Maths for 10-year-olds is harder than you may think. With exams looming and pressure mounting, this period can often feel overwhelming to young minds. Combine this with worries over what the fast-approaching move to secondary school will bring and Year 6 can be a challenging time for all – parents included! But don’t fear, we’re here to take some of that ever-increasing load off and show you the best (and simplest!) ways to help your 10-year-old with maths at home.
The change in maths for 10-year-olds moving from Year 5 to Year 6
The good news is that the curriculum is fairly stable by Year 6!
This means that questions such as:
What does my child most need help with?
What are they best at in maths lessons?
Is there anything that I can do to help?
Will all be answered and your child can begin to focus on the upcoming change from primary to secondary school.
Although there are a couple of new ideas that come into play, they aren’t too tricky compared to the Year 5 programme of study.
This year is essentially a consolidation of all the skills your child has learned in primary school, preparing them for a successful experience in secondary maths lessons, as well as later on in life!
The key is to balance the revision of the basics with the consistent practice of newer concepts, cultivating a mindful approach to exams along the way.
Exams, exams, exams… they’re not the end of the world
When it comes to maths in Year 6, the word exam is never far away.
For many children this age, the transition into a formal exam year can be stressful, so now is the time to practise working through challenges with a cool head.
As a parent, you might feel under pressure too – when everyone is talking about test scores and booster groups, it can be hard not compare your child’s progress against that of other children.
But, as we know, every child is different, so your best bet is to focus on your own child’s needs instead of worrying about everyone else (no matter how much they go on about what’s right and wrong for the exams!).
How to tackle exam stress early
The beginning of Year 6 can feel rushed, and with the exams coming up in May, it’s easy to see why.
Your child’s class teacher will have planned a condensed programme of study to cover all the required skills before then, therefore the workload will be higher than in previous years.
So inevitably, you’ll also find that homework starts piling up like never before.
But, rather than letting it all build up, now is a great time to teach your child some crucial organisational skills.
Here are some simple ways you can beat that exam stress in advance:
Make a weekly plan
Have a go at drawing up a weekly schedule together when you have a quiet moment on a Sunday afternoon.
Schedule in slots for homework and revision, but make sure there’s at least one night off for some chill out time. Maths for 10-year-olds is important, but time off will make them much more productive.
Next, show your child how to make a to-do list – with what’s most important or urgent at the top – that will keep the pressure off even in the toughest of times.
Invest in a few plastic folders for a simple introduction to filing work from each subject, and you’ve got a ready-made revision folder for when the exams are just around the corner.
Not only will these organisational skills stand your child in good stead at secondary school, but they’ll also give them a sense of control over what’s happening.
That’s enough to put any anxious mind at ease!
Practise test questions for SATs and 11+ exams
Chances are your child will be practising test questions at school almost daily.
However, at school, the focus will be on working these questions out independently, which leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation.
Most teachers will revisit the harder questions, but it’s a good idea to practise at home so you can identify which questions are causing headaches.
Once you know which ones are problematic, you can work on a strategy to solve them in plenty of time for the exams.
There are a lot of topics that could come up when practising maths with your child, but some prove trickier than others. Below are some ways to tackle testing topics so take a look if you need some help!
How to interpret data for exams in Year 6
Part of becoming confident in Year 6 maths is being comfortable with a range of mathematical information.
Your child will be dealing with all sorts of different representations by the time they’re ten, from pictograms to line graphs to frequency tables.
It’s therefore no surprise that many children (and parents!) get mixed up when it comes to data.
Go back to basics and have a go at conducting a few surveys around the house before setting out the results in tables and graphs.
Here’s a great activity to do in the rainy months (which shouldn’t be hard to come across in England!) to help with data interpretation through using a real-life example.
And bonus points… by combining some maths for 10-year-olds with science, you’ve got yourself a cross curricular activity!
Dot Your Data: A fun maths activity for 10-year-olds
Step 1: Pop a glass outside to collect water.
Step 2: Measure the amount that falls each day.
Step 3: Record the results in a table.
Step 4: After one week, plot the results on a line graph.
A Need To Know: Protractor Practice in Year 6
Protractors are often a mystery to primary school age children, so you can clear things up by using them often around the house.
A quick and easy way to handle a protractor is:
Step 1: Use a ruler to draw a few different sized angles on a sheet of paper.
Step 2: Challenge your child to measure as many as possible in a minute.
Step 3: Next, switch roles!
Step 4: It’s your turn to measure as many angles as possible, in a different colour pen, for one minute.
Step 5: Once all the angles are measured, go back and check for accuracy.
Step 6: Whoever got the most angles right wins the game (and perhaps a small reward!).
While drawing angles might seem like straightforward maths for 10-year-olds, it constitutes the first steps towards secondary-level trigonometry.
More maths for 10-year-olds : Multi-step problems
After a whole bunch of single-step problems…
Bill had three apples and ate two. How many did he have left?
Connor had £5. He spent £3 on lunch. How much money does he have left?
Rachel had 4 dogs. She bought 1 cat. How many pets does she have now?
Multi-step problems can come as a bit of surprise!
To make things easier, ensure your child is in the habit of reading every question carefully.
If you manage to talk about the different ways you could approach the problem this will be very beneficial as dialogue around the process really helps understanding in maths.
Take the time to really dig into the process, and if you get it wrong, treat it as an opportunity to refine the process (rather than giving up).
Here are a few steps to follow every time you come across a word problem:
1. Read the whole question
- Find words that you know.
- Find words that you don’t know. Can you work what they mean from what’s around them?
2. Choose which tools to use
- Which operations make sense here? Addition, subtraction, multiplication or division?
3. Try out your tools
- Present work neatly so it’s easier to keep track later.
4. Check that the answer makes sense
- If it does, do a quick check of your work.
- If it doesn’t, work through the steps again.
How to challenge your 10-year-old with maths at home
You’ve probably had enough of them by now!
But it’s easy to practise these concepts in real-life situations, and there are lots of simple activities you can do when it comes to maths for 10-year-olds that will really strengthen your child’s foundation for more complex secondary maths.
Here are three simple ideas you could use with your Year 6 child:
Bring maths into baking
Find a recipe that serves a lot of people and ask your child to think about how they can make the recipe the right size for you using division and fraction terminology (“We’ll need half/a quarter/an eighth of this recipe”).
An example of a maths question could be:
Last week you made a cake that had 8 slices. Unfortunately, this was too big and some of it had to be thrown away!
You want to make another cake this week, but you only need to use half the amount of ingredients.
Last week’s cake recipe:
- 220g butter
- 220g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 300g flour
- 80g raspberry jam
Can you work out how much of each ingredient you would need to make a cake half this size?
Can you work out how much of each ingredient you would need to make a cake a quarter of this size?
Using your savings to study
Use money to familiarise your child with decimals, perhaps encouraging them to keep a running record of savings to two decimal places.
This might not seem fun, but when they see the money in their piggy bank growing, they’ll be delighted!
Dealing with discounts while sale shopping
When you’re out shopping practise working out sale discounts.
Work out 10% to begin with, before working your way up to multiples of 10% and 5%.
There’s really no substitute for concrete learning when it comes to these concepts – maths for 10-year-olds becomes a lot easier when you practise it in context!
What’s more, this gives them a firm basis for understanding the relationship between fractions, decimals and percentages (a hugely important concept in secondary maths).
Maths for 10-year-olds can be challenging, but we’re here to help…
Free time is something that’s hard to come by – especially for parents! If this sounds like you, then doing maths with your 10-year-old may sometimes fall to the bottom of the agenda even if you might not want it to. That’s why we’re here!
Our tutors are trained in everything 10-year-olds need to know in maths, and with a selection of resources all targeted towards individual learners, you can rest easy knowing that the practice worksheets and other activities we have are just the right difficulty for your child.
To learn more about out one-to one maths tuition and how it could work for your child, learn more by clicking here. We are really excited to bring all of the knowledge we have from providing over 650,000 lessons in primary schools across the UK into your home, but don’t wait too long as spots are limited!