Maths for 7-year-olds can be a complicated topic. More often than not it will be the first time your child is experiencing Key Stage 2 maths, and this can be an overwhelming time for young minds with new topics, theories and ideas coming at them thick and fast. If you are a parent who has found themselves wondering how they can best help their 7-year-old with maths in this tricky transition period, then you have come to the right place!
Knowing how to help your child with their school work can prove difficult. Chances are as a parent you have found yourself asking questions such as:
What are they learning at this point of the year?
Will I be teaching it in the same way as they are learning about it in school?
I don’t know how to help them with this topic…What do I do?
At MATR, thanks to the thousands of lessons we have delivered in primary schools up and down the country, we recognise that whilst every child is unique, a lot of the issues being faced by 7-year-old children are the same.
That is why we have put together this post to present you with a rough guide for the age-related expectations of the national curriculum.
The change from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 maths for 7-year-olds
Although a lot of the concepts your child learns at this age will be familiar, there’s a new focus on accuracy. Couple this with the introduction of more abstract fractions, and you’ve got a fairly challenging programme of study. However, if you can nail the habit of careful observation now, you’ll reap the rewards later on.
The move from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 often means a change of routine at school. Perhaps your child will find themselves eating in a different lunch hall, going out to play a bit later, or moving to a new classroom. Maths questions for 7-year-olds can also be quite different from the types of questions they faced just a few months ago too, so there is a lot going on!
All this uncertainty can seem like a really big deal when you’re seven! It can be a tricky thing for us as parents to remember, but ask any teacher and they will confirm that it is certainly a big deal!
Therefore, building strong foundations in basic maths skills gives your child something to rely on in changing times. Invest a little bit of practice each day in the fundamentals and the rest of your maths journey will be plain sailing.
Maths for 7-year-olds – Measurements and accuracy is very important!
One way to introduce and then cement the concept of measuring accurately is to get your child measuring anything and everything with a ruler or a tape measure.
As we mentioned in our earlier blog about how to help your child with maths at home, the best way to learn is through concrete examples, and one classroom favourite that you can easily bring into the home is growing an onion. We know that this might sound a little strange to begin with, but trust us, it works!
Onions and rulers can make for a fun and engaging way to learn maths
The humble onion might be a staple in your kitchen, but you’ll be amazing at how quickly it can also be incorporated into helping your 7-year-old with maths. It’s a very simple way to get your child interested in measurements and accuracy, and all you need to do is pick up an extra onion next time you are in the supermarket.
How to transform an onion into an amazing 7-year-old maths activity
Step 1: Pop 2 toothpicks into a young green onion.
Step 2: Balance it over a glass of water.
Step 3: Find a book or diary that your child can record the growth of the onion in.
Step 4: Instruct your child on the type of things they need to record in their daily onion diary. This will include things like the length and width of the leaves and how long the shoots have grown.
Taking accurate measurements over the next few weeks of the leaves and shoots and carefully recording them into a table means that you will hit two skills with one skills with one…..onion. Maths for 7-year-olds meets science for 7-year-olds!
Vary the activity and set your 7-year-old a challenge
If by week 2 your child has become an onion measuring expert, bring some larger objects into the mix. By measuring items that are metres long rather than the centimetres, you will have the chance to introduce another unit of measure, and all you will need to do this is a metre stick!
Why not ask your child to measure some furniture, or even the perimeter of their bedroom to make it more personal? Children’s bedrooms are often a treasure trove of random items, so if there are some in the way of the when measuring, this give you an opportunity to talk about how this makes your measurement less accurate.
Discuss what would help if you wanted a really exact measurement.
Could we move the cupboard out of the way?
Could we measure the width of the bed instead of moving it? Would it be the same as the gap it is covering?
Even if you don’t get the best readings, reflecting on how to improve your practice is a crucial problem-solving skill.
A fun way to challenge your child to guess how long each item is before you measure it. You can also turn it into a competition with both of you submitting a guess! 7-year-old maths can become fun for everyone if you find the right activity that everyone in your family can get involved in.
An often underused skill, estimation is a great way to develop spatial awareness. It’s also incredibly useful in spotting any results that are way out of line. A handy trick your child will love using is to measure the length of their hand from wrist to index finger to give them a handy – excuse the pun – reference tool for estimation.
Remember to re-measure it as they grow!
Accuracy in measurement takes practice
It might take longer than you expect to foster this particular attribute, but it’s worth the wait. Once accuracy becomes second nature, the benefits go well beyond the confines of the classroom.
Aside from being a more efficient way of working, accuracy encourages checking and evaluating your own work, and in the context of harder maths problems, these skills make all the difference. Add a little resilience to the mix, and your child is about to become an unstoppable learning machine.
Maths for 7-year-olds – There’s no escaping times tables!
You’ve probably heard this one before, but there are few things less appealing than reciting times tables over and over again. After working on them during a long day at school, the last thing your child is going to want to do is come home to the four times tables. This means it is time to switch it up!
Making times tables fun isn’t impossible!
As already discussed, times tables are not anyone’s favourite thing, however their importance in the world of mathematics is almost unrivalled. Times tables play such a big role in our everyday lives as adults that it is crucial the skills are practiced and perfected at a young age.
Fortunately though, there are a few ways you can turn the dreaded times tables into a fun maths game for 7-year-olds. They include:
- Having a competition each morning to see who can recall the times table of the day the quickest. Can you beat your child? How well do you remember 8 x 6….
- Singing them along to songs from Frozen, Ed Sheeran’s latest hit or one of the songs your child likes but you have no idea why… The song itself doesn’t matter, it’s all about the times tables!
You’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t have to go this far!
- Bringing times tables into everyday life. When you are out and about why not ask quickfire questions such as “There are 2 avocados in each pack, and we need to buy 3 packs. How many avocados will we have?
- Playing bingo! If you pull 55 out from the bag, don’t call it out, say that this number is 11 x 5.
Whatever it takes, get those times tables nailed.
A teaching technique taken straight from the classroom – Dot the dots!
One of the best ways to understand multiplication it is to imagine that you’re creating rows (or columns) of dots. When you multiply one number by another, you’re just drawing out so many rows of dots.
To solve 2 x 3, you’re doubling a row of three dots (which equals six). As the current curriculum advocates for deep learning over rote memorisation, speedy times tables recall (along with clear visualisation) makes the rest of maths much more accessible so it is important you find a technique that works for your 7-year-old! Our blog is packed with other activities you can use to help your child with maths at home, so take a look if you are on the hunt for more inspiration.
Maths for 7-year-olds – Covering all the angles
When you’re seven, using a protractor falls pretty low on the list of daily priorities, slightly below tucking into broccoli, and with two sets of numbers on display, it’s easy to see where you might go wrong.
At this age, it’s a good idea to practise identifying angles from sight. There are plenty of ways to remember which angles are obtuse, acute, right, and reflex, but be warned that most of which involve waving your hands in the air. Luckily though, this is a very child-friendly activity.
Stretch one arm straight overhead and the other out to your side and you’ve got a right angle.
Hold your arms out in a wide Y shape and you’re obtuse.
Bring them into a narrow Y for an acute angle, and down by your side for a reflex angle.
You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to angles. They are all around us, so helping your 7-year-old with angles is not only important but also quite simple!
How to help your 7-year-old build resilience in maths
Many seven year olds struggle with the jump in standards from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, so if you find that this is the case with your child there is no need to panic.
The need for accuracy coupled with the introduction of new ideas can be a lot to take on, and that is why it is so important that you help your child build up some mathematical resilience. This will help with homework, school work and future maths!
Simple ways to help your 7-year-old believe in their maths ability
One way to build resilience in your child is by modelling how to mistakes and then investigating what went wrong together.
Talk about what you’re doing as you solve a problem, to show your child what you’re thinking (even if it’s along the lines of “This is so hard!”).
Your child learns how to respond to frustration by watching what you do, so let them know how you deal with challenging problems.
The ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on is a game-changer when it comes to facing a challenge, and this is something you can help your child realise.
Solving a tricky maths problem is very rewarding, so help and encourage your child to push through the tough bits to get to the end of the problem.
If you are wondering how on Earth you can do this, here are a few speaking frames to make talking about maths a little easier:
When beginning to answer a new maths question
I know this word. It means that… / I don’t know this word. I think it means that…
What are we trying to work out?
Which bits of information are important?
We can start by…
These phrases and questions are a good way to open up an initial dialogue about the maths problem at hand.
When things start to get tough
Do I have all the information I need?
Let’s go over what we have so far.
Could I use another method?
Reviewing the information you have already and the strategy that has been used can often result in the realisation that there is another way to solve the problem. Until you step back though, you are unlikely to see this.
When it is time to present your answers
This answer seems sensible because…
I’m not sure about this answer because…
The best part of the process I used was…
Taking time to think about how you got to your answer is a good habit to get into at an early age as it gives you a final opportunity to reflect on the work you have done.
Challenging your 7-year-old with maths at home
Most 7-year-olds have an insatiable appetite when it comes to food, but if this is also the case with maths it is time to challenge them!
One simple thing you can do at home is to measure their knowledge of measurements!
To do this, investigate the capacity of containers that you find around the house with a measuring jug. Start by estimating, then have a go at filling them with water to see how close the guess was. Make it magical; use potion recipes to create delicious drinks that look like something out of this world. Get creative! There’s nothing a bit of purple food colouring won’t jazz up.
If your brainbox still isn’t satisfied, challenge them to measure and calculate the volume of cuboid shapes (length x width x height). Why not look up the dimensions of the local swimming pool and work out how much water is needed to fill it? Or better still – design your own!
Maths for 7-year-olds can seem overwhelming – Don’t let this be the case
We understand that as a busy parent it can be difficult to find time to help your child with maths. Work, family, shopping and dozens of other tasks crop up on a daily basis, all of which can detract from the time you have available to help out with fractions and the like! If this is the case, there are some parenting jobs you can outsource, but for everything maths related, there is Matr!
If you are struggling to find the time to help your child with maths, consider letting the tutors at Matr, who are experts in maths for 7-year-olds, help. Our one-to-one tuition is tailored to each child so you don’t need to worry about the work being too easy or too hard. With expert tutors on hand to help, you can be sure that all of your child’s questions will be answered (even the really tricky ones).
You don’t even have to leave home to access personalised, one-to-one tuition to help your seven year old with maths. MATR is all online (and affordable). It’s a time saving way to help prepare your little mathematician for Key Stage 2 maths!
If you are looking for more advice on how to help my child with maths at home, our post has everything you need to know for 7,8,9,10 and 11 year old children. It is packed with maths questions, activities and advice so take a look now.