This tip looks at how Mathletics can support a mastery approach.
Mathletics supports the NCETM definition of mastery. Mathletics activities have been carefully scaffolded to facilitate intelligent practice, help pupils consolidate their understanding and the various features allow pupils to take their learning deeper.
The adaptive nature of activities means that pupils progress through three levels of difficulty in a concept. Pupils demonstrate that they have mastered one level before being moved on to the next, building on their conceptual understanding each time. Once pupils have answered a question, they are given immediate feedback and can view the worked solution. Questions are marked automatically for you, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.
Below you can explore how the different features of Mathletics can support you in teaching for mastery.
Use whole class interactive teaching
By using the Demonstration mode, accessed from the teacher dashboard, you can show the pupils’ view of Mathletics. In this mode, you can access the models and images used in the activities to help explain key concepts to pupils. Activities can then be assigned for pupils so that they can work independently on tasks. Instant results enable you to immediately identify any gaps and provide support where needed. The Concept Search and Maths Dictionary provide excellent visuals and explanations that you can share on an IWB and pupils can also access this independently.
Curriculum content covering all maths concepts
Mathletics contains a wide range of topics for each curriculum, with targeted and adaptive activities involving practise to improve their procedural fluency, applying the concept to a question in a real-life context, problem solving and further exploration of a concept.
Ensure pupils know how to use the ‘Help’ button – this helps them to develop independence and gives them an explanation, showing them how to work through an activity. Using these on the IWB is a good way to help a pupil scaffold their explanation to the class. Most of the questions on Mathletics are adaptive – when pupils get 2 answers correct, the questions will change to the next level. Ensure that pupils understand that the only part of Mathletics which requires them to work out the answer mentally is ‘Live Mathletics’ – for all other tasks they should use the strategy they have been using in class, such as writing workings in a maths book.
For more details on Mathletics activities, watch the video or use the PDF guide here
In addition to all the online activities that pupils can use on Mathletics, you have access to a complete set of printable workbooks; all written to cover the objectives in the 2014 Curriculum and with guidance from the NCETM on producing workbooks to develop a mastery approach. You can access all books for all year groups – enabling you to print out activities to support intervention work and to challenge the more able. The books have a complete range of question types including games, problems with more than one answer, questions in context, questions which explore connections and those that practise key facts.
Intelligent practice – assigning work and viewing results
As pupils complete activities, their scores are instantly updated in the Results section. Using this area, you can see tasks that pupils have mastered and identify tasks that pupils are finding more difficult.
Upon clicking the small triangle, a range of options are shown. One click assigns the task to the whole class or to just the pupils who have scored less than 85%. The drop-down menu also allows you to quickly preview the activity or open a PDF of the teacher guide. Many tasks are adaptive and will move through 3 levels of difficulty – the teacher guide will show what each level will include.
Setting appropriate tasks enables you to guide students to ‘intelligent practice’. When pupils log in they must complete the assigned task before being able to access the rest of the Mathletics program.
Rich Learning tasks
There is a series of Rich Learning task books – great for supporting deeper learning. Many are open-ended tasks, encouraging pupils to think beyond the right/wrong answer and getting them to explain their thinking. With the 2014 Curriculum setting the expectation that pupils who have understood a concept are encouraged to apply their learning and dig deeper, rather than moving on to new content, these booklets are useful resources for you to apply this aspect of the new curriculum.
These interactive tasks can also be used on the IWB. You may also set up a practical task which mirrors the one on the IWB to support children in moving from ‘concrete’ to ‘pictorial’ and on to ‘abstract’ thinking. For instance, with the ‘3 Ribbons’ task for Year 2 – you could use ribbons to talk about the problem and explore it physically, then use the interactive to explain their thinking and then finally put their ideas onto the worksheet. The tasks have notes to explain the thinking behind the problems and give ideas for their application. Most have videos that introduce the problem and all have a student sheet to offer further support. Find out more about Rich Learning tasks here
Live Mathletics fluency
Live Mathletics is a fun way for pupils to practise key facts. In the demonstration mode, hovering over the level will open a drop-down menu which outlines what each level covers. For example, Level 1 is based on number bonds to 10.
Through the Results area, you can select ‘Set Minimum Levels’. Here you can block pupils out of the lower levels. To ensure ‘intelligent practice’ it is vital that pupils are stretched to move up the levels on Live Mathletics. The golden star indicates to pupils where their level of challenge was – pupils will double their score on the level with the gold star. Pupils can choose to play their class mates, pupils in their school or around the world, or against the computer.
Mastery is a wide topic, so this is by no means an exhaustive list of how Mathletics can support you. If you have any questions about the features covered above, or any other questions related to using Mathletics for mastery, please contact our Support team on +44(0) 117 370 1990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.