Addition Strategies

This week we focussed on addition strategies in our maths lessons.

We use addition in every day life all the time, so it is important to improve our skills in this area of maths. Here are some effective addition strategies that we used in class this week:

  • The addition tens and twenties facts
  • Doubles and near doubles addition facts
  • Double doubles (for example, 8+8=16 and 16+16=32)
  • The Jump Strategy to add hundreds, then tens, then ones by jumping on a number line
  • The Split Strategy  to split the hundreds, tens and ones and add them separately
  • The Compensation Strategy when a number we are adding is close to a “round” number we can add or take to the nearest 10
  • 100 facts (addition equations that equal 100)
  • Adding to the nearest 10 when solving two (or more) digit addition problems
  • Adding hundreds, tens and ones when solving three digit problems
  • Using a range of efficient addition strategies during problem solving tasks.

In our classroom we use a variety of hands on and interactive games, strategy-based tasks, real life problems and websites/apps to develop our mathematical skills.




We used a range of resources and materials in our maths lessons this week, including:

  • Dice
  • Number boards
  • iPads
  • Games on the interactive whiteboard
  • Our “Boom” cards
  • Number fans
  • Calculators (to check our answers)



What addition strategies do you enjoy using?

When do you use addition in everyday life?

Do you have a favourite addition website or app?

Starting Right Program

We have had a great start to the year with our “Starting Right” Program!

This week, all grades in our school have participated in the annual “Starting Right” program. The aim of  “Starting Right” is to begin the year by helping the students settle in, get to know each other, build friendships and focus on the five “You Can Do it” keys. The YCDI keys are:

  • Getting along
  • Organisation
  • Confidence
  • Persistence
  • Resilience



We have also set our classroom expectations to ensure we are always achieving our personal best. Our expectations are:

  • We have respect for students, teachers, school environment and school equipment
  • We have a positive attitude, we are enthusiastic learners and we have great manners
  • We encourage, support and care for each other
  • We put our personal best into everything we do and take pride in our work and our classroom
  • We demonstrate the You Can Do It Keys To Success.


To launch our maths program, all classes in the school completed “Maths About Me” activities. In our class, we created posters that featured mathematical information related to our own lives. It was great to see the students show their creative flair!

Many grades displayed their “Maths About Me” work in the school gym. It is great to read the mathematical information and admire the work completed by the BHPS students.




We have also had discussions about choosing “good fit” books. During Reader’s Workshop this year, students will practise specific reading strategies using books and other texts that are a good fit. In library yesterday, the students spent time choosing a variety of good fit books.



Here is our fabulous grade! We are looking forward to a wonderful year together!



What has been your highlight during the Starting Right program?

What have you already learnt this year?


 This week our grade has been learning about tessellations.

We know that a tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again without any gaps or overlaps.We examined shapes that tessellate and shapes that do not and looked at how we can combine different shapes to create tessellations.

Some students explored the school looking for tessellations in our surroundings.

We also investigated the work of M.C Escher who is a famous graphic artist who used tessellations in many of his pieces of work.

Everyone enjoyed making their own shape to create a tessellating design. Check out some of the masterpieces below!


What tessellating patterns do you have in your house?

What shapes will tessellate on their own and which shapes will not tessellate on their own?

What interesting tessellations did you discover during your research?


We have started a maths unit focussing on shape.

So far, students have completed activities relating to:

  • Tangrams
  • 2 Dimensional shapes
  • 3 Dimensional shapes
  • Angles

A tangram is a Chinese geometrical puzzle consisting of a square cut into seven pieces which can be arranged to make various other shapes.



Two dimensional (2D) shapes are flat shapes that only have length and width.

2D shapes

Three dimensional (3D) shapes are solid shapes that have length, width and height.

3D shapes

An angle is the measure of a turn between two straight lines that meet.

Right angle


It can be tricky remembering all of the different mathematical words. We like to look at Jenny Eather’s Maths Dictionary to clarify vocabulary.


Can you provide the definition of an interesting mathematical word relating to shape?

What have you learnt about shape so far?

What shapes or angles do you see around you in the world?

Dream House Project

In maths we have been working on a Dream House project.

Our learning focus was to apply our mathematical knowledge to a real life scenario.

This included our knowledge of:

  • measurement
  • perimeter
  • area
  • mapping
  • shape
  • money
  • addition / subtraction / multiplication
  • decimals.

One of our first steps was to design our dream house on graph paper and from there we had to work out many of the associated costs with building a house.

This included:

  • building costs
  • flooring costs
  • furnishing costs
  • buying a block of land to build on
  • paying bills
  • landscaping costs.

Using their mapping skills, students also had to choose a block of land to “buy” in the local area, and locate the nearest schools, shops, sporting facilities etc.


The slideshow below shows students working at different stages of the project.


Share some interesting facts about your dream house, such as the measurements, cost to build, interesting aspects of its design, some of the items you have purchased to furnish your house and where you purchased your block of land.

What have you enjoyed about the Dream House project?

How has your mathematical knowledge improved as a result of this project?

Perimeter and Area

In maths, we have been learning about perimeter and area.

Perimeter is the distance around the outside of a shape.

Area is the amount of space a flat surface takes up.


Can you guess the perimeter and area of one of our classroom tables?



Here is a problem solving task from the nrich website. Can you solve it? There is more than one answer!

nrich can they be equal


When might you need to know the perimeter and area of something?

Can you measure the perimeter and/or area of something and record it in your blog comment?

Instructional Videos: Vertical Addition

Last week, our maths focus was solving vertical addition equations.

We improved our addition skills earlier in the year by focussing on a range of mental strategies. Sometimes, vertical addition is a useful method to use, particularly if you are working with larger numbers or decimals.


Earlier in the week, students practised adding two, three and four digit numbers together using the vertical addition strategy. Once students were confident with this addition method, they could begin making a short instructional video to demonstrate their knowledge. This task involved:

1. Choosing an addition problem involving two, three or four digit numbers.

2. Deciding what resources and materials to use to model the problem.

3. Solving the problem aloud using the correct mathematical language.

4. Writing a script and rehearsing with a partner.

5. Filming the video using an iPad.

Here are some of our instructional videos.


This was our first attempt to make instructional videos. We learnt a lot of skills from this experience, including:

  • The importance of using the correct mathematical language
  • Speaking clearly and loudly
  • Using equipment successfully
  • Holding the iPad steady while filming.

We plan to make more videos with our iPads to demonstrate other mathematical concepts later in the year.


What did you think of our videos?

When would you use the vertical addition strategy?

What else could we make an instructional video about?

Term Two Begins!

Today was the first day of Term Two. The teachers and students in 4A and 4B are happy to begin this busy ten week term.

It was great to hear about everyone’s Easter holidays today. Many students participated in our major school fundraiser, the Sheepwash Classic Fun Run, on Easter Saturday. And of course, everyone enjoyed some yummy chocolate Easter Eggs over the break!

Sheepwash 1

Sheepwash 2

Sheepwash 3

Sheepwash Classic photos courtesy of Mrs Linda Jordan


We have lots to look forward to this term, including:

  • The district Cross Country next week for selected students
  • A new history-based inquiry topic
  • An exciting excursion to Melbourne
  • The return of our student teacher, Miss Campbell, in May
  • Lots of great learning on our iPads.


Our term commenced with a fun maths lesson today.

Our focus in maths for the first three weeks is fractions, decimals and percentages. To launch this topic, we had a great extended maths session learning about fractions. Here is what took place:

  • Students worked in pairs – called “Fractions Friends” – to make play dough.
  • Everyone completed a “Brainstorm Splash Page” individually to show Miss Jordan and Miss Curtain their current knowledge.
  • The class had a great discussion about fractions and learnt about numerators and denominators.
  • Students worked with their “fraction friend” to make examples of fractions using their play dough.
  • Students labelled their play dough fractions and took photos using their iPads.
  • Students reflected on their fractions learning by beginning a Keynote presentation on their iPads. They will complete daily updates on their learning so they will have a complete fractions reflection journal by the end of the unit.

Check out our photos to see the learning in action!

Tip: To view the images in a larger format, click the “full screen” button

We are looking forward to extending our knowledge and applying our skills in more complex fractions, decimals and percentages work this term.


What did you enjoy about your holidays?

Did you participate in the Sheepwash Classic fun run?

What are you looking forward to in Term Two?

What do you know about fractions?

What did you learn about fractions from this lesson?

Guest Post: Problem Solving With Mrs Morris

This is a guest post by Mrs Morris. Mrs Morris used to team teach with Miss Jordan. She is currently on family leave looking after her baby girl.

Today was planning day for the grade three and four teachers. While the teachers were busy getting ready for next term, the students rotated around different classrooms for some exciting lessons.

Mrs Morris took all the grade threes and fours for a forty minute problem solving lesson. The lesson was called “Plants” and was adapted from the NRICH site. 

Watch the presentation below to see how the problem unfolds.

The students did a fabulous job of using problem solving strategies. Many started with “guess, check and improve” and some students moved on to “working systematically”.

Here are some of the 4A and 4B mathematicians using counters and Venn diagrams to try to solve the problem.

Plants Problem Solving 1

Plants Problem Solving 2

Plants Problem Solving 3

Plants Problem Solving 4


Many students found six or more solutions with a small number of children finding 11 or 12 possible arrangements!

How many solutions to the plants problem can you find?

What strategies did you use to solve the problem?

Arrays All Around

In maths we have been focussing on multiplication.

Multiplication is a very important part of maths, and having a good “automatic recall” of times tables helps us with many different areas of maths.

During class time we have been spending time practising different times tables and using multiplication in our problem solving.

One way of learning about multiplication involves looking at arrays.

An array is a group of objects arranged in rows and columns. Each row has the same number of objects.


Arrays are useful for skip counting and solving multiplication problems.

The array above has 3 rows of 4 blocks. That is 3 groups of 4, or 3 x 4.

We can find out how many blocks there are by skip counting by 4’s:  4, 8, 12 – or by doing repeated addition: 4 + 4 + 4 = 12.

There are 12 blocks. So, 3 x 4 = 12.

Here is a slideshow of some arrays around our classroom! Can you solve the multiplication problems?


What are the answers to the multiplication problems in the slideshow?

What other arrays have you seen around?

How can arrays help you solve multiplication problems?