Maths skills for ages 9-11
Developing confidence as a mathematician
Your child is now learning to apply their number skills to more complex problems such as finding averages, converting measures, calculating percentages of amounts and using algebra. These ideas will help your child to further their understanding and develop their confidence in using these skills.
Things to try with your child
1. Make and do together
Most DIY and craft activities involve a range of maths skills, from measuring to understanding shapes and angles. While carrying out craft activities you can point out things like the right angles that are made when you fold a piece of card in half. Making paper aeroplanes is a great activity – your child can make small changes here and there and then check whether these changes improve the plane’s flight. This will involve measuring, recording and analysing information.
Try these activities at home:
2. Practise managing money
Budgeting with precise amounts of money can involve some great practice for calculating. You could involve your child in some budgeting activities, either for the family or for themselves, e.g. a family day out. Tell them how much they have to spend altogether, and ask them to work out the different costs involved for different options. If there is something your child particularly wants to save for, ask them to think about exactly how much money they would need to save each week or month.
Want to keep track of your own money? Try this activity sheet:
3. Measure and weigh
The more you let your child measure and weigh, the more confident they’ll become. Measuring activities can range from measuring the length of a shelf, to work out out how much soil you need to fill a window box, or planning what time to take food out of the oven. On your next trip to the supermarket, ask your child to do any weighing. Can they tell you the weight of some fruit/vegetables in both grams and kilograms? Can your child convert between metric measurements (such as grams) and imperial measurements (such as ounces)? On a car journey, can your child tell you how many miles are in a journey if you tell them the number of kilometres (tell them there are about 1½ kilometres in every mile)?
Try this tasty recipe and practise converting measurements.
4. Use fractions, decimals and percentages
At home, we use fractions, decimals and percentages a lot in our daily lives. Talk about fractions with your child when you are sharing out food or other items between people. Help them to understand how decimals work by including your child in money calculations that include pounds, pence and a decimal point between them: ‘You had £5.50 pocket money and today you spent £1.45. How much should you have left?’
At this age, your child is likely to be introduced to percentages for the first time. Remind them that a percentage is simply a fraction with a bottom number of 100. So 17% means 17/100. Help your child to recognise some common fractions, decimals and percentages with the same value (for example, 0.5, ½ and 50%).
Try these games involving fractions, decimals and percentages.
5. Work with data
There are plenty of opportunities for your child to use charts, tables and graphs at home, and these are a great way of applying their mathematical skills to real-life situations. They could record their own performance in an activity, or monitor something they are interested in such as the number of cars they see on the way to school. Encourage your child to think carefully about how best to display the information they have collected. Your child could then look at the data they have displayed and analyse this – for example, they could work out an average number of cars seen each day.
Try building a robot and measuring how far it can throw:
6. Play maths games
Try these fun games with your child to practise maths skills and help to build your child's confidence. Most children love playing games and it's an easy way to support their learning.
Visit our fun maths activities page for a selection of activities and resources designed to help you enjoy maths with your child.