-world connection and interest.

Can you recommend resources for supporting maths education in the first year of schooling?

Yes, online platforms like BBC Bitesize offer interactive games and educational videos that are engaging for young learners. Materials from trusted educational providers like Twinkl also provide extensive resources tailored to the Year 1 maths curriculum.

How is the Year 1 maths curriculum tailored to accommodate the developmental stages of young learners?

The Year 1 maths curriculum is designed to gradually introduce mathematical concepts in a developmentally appropriate manner. It focuses on practical and visual learning approaches, with a strong emphasis on numeracy and understanding value, as seen in Maths — No Problem! text series. This encompasses activities that are manageable for their age, ensuring that children are not overwhelmed and are able to build confidence in their abilities.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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