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Rocking Maths! at St Mark’s

Children and teachers from Years 5 and 6 worked a percussion musician to explore active, physical and musical approaches to learning maths, with the aim of making maths lessons more fun for everyone.

Who was involved

  • Year 5/6 children and teacher, Fran Malone, from St Mark’s Primary School, Brighton and Hove
  • Creative practitioner: Ollie Tunmer

Enquiry

How can we use practical tasks to create a community of eager, active maths learners?

Objectives

  • To encourage enthusiasm for maths in a whole class
  • To introduce children to active, physical ways of creating rhythms with their own bodies and with musical instruments
  • To find ways to get children excited by maths and to see that it is fundamental to all aspects of life
  • To improve how the children see maths by creating an engaging and fun environment

Outcomes

The project resulted in a huge increase in enjoyment of maths amongst the children who took part. Pupils demonstrated what they had learnt in a school assembly attended by parents, imparting their enthusiasm to the rest of the school. Teachers felt an increase in confidence in teaching maths through music and maths lessons became a lot more fun!

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I enjoyed all of it: singing and body percussion and performance. We had to perform in front of our parents and they said it was really really good.

Y5/6 pupil

You don’t have to just work it out in maths, you can use body percussion and songs to help you do maths. I love the songs.

Y5/6 pupil

It’s totally viable to me now to do a rap in the maths lesson and I wouldn’t have been able to do it before. I’m not that into teaching maths and my kids are quite into that kind of thing.

Teacher

It’s a good way to draw them in at the start of a lesson.

Teacher