In KS2, Maths Starters can serve a multitude of purposes and they can provide the perfect opportunity to introduce new content or concepts. That is why in this blog we wanted to take a look at some of the reasons why we think you should bring them into your classroom if you haven’t already! We have also included a downloadable resource containing 15 of our favourite maths starters for KS2 pupils!
Maths starters are very adaptable and there are a lot of ways to use them to kick off a lesson. Some could include:
• Consolidating previously taught work.
• Using them as an assessment opportunity.
• You might even just be starting off a lesson with a (shhh!) fun maths game.
However you use them, a KS2 maths starter can really help a lesson flow from session transition chaos, and can set the scene for the rest of the class.
We often think that those 10 minutes can be a bit throwaway,but, if planned carefully into both long-term and mid-term plans as well as your weekly planning, they can be beneficial.
Lesson starters are a great way to ensure no maths topic or concept is left alone for so long that pupils forget key elements and leave you teaching a topic all over again with no chance to move on to new concepts.
No teacher has time for this…
That’s why well timed and planned starters can also make a difference to your whole day – making every minute purposeful and structured. To help you out we have put together a collection of 15 of our favourite KS2 Maths Starters in on handy PDF, so take a look and let us know what you think!
This resource starters included in this PDF are:
• Today’s Number – A simple starter to test knowledge of the four operations
• Shape Property Bingo – An updated version of the classic game which will help cement shape property knowledge
• Shape Feely Bag – Vocalisation is crucial in this shape description game
• Time Challenge – Time based challenges for your class to solve
• Same Time Card Match – Can your class match the times?
• Number Bonds Practice – All you’ll need for this game is paddles and some number bond knowledge
• Find The Missing Number – A classroom classic. There is a number missing in the sequence, but which is it?
• Classic Puzzle – The tricky Chicken, Fox and Grain puzzle has been around for years, but it is the perfect way to start a class!
• Price It Up! Money Challenge – Tying takeaways into teaching monetary maths? What could be better?
• Make Some Profit – Part maths, part business studies, this is a great starter for budding business bods!
• Venn Diagram Games – Who doesn’t love making their own Venn Diagrams?
• Tally Chart Practice – This KS2 Maths Starter is a great way to reintroduce your class to data collection
• Code Breakers – Bring a touch of the Da Vinci Code into the classroom with this fun and exciting lesson starter.
• Vocabulary Quiz – Does your class know their division from their decimals?
• Probability – Use dice, money, or even the weather for this activity. Probability is always around us!
The Benefits Of A Maths Starter In The KS2 Classroom
There are plenty of reasons you should be using lessons starters in your primary school, and here are some of the main benefits!
Benefit 1 – KS2 Maths Starters Are The Perfect Way To Introduce A New Topic
When introducing something new, a starter could be a game or activity which contextualises the new learning you are about to impart.
Playing a dice game to introduce probability is a good example of this. Playing simple dice games do not require any skills or knowledge of probability yet as pupils are used to using them for board games.
Therefore, they will happily follow instructions for a game or try and work something out if given a simple task as a starter.
This can lead you straight, and very neatly, into looking more in depth at probability using their results into the main part of the lesson.
Maths Lesson Starter Idea – Take a look at Starter 15 in our downloadable KS2 Lesson Starter PDF!
Benefit 2 – Primary Maths Starters Are A Great Way To Recap A Topic Or Previously Taught Skill
If you have just taught a week of multiplication last week then having a quick recap at the beginning of each lesson this week can give a perfect opportunity to ensure that the skills are embedded.
This will also give you the chance to assess and record this if using independent tasks in the starter. It is also worth mentioning that if a few students struggled last week, it gives you a chance to remind them again in new ways each day to ensure that it clicks before moving on completely.
Maths Lesson Starter Idea – Starter 14 in our list tells you how you can use a maths vocabulary quiz to revise all of the technical terms your KS2 class has learnt this year! If you are looking for other ways to increase the use of maths language in your classroom, take a look at our blog on Maths Terminology and How to Teach Primary Pupils The Maths Vocab They Will Need.
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Benefit 3 – Active Starters Can Get Every Member Of Your Class Thinking Quickly
An active starter or game can really help to transition pupils from playtime or lunchtime, particularly, into a maths lesson.
If tensions have been running high, or it’s just too hot and they are all drifting off a bit concentration wise, a good active maths activity can help them to concentrate and ensure they are engaged in maths as soon as they enter the classroom.
Maths Lesson Starter Idea – Lesson Starter 3 in the PDF is called Shape Feely Bag and it is a great way to grab your classes attention after break time.
Benefit 4 – Silent Maths Lesson Starters Can Settle An Excited Class
If everyone is excited coming into class from the playground or lunch hall then having the chance to sit in silence and complete the task on the board gives the students time to settle and prepare their learning behaviours for the lesson.
It also helps you, the teacher, to deal quietly with any children who may need extra support to transition – or even just because you need to count the school trip money arriving in envelopes that morning!
Maths Lesson Starter Idea – Finding the missing number in a sequence is a classic KS2 classroom activity, but take a look at Lesson Starter 7 for inspiration of how to use this as a starter!
Benefit 5 – KS2 Maths Starters Can Help You Drip Feed Areas Of The Curriculum That May Otherwise Be Forgotten About
Some areas of the curriculum do not really lend themselves to being taught out of context at random six weekly intervals if you really want them embedded.
Telling the time is a prime example.
Introducing regular starters, once a week or more, which involve telling the time can be a real benefit if your class has a few children who struggle with the concept of time.
Maths Lesson Starter Idea – Lesson Starter 5, The Same Time Card Match is a great way to bring teaching time back into the classroom in a non-disruptive way.
How To Plan A Week’s Worth Of KS2 Lesson Starters
When planning a week of lessons I find it useful to have some specific objectives for the lesson.
However, I also like to have a range of ideas in my arsenal ready to switch the type of activity if I need to change tack based on how the students enter the classroom, or even based on the weather (lesson after wet play argh!) or other external factors.
That might sound like extra work but once you have repeated certain games a few times it can be easy enough, when using a starter for consolidation at least, to switch to a different game or activity.
As the year goes on you will learn your class well enough to know which days they can generally cope with more active starters and which days they need a calm and purposeful endeavour to work on quietly (while your tackle the after-playtime mood swings for example).
You may wish to plan different types of activity depending on the day and how you work your weekly plan.
You also want to plan your week in such a way that you do not have too much marking every day, for a bit of work life balance (whatever that is!) To help you with your lesson planning, check out our Maths Activities for a Mixed Ability Classroom. We know how busy you are, so let us help out a little bit!
For example, a money activity might be independent and recorded in books (requiring marking at some point), so the next day you will plan an active starter talking about properties of shapes.
An example week may look like this:
|Starter||Recap of last week’s work and homework answers with a practice into books – independent passive task||Time/money game not linked to current topics – active game||Mini assessment of how students are doing with current content – independent passive task||Graphing/tally chart – active practice in pairs||Introduce next week’s learning briefly to reassess what they have remember from prior teaching – active whole class game|
Starters in the example plan could be active (“fun games”) or passive (independent task from prompt on the whiteboard) and once you have the resources ready it is usually very easy to switch from active to passive, or vice versa, if you feel a change of tack is required.
We at Third Space Learning have put together a handout of our favourite 15 maths starters (KS2) which are easy to use, easy to adapt for all year groups, and easy to adapt as passive or active versions. Let us know about your favourite starters and how you use them!
Looking for more classroom inspiration? Take a look at the 20 Maths Strategies At KS2 That We Use in Our Teaching to Guarantee Progress for Any Pupil.