primary maths conference

Primary Mathematics Conference


On Friday 29th September we held our first annual primary maths conference. This was attended by over 70 delegates from across the Solent region. Our keynote speaker, Ben Sparks, focussed on the emotional side of mathematics and the ways on which this can impact on children’s learning. Providing problems that invoke an emotional response result in learning that is more likely to be remembered and understood.

For many of the attendees this problem invoked the greatest emotional response:

Two cars are driving on a dual carriageway.

Blue driving at 70mph

Yellow driving at 100mph

At the instant they are level they both see an obstruction ahead.

Blue stops *just* in time

What happens to yellow?

One of Ben’s suggestions included acknowledging your own emotional responses with classes and encouraging your learners to do the same by recording your mathematics in two columns.

  • A ‘Maths’ column (algebra, conclusions, formal, etc.)
  • An ‘emotions/comments’ columns (informal, running commentary)

We would love to hear from anyone that gives this a go!

The keynote was followed by a series of workshops exploring tens frames, mastery and greater depth, SEND in mainstream and bar modelling. It was a fantastic day and we look forward to welcoming many more people next year.

Our best maths tips from the day:

  • “Look for, and celebrate, the good emotions from maths.”
  • “Sometimes just do some maths just because it’s nice…”
  • “Mastery requires a long term culture shift of positive attitudes.”
  • “Representations allow children to hear the maths you are teaching.”

Resources are available at:

MathsHUBS Solent