Maths in 4B

We do maths every day in our classroom.

The structure of our maths lessons is:

1. A warm up activity – A short, fun game or task to get our minds ready for maths.

2. Tuning in – We discuss the concept we are learning about. We always have a learning focus and success criteria. This helps us to understand what we need to achieve in the lesson. We regularly discuss maths vocabulary, use the interactive whiteboard and view a demonstration of the main task during our tuning in.

3. Main activity – We focus on the specific maths concept by participating in an interactive game with a partner, using hands-on resources to work on different strategies, completing an open-ended problem solving task or doing independent practice.

4. Reflection – We share the mathematical strategies used to complete the main activity. We often discuss how this maths concept can apply to real life and why it is important to learn. We come back to the learning focus and success criteria to determine how we went and whether we achieved the learning goals for the lesson.


For one of our maths sessions this week, we were lucky to have our school maths coach, Mrs Hillbrick, participate. Here’s how our lesson went…

Warm up – We started our maths session with the warm up game, Hit The Target. We played in pairs with a deck of cards. We chose what the target number would be. Then we each turned over four cards from the deck and tried to make the target number by using some or all of the numbers on the cards with any of the four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). It’s a great way to practise our number skills!

Tuning in – The mathematical skills and knowledge we covered in this lesson was part of our Patterns and Algebra unit. We discussed the learning focus and success criteria with Mrs Hillbrick.

Our learning focus was:

We are learning to create a pattern.

Our success criteria was:

We can:

  • Investigate a rule
  • Test a pattern
  • Identify and test a rule
  • Strategise.


We then investigated a number pattern, made by Mrs Hillbrick on milk bottle tops, to determine the rule that was used to create the pattern.


These were the numbers in the pattern:

2    5    11    23    47    95    191    383    767

We had to work out the rule that was used to create that pattern.

Most of us could identify that the rule was “x 2 + 1“. This was correct!

However, Sarah identified another way that the pattern could be created! We tested her rule and she was also correct! Can you work it out? It provided a great discussion and it demonstrated to everyone, including Miss Jordan and Mrs Hillbrick, just how interesting number patterns are!

Main activity – Mrs Hillbrick provided us with different rules on a folded kinder square.


We then had to create a number pattern using the rule we each received. The rule was folded down so no one could see it!

We then swapped our work with a partner. Our job was to investigate the pattern and identify the rule that was used to create that pattern.

Reflection – We discussed the strategies that we used to create a pattern and test a rule. There were many different strategies adopted! To determine which strategy was deemed the most effective during this task, students had to “hot spot” their preferred method of working. Using multiplication and division facts was the most popular strategy used.


We determined that we had been successful in this lesson because we achieved our success criteria. By the end of the session, we had investigated a rule, tested a pattern, identified the rule and tested our partner’s pattern and used a variety of mathematical strategies in the process!


Thanks to Mrs Hillbrick for helping us with this great maths task!

We love being mathematicians!


What did you enjoy about this lesson?

What mathematical strategies did you use?

Can you create a number pattern with a secret rule for others to solve?

What is your favourite maths topic?

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?

Reading Strategies

Reading is a big part of our day.

We use the CAFE model in our Literacy Block every day. Each week we focus on a different CAFE reading strategy in class. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. All of these areas of reading are extremely important and good readers know they need to read regularly to improve their skills.

We have a CAFE Menu in our classroom. At the end of each week we put a strategy card on the menu.

At the beginning of the year this is what our CAFE Menu looks like.

CAFE Menu 2

By the end of the year, it will look more like this!



Last week, our reading strategy was Check for Understanding.


This week, our strategy is Make a Picture in your Mind.


These two comprehension strategies help readers to understand their texts, and we will continue to build on our comprehension as the year progresses.

After working on our reading strategies collectively as a class each morning, the students then participate in 15 – 20 minutes of independent reading. During this time, they practise the strategy independently while reading “good fit” books.




What reading strategies do you use?

What areas of reading do you want to work on this year?

What books do you like to read?

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?