Ask a teacher. (Ish)

With the return of home schooling and @GeeBizzle’s comments it’s time to resurrect another thread.

Hi. I’m Ross and I’m a teacher.*

Shout if you need assistance or help pointing to good, free resources.

*Mostly primary, currently in the middle of a career change.


Wow, timely thread thanks! Any tips on teaching division would be welcome. She’s 7yo p3. Learning times tables through memory seems to be the schools approach to multiplication but division was just starting to be introduced.

Currently having my daughter divide objects into groups of equal numbers but not sure if there is an approach that is more constructive.


Three main ways to look at division. (I’m using a number in the three times table as an example.

Sharing - You divide by three by making three circles and dropping one object into each until you run out. 18 = 3 groups each with six in.

Grouping - You divide your objects into groups of 3 (3,3,3,3,3,3 = 18 = 6 groups of three)

Inverse - You know 3x6 = 18 , so 18 divided by 3 =6

Let me link you a document that shows examples and progression. Also, you want to be doing this with concrete objects wherever possible.


Have a look at this, it’s a scheme of work, looking at progressions. Not a lot of questions, but examples of the type of thing you’re trying to teach, questions you might ask and some tricky mastery style questions to see if they have understood. Take everything at a pace they are comfortable with.


Amazing. Thank you sooo much!


I’m a secondary school teacher. Entirely sixth form these days, but have taught History (year 7-13), RS (year 7-11), geography (7-9) and a wee bit of Maths up to year 9. Currently Politics and Sociology for A-level.

If I can offer any help, either general secondary school stuff or subject specific I am also happy to help.


I forgot to say.


Get a cotton bud, a tiny bit of paint and a piece of paper.

You can turn a multiplication number sentence into an array so 2 x 4

2 splodges each in
4 rows

= 8 splodges.

Great way to teach them how to check their multiplication.

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Also note that there is nothing wrong with giving children answers. For example.


Are these correct?


Prove it!


Hadn’t thought of that approach. Very useful cheers again.

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Any links to explanations of how addition/subtraction/multiplication/division are explained to 6/7yr olds these days would be useful. I can do the physical bits using bits of pasta etc but what I remember is the stacking the numbers on top of each other and adding/subtracting/multiplying the relevant numbers (carrying numbers and so on) etc and I’m pretty sure thats not how its taught today.

i.e. addition would be written:


Both of my boys did Big Maths in primary school. There are sites that let you download and print the worksheets. They enjoyed trying to beat their scores.

I don’t know where else to post this story, but my boys told us about it over tea last night. It’s brilliant. Sorry, that’s a horrible click baity sentence. Out of nowhere they told us that at one point Pepsi had been one of the largest military powers on earth!


This is basically the whole of maths in one question.

What do you want to start with?

I had a similar fear for addition and subtraction but my daughters school certainly still stacks addition and subtraction with borrows and carry overs the same way as I was taught and your suggesting here.

Ok. I think what we are all talking about is place value.

Another example below

Terminology warning!

Since we were all nippers some of the terminology has changed. It’s now not hundred tens and units, but hundreds tens and ones.

Likewise we no longer ‘borrow’ (we never gave it back), instead we ‘exchange’.

“I haven’t got enough ones to subtract seven, so I exchange 1 ten for ten ones and now I can complete the subtraction.”


(I’m really surprised no one has asked about the joys of phonics! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

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(I would ask, but I suspect that you don’t have much experience in phonics for Gaelic.)

OOC (Aren’t you only in tier 3?)

(No, mainland Scotland is all locked down, schools closed until at least Feb).

Oh we’re down with phonics. We’re more trying to find stuff for a 4 year old who can quite easily do maths at Year 2/3 level without trying to sound like pushy parents. Tbh his reading (although perhaps not his comprehension) is easily at Year 1/2 level too. I’m sure it will level out later in life but don’t want him to get bored.

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Math is always best understood if you can use an example from the kid’s life / world and if it involves things to touch and move. That makes it more motivating and easier to understand.

Like for division giving them 9 sweets, nuts or whatever and to divide them by 3 (the kid and the parents). Ask them how to divide it fairly, so that everybody gets the same amount.