# Teachers — Your Nescafe Maths Opportunity!

Sometimes an opportunity to teach Maths in a REALISTIC way presents itself in the least-expected places.

Take NESCAFE, for example! (Yes, please!!)

The makers of this wonderful beverage recently launched (in July, 2015) a “new and improved” Café Menu range of Nescafe. The range contained no fewer than 14 types of coffee in sachets — including hazelnut latte, white chocolate mocca, strong cappuccino and many others.

BUT . . .

Heaps of disgruntled Nescafe-lovers aren’t at all happy with the new product. They claim that the recipe of their “good old Nescafe” that they have loved for years has been changed — for the worse! And they have expressed their fury on social media — Facebook and the like.

How does this relate to Maths?

Well, it’s pretty easy to build up an interesting Maths problem from this. For example, if 2,400 people tried the new Nescafe sachets, and 60% of them weren’t happy with the new product line, how many people WERE happy with it?

Easy!

And interesting!

Any year 5 student should be able to work that out without even blinking. “SHOULD” is the key word, though!

The moral: Let’s make Maths interesting and relevant!

Any suggestions about topical matters that lend themselves to Maths problems for primary students will be greatly appreciated!

# Can YOU do this Naplan Maths Problem?

Well, teachers, parents, educators . . . can YOU solve this one?

It caused a stir in the newspapers this week. And it’s a NAPLAN maths problem, so it MUST be easy!

MUSTN’T IT?

Here goes . . .

A mop-and-bucket set costs \$1.10. The mop costs \$1 more than the bucket. How much does this bucket cost?

a) 5 cents

b) 10 cents

c) \$1

There! Simple, isn’t it?

Or is it?

According to the newspaper article, just around a quarter of the 12,000 people who tried to solve this problem got the correct answer.

That means that around 75% got it wrong! And, just a reminder, this question was on the NAPLAN test for primary-aged students.

And, as the article says, “The same question was put to a bunch of Harvard, MIT, and Princeton students and more than 50% got it wrong.”

So, if we’ve REALLY puzzled you, and you want THE correct answer (don’t be fooled, now, will you??), then you can email us at info@EdShop.net.au and we’ll send you a reply and an explanation.

We are specialists in worded maths problems for middle- and upper-primary school students, and this question even made US think a little more than usual!

But, you think you’re right, don’t you?

Well, don’t you?

Our advice . . . DON’T BE SO SURE!!

The Education Shop — Specialising in Fresh, Topical AUSSIE Maths Worded Problem Worksheets. Visit us at http://www.EdShop.net.au to check out our valuable maths stuff for students, teachers, schools and parents!

# Teachers — Maths Standards . . . Do they add up?

The Aussie media has given massive coverage to Maths in Schools in recent days. It really brings the importance of maths at home, in school, and in life, to the priority it deserves, doesn’t it!

A large number of our students at primary and secondary level have “tuned out” of maths. They’ve given up on it. It’s too hard, many say. Or irrelevant to daily life, they say. Or, technology makes mathematical knowledge unnecessary, they opine.

What a tragedy. AN ABSOLUTE TRAGEDY!

The time has come to help our students — and their parents — develop not only a functional level of maths understanding, but — and here’s a touch of optimism! — even a level of fascination and interest in maths.

And why not?

We don’t all have to be “Einsteins” to actually enjoy numbers and the part they play in our lives.

Let’s encourage even our “slowest” students to get something positive, something FUN, from their maths lessons.

And, what do you know, we teachers may even add to our enjoyment as well.

A great start would be to visit http://www.EdShop.net.au for a few freebies that will get you on the path to more maths fun.

Go on, give it a go!

Any other suggestions for a more positive approach to maths in schools will be greatly welcomed!

# Teach Fractions This Way!

Sometimes, the teaching of fractions isn’t easy!

Some children just DON’T get it!

What many of them need is to learn virtually by rote learning. Yes, I hear what you say! Rote learning went out with the ark, you say! Well, maybe it shouldn’t have!

Because SOME children — and I mean just SOME — need heaps of revision in each level of fraction manipulation — addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions as operators.

And if they don’t get enough practice, then they don’t reach any sort of mastery of this important topic.

Enter our solution.

We are about to release our “Single Skill Fraction Worksheets” for students struggling with this topic at the upper primary level.

These sheets are EXACTLY what they say they are. For example, in addition of fractions, one of these worksheets contains EXACTLY 80 fraction problems, each of which is a subtraction of fractions with same denominators. The student doesn’t need to do all 80 of these fraction sums — only enough to feel confident in his/her understanding of the process. Then, and only then, should they go on to the next sheet, which will introduce them to addition of fractions with different (but quite simple!) denominators. And this worksheet is typical of the rest of the worksheets in the pack. Each worksheet contains just one particular skill being taught, 80 times over. Sufficient practice for almost any student!

A teaching process that follows that old guideline for teachers: “Move from the known to the unknown”!

Nothing new here, just a solid teaching process that leads to mastery of fractions.

Our Fraction Single-Skill Pack is going to be released in August.

But if you’d like a couple of samples RIGHT NOW, free of cost, simply email your request to info@EdShop.net.au and we’ll get them off to you straight away.

Why struggle with the teaching of fractions, when a great resource like this is will be readily available?

# Teachers struggle with the New In-word — “Meta”

As if there wasn’t enough educational jargon we teachers have to try to come to grips with!

But, here we go again!

Yes, it’s the “META” prefix.

It’s sort of like the “i” in iphone and ipod and ipad and iwatch and i-everything else!

Except that it’s Meta!

Now our PM, Tony Abbott, got himself into a bit of a hole while discussing “Metadata” not so long back. What is it? Who knows? But it seems to have become a part of the lexicon already. Maybe we don’t really NEED to know what it means!

There doesn’t seem to be much info around to help we poor, unsuspecting teachers to understand the “Meta” world.

The VCE English syllabus talks lots about Meta-language. Yes, I said “Meta-language”. Closer examination of this amazing term reveals that we older, more experienced teachers would probably substitute the terms “functional grammar” for the aforementioned “Meta” term.

If “Meta” implies some grand, fantastically large knowledge base for every category of learning, then perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a clear directive from the educational authorities, eloquently but practically expressed, to give teachers a fighting chance of making a fist of it in their teaching.

Until such clear direction is forthcoming, we teachers here in Australia need to do our very best to continue to impart genuine mathematical and linguistic skills to our students in the best, most efficient possible way, given the resources available to us.

Our EdShop materials, outlined at http://www.EdShop.net.au are but one source of heading in the “Meta” direction, teaching and encouraging positive attitudes towards maths AND reading comprehension in one fascinating, fun package freshly-released each week.

There are many others! Unfortunately, not all are adapted to the Australian curriculum and lingo. A pity, that!

Let’s hope that considerably more “Meta” detail is forthcoming in the near future. It SHOULD benefit all! But will it? Experience tends to suggest that the REAL danger is that a whole new layer of expectation will be dumped upon teachers yet again, with no realistic opportunity to have access to resources and the professional development opportunities required to allow them to develop the necessary skillsets for successful implementation.

A pity, that!

How are YOU responding to this “META-CHALLENGE”?

# Maths Teaching Props for the Holidays

Never let it be said that maths teaching ends when school holidays begin!

Let’s say, for example, you and the kids are off to see “Inside Out” at the movies. A chat on the way into the theatre about how much it’ll cost at \$11 per ticket (or whatever the price is!) will reveal much about your child’s “automatic response” skills. And when you get them to add the cost of popcorn and an ice-cream for each person, their mental arithmetic skills will reveal themselves. You may just be AMAZED! (one way or the other!)

So . . .

Make good use of the holidays to try to reach some sort of conclusion about the state of your child(ren)’s maths skill level.

You can check out things like weight (how many grams in a 1 kg bag of sugar), time (how long would it take to ride the escalator from bottom to top? Guess, then measure), how long is a Matilda’s scarf that you can see in the window of the department store (Guess, then measure).

You get the idea.

Maths is everywhere. So is the ability to LEARN about maths and its importance to each of us. AND TO ACTUALLY USE IT!!

Go on! Give it a go!

Your kids will benefit greatly!

# Teachers. Holidays. YIPPEE!

No need to wake in the morning wondering about timetable issues!

Holidays are GREAT!

But, during the break, please DO take the opportunity to check out any teaching resources that will actually benefit your students more, while MAKING LIGHTENING YOUR TEACHING PREPARATION TIME!

Such resources DO exist.

They make teaching an even-more-enjoyable experience!

And you don’t have to look far from this post to see a great maths resource.

But maybe we’re a bit biased!

# What teachers want . . . fun, up-to-date maths questions

Teachers everywhere are faced with a conundrum.

They’re expected to teach maths in our ever-changing world, using materials that were published on Noah’s Ark (well, you know what I mean, don’t you!)

Never has our world been changing at such a rate.

Yet here teachers are, in the classroom, being expected to use teaching materials that are in many cases antiquated.

But — AHH! — at last! An up-to-date maths product that’s FUN TO USE!

Here’s what teachers want, and what teachers need.

Up-to-date worded maths problems that are Aussie, fun to use, and teach students how to interpret the printed word into a maths operation and solve it, all the time having an enjoyable time doing so.

Not possible, you say? Well, let me correct you!

Thousands of students around Australia are enjoying these worksheets.

So are their teachers!

Emailed directly to teachers each weekend, ready for use in their classroom the following week.

What could be easier?

The 3 levels, catering for mid-primary, upper-primary and gifted/extension have something for everyone.

Ah! At last, technology can truly “deliver the Maths goods!” EVERY WEEKEND!

Term 3 beckons in Australian schools. What could be easier than giving these a go! Freebies at the website!

# When Maths Skills and Reading Skills Collide

What a shame!

Too many of our students are perfectly capable of “doing” maths.

But they can’t!

Why?

Because they can’t read the worded problems.

It’s a READING skill they lack, not a maths skill!

So, what are we teachers meant to do about THAT?

Practise. Practise. Practise!

Develop a “maths reading vocab” that will stand them in good stead.

AND, have them solving maths problems THAT CHILDREN HAVE A NATURAL INTEREST IN!

AND, have them solving maths problems at a level appropriate to their reading and maths skill levels.

EVERYONE likes to succeed!

So, let’s give our students the very tools that will help them succeed RIGHT NOW, as well as build a solid foundation for the future.

Such materials DO exist!

Take THIS WEEK’S Worksheets, for example! They include problems on the Winter Solstice in Australia (June 21st), runner Ron Clarke’s record-breaking run, the new children’s holiday movie “Inside out,” and loads more.

Some of them are RIGHT HERE — all you need to do is ASK!

Enjoy!

# No, Sir! It’s NOT the Teacher’s Fault!

Who to blame?

Declining standards in primary school achievement levels Maths, in English, in Spelling, in Grammar, in Punctuation, in . . .  well, you name it!

The research is in.

And, it seems, Australian students are struggling to achieve what students in other countries are achieving.

Why?

Well, maybe . . . just MAYBE . . . the “Educational Authorities” are asking far too much of teachers, while simultaneously ignoring the need of teachers for structured, sensible, PRACTICAL curricula that can actually BE implemented in classrooms around this wonderful nation.

Some of us are providing worthwhile materials that HELP students to develop the skills needed in these areas.

Others just TALK about it. And talk is cheap.

We need curriculum support materials that genuinely help teachers to help their students, without demanding time-consuming preparation.

We need Educational Leadership to actually DELIVER THE GOODS. Not theorise about it, leaving teachers to “close the gaps.”

Our Worksheets are a great example of stuff that actually WORKS in the classroom.

To the benefit of all — students, teachers and schools. Thousands are now using them. To great effect.

Give them a go!