Review: Maths Minutes (Prim-Ed)
Prim-Ed had a major success a few years ago with a book called Mental Maths. I would imagine it is on most primary schools‘ booklists. The method behind it was it took 20 random maths questions from the curriculum and, each day, the child would fill in a column and see how many he got right. This was great because it kept previously taught topics alive. For example, if I taught fractions in December, it might never come up again until the following year and it might be forgotten. It only takes about 5 minutes to do and it gives children a great revision of topics covered throughout the year. The only problem with these books was their name. They certainly don’t justify Mental Maths as the work is all written but I guess Mental Maths is a catchier name than “Daily Practice of Mathematical Concepts.”
However, Prim-Ed have just published a new range of books called Maths Minutes, which is a much catchier name. The books are very similar to the Mental Maths books in that the child completes a number if Maths problems in a certain amount of time. There are 100 of these problem pages in each of the six books. Unlike the Mental Maths books, this book is a photocopiable similar to the majority of Prim-Ed’s publications.
What’s good about Maths minutes? Much like Mental Maths, this is a fantastic way for children to revise and reconsolidate areas in the maths curriculum they may not come across. The complete Maths curriculum is covered and all pages are nicely laid out. The whole area of self-assessment is utilised somewhat and children can have a running record of how they are doing.
The downside is that there are only 100 pages in these books and 183 school days in the year, which means this is not something that can be done daily, something that was very appealing in the Mental Maths books. However, I’m sure that this book could be used in conjunction with Mental Maths to give an extra boost or differentiation to children.
I have to say despite the fact that there are only 100 pages in these books, that I would highly recommend them to schools, particularly those who don’t want to commit to the daily chore of the Mental Maths book. For example, if a school was to use them 3 days per week, it would work out around the 100 mark. It would also be great if there was a pupil version of this book to save teachers from having to print / photocopy every day as this is a book where a teacher is most likely to use every single page! The people behind Jolly Phonics did this very successfully so a cheaper, less glossy version of the book for children retailing at under a tenner might be worthwhile. Finally, it would be unfair for me not to give kudos on the creative name – it’s much better than “Mental Maths” or ”Daily Practice of Mathematical Concepts.”