# what is your BEST oral mental starter in mathematics/numeracy?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by kelly_louise_lewis, Jun 27, 2006.

1. ### kelly_louise_lewis

Just wondering what YOU think is the best/most effective numeracy oral/mental starter?

Kelly.

2. ### kelly_louise_lewis

Just wondering what YOU think is the best/most effective numeracy oral/mental starter?

Kelly.

3. ### wicked witchNew commenter

One that the children love is when they have to draw a box big enough for a 4 digit number. Then I tell them the number I want to create eg the biggest even number. I use a 10 sided dice and each time it's rolled they have to put the number somewhere in their box and they are not allowed to change their decision. It's good for place value and also probability. I've done it with numbers up to 6 digits but I think 5 is enough really.
Does that make sense?

4. ### kathaz20

Yeah that makes sense...good idea.

Anyone got any good ideas for mental oral starters that really get the kids going...I want to incorporate some good thinking skils too!

5. ### coastertoaster

Thinking of a number, write on postit and hide. Give chidlren 5 chances of guessing teh number by asking questions such as more than 50, is it odd etc. Can only give yes or no answers and to start with record teh questions and teh answers and teacher thinks of teh number then the chidl thinks of a number then you dont record. They think it is amazing (year 3)

Year 1 like teh games where you say a number and they get into the groups year 3 do aeh fingers for teh as well incidentally but give them sums to find teh number i.e 5 + 3 divide by 2 add 1 what is it ( promotes listening)

Fast fingers in year 1 where they have naturally ten fingers and give them a sum and say fast fingers fast fngers fast foingers then show them for the answer make quicker by only saying once.

Also a beach ball with stickers on for sums or numbers etc and the right hand does it i.e say 5 and then if the righthand gets on x3 they have to say 15.

Just done multiples with my year 3 and they had the beach ball and gave a number say 4565 and then threw the ball at a child and tehyhad to say either 2,5, 10 or nothing ( multiple of).

Best 69p I spent on a beach ball!!!!!!!

6. ### SamDumpling

Mystery Numbers is a good one - you give a chosen child a number and the rest of the class must guess what the number is by asking questions like 'is it a multiple of 7' 'is it even' etc.

My placement class loved loop cards although it drove me bananas because they couldn't ever get quicker than 7 minutes! (and they were simple subtraction!). But they really do enjoy the challenge of beating time.

How about Gladiator?. You put all the multiples of a number on the board and choose 2 children to be gladiators. You then say '2 x 7' for example and the children must hit 14 with a stick or metre ruler. The first child to do this is the 'champion' and you then chose another child to come and challenge the reigning champion. It's also quite good to do in pairs.

7. ### coastertoaster

If you have 9.5 smartboard get teh dice taht you can roll and make a sum up with the 3 and then chidlren can only change one dice to get the correct answer. they love that one as well i.e if teh dices are 6 + 3 = 4 then they have to change eh 4 as the dice with 6 on and hope they get a 1 as can not change the 4 as will not throw 7 and etc gets them thinking also you then can say they can change the operation.

8. ### coastertoaster

Get a hundred square and cut up like a jigsaw and give to teh chidlren and sort it out. Good starter, not mental but still gets ehm thinking.

Year 1 with place value loved the what number would you prefer 4 or 3 if I gave you a sticker etc. Didnot tell them whether it was the tens or unit so had to decide and think what was the best option.

9. ### charliee

Martial Mathematics is a good, active one, a bit like martial arts, but is hard to describe; I'll try though. The children stand facing the front and all bow together, hands together. Then you shout out a word for either x,+,- or / eg, 'total'. They show you the relevant hand sign, in this case, +, which is the arms crossed vertically and horizontally, and make a 'huh' sound. The actions are

+ - arms crossed making + sign
x - arms crossed making x sign
= - arms parallel making = sign
/ - arm horizontally, then punch with other hand above and below, making a sound for each
- - arm horizontally, making a - sign

You can make it competitive by getting the children 'out' if they are the slowest, get it wrong and also have an effort winner for the child who put the most energy into their sign

Hope that makes sense

10. ### trinity0097New commenter

Disappearing Man

This is a powerpoint (but I orginally did it as an OHT on which I then stuck down the body parts to 'remove' them) that has a picture of a man made out of various shapes, on each part is a number, a part is highlighted and the class have to give a question that has that as the answer, it can be made as easy or as hard as you like, e.g. they have to give you 2 step questions like (2+3)x6 to make 30, or give you multiples of the number, or divide it by 10 etc etc, then the next slide that body part has disappeared and they have to try the next one.

It's worked well for me when they all have to show you their possible answers on a mini-whiteboard so they are all engaged. I've also used it with my KS3 pupils to practice algebraic substitution.

It's currently for sale on my Ebay shop for 99p if you search for "disappearing man" you'll find it if you can't be bothered to make the powerpoint yourself!

11. ### charliee

Another good one is 'Super-Hero Zero'; an alternative way to explain place value through drama. With bottom set numeracy, I find I need as many as possible! The premise is as follows:

The Digit Villagers live at the bottom of Place Value Mountain. A mountain which has only one thin, winding path to the top. The Digits really want to get up to the top (to see the view?) and call upon their friend Multiplier the Magnificent to push them to the top. Unfortunately, every time he pushes a digit up, they slide back down again. He has a genious idea and brings in SuperHero Zero, a placeholder, to help. He pushes the Digit up, SuperHero stands in place and the Digit doesn't slide down.

Once the Digit has got to the top, however, The Demon Diviser is discovered. He has a lazer gun, which is like kryptonite to Superman, and every time he shoots it, a SuperHero Zero disappears and Digit falls back down the mountain.

By using drama and linking this to a place value grid on the board, I found my kids could visualise place value a lot easier. We even extended the lesson to making comic strips to explain this.

12. ### natsplat

My year 2 class used to love me giving them a target number. I started by leaving this open ended so they could use any addition or subtraction sum they wanted. As the year progressed i added different criteria eg certain numbers/operations. They became very good at this by the end of the year. The LA would usually stick to simple addition eg number bonds/adding just one or two, but the HA were using X and / and using a range of operations in one go.

13. ### sarah1075

We use post its where i choose a number, write it on a post it and a child sticks it on their forehead and has to guess the number by asking questions to which others can only answer yes or no. We also use loop cards and play who wants to be a millionaire. A good site that i use is www.primarygames.co.uk or www.mathszone.co.uk as there are some fun intercative games here.

14. ### Kirstos

Just found this thread and really wanted to get some more ideas as I struggle with mental starters. There are some great ideas here! Any more?

15. ### cappuchino

Quick bingo. They draw a 3x3 grid and write in 9 numbers between whatever you say. e.g. 1-20. All your questions focus on maths vocabulary such as 100 divided by 10, the product of 3 and 4, subtract 17 from 30 etc. If they have the answer, they cross it out until someone shouts bingo. Really work on the vocabulary you're focusing on that week. Make it as easy or as difficult as your class needs.

16. ### trinity0097New commenter

My best (and one I used when I got an outstanding) was the disappearing man starter powerpoint - you can see a picture in my shop to understand! It is easily adapted to all year groups and allows you to show off your questionning skills.

17. ### Puffballcow

One of my favourites is Number King/Queen. I have a crown made from gold card and choose a pupil to be the Number King/Queen.This pupil stands at the front of the class, facing peers. Using Blu-tak, I stick a post-it on the crown. On the post-it is written a number and, depending on the current topic, I ask a question. For example, if we are practising number bonds to 10, I might write 3 on the post-it and ask the class, 'What number must be added to this number to make 10?' The class write their answers on whiteboards and show to King/Queen, who must now work out the number on the crown from the answers on the whiteboards. If King/Queen gets it right, his/her 'reign' continues. If not, he/she sits down and a new King/Queen is chosen. The beauty of this is that it can be used for almost any topic, is easily differentiated and engages all learners at once .I've used it from Yr 1 - Yr6 with equal success. The children love it and it can be adapted for other subjects. I'm MFL really and have found various ways to use it in my French lessons too. Hope that makes sense. Should say, I think I got this from TES many years ago.

18. ### littlelebowskiNew commenter

Love these!! My class (year 2) also love gladiators - they get so enthusiastic! Mine also really like popcorn (crouch down, listen to the numbers, jump up if it is a...multiple of 5 etc). I was given a good one on a course called don't roll a six: you give the chn (in pairs) a piece of paper with a line down the middle and their name on either side. They both start on 20 and take turns to roll a dice, subtracting the number rolled each time. The first one to zero wins. BUT if they roll a six, they go back to 20. I've played it with me V the class and every time we roll the big dice, the class chant 'Don't roll a six!' Odd one out is good: put three numbers on board, which one is odd one out and why. Then get chn to come and put three numbers up. As someone else said, loop cards are good but seem to take ages!