Arithmetic experiences outside of the classroom

Date Posted: 12/01/2016

Here are some Arithmetic-related school trip ideas to inspire Primary school students who are learning their times tables.

It was announced last week by the education secretary Nicky Morgan that it will be compulsory for Primary school students to be tested on their numeric times tables at the age of 11.

The scheme is to be piloted by 3,000 students in 80 schools this summer term before being rolled out countrywide in 2017. Pupils will be given a limited time to answer questions and be scored instantly, and it will be the first time on-screen technology has been used in National Curriculum tests.

We’ve tallied up a few inspiring ways for teachers to take Maths outside of the classroom, to prove that Arithmetic can be just as fun as any other subject, regardless of whether it is compulsory or not.

1. The Shard

Teachers planning a visit to The Shard in London can focus on Arithmetic by getting students to partake in some Shard Sums.

A workbook featuring Maths questions for pupils is available and additionally covers other subjects including English and History.

The Maths section in particular asks pupils to use multiplication to work out the time it takes to travel between London landmarks, and how long it would take to clean 11,000 windows.

The handbook is written for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils, and can be downloaded prior to a school visit.

2. The Beamish Museum

Link Maths with History and take your class to learn Arithmetic in a classroom from the past during a Victorian Lesson at Beamish in County Durham.

The activity involves pupils experiencing a traditional lesson from Victorian England, including Arithmetic studies.

Beamish Museum

The class will also undertake tasks in reading, writing and drills. Children will sit in rows and use slates and pencils or pen and ink depending on their age.

They will be expected to work in silence and generally behave as though they were Victorian pupils although a degree of flexibility will be employed.

This workshop can be included as part of an extended school trip to Beamish, so other subjects can be integrated into a trip as well.


3. The British Museum

Students in Years 5 and 6 can test out their multiplication knowledge on a gallery visit to the London-based British Museum.

Measuring the Museum is a teacher-led session in which students use packs of materials supplied by the attraction. Students rotate through six activities in two different galleries, including the Citi Money Gallery. 45 minutes per gallery is recommended.

The activities are designed to focus on developing students’ Mathematical thinking by using key processes such as Arithmetic and applying a variety of numerical concepts to unfamiliar scenarios.

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4. Blenheim Palace

While a palace might not seem like the most conventional location to familiarise students with Maths, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire provides Maths trails for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Blenheim Palace

Key Stage 2 students in particular are given a pack which includes a map of the grounds, plus an activity book to fill in.

The questions inside the book encourage students to use Arithmetic to find out the answers, for example, ‘If the water flows here into a lake at 500 litres per minute, how much water will flow into the lake in one hour?”

Pupils will also have to search for numbered clues leading them from point to point along the trail, while learning about circumference, water speed, and Pythagoras’ Theorem.

The trails allow students to independently explore the palace, formal gardens and parkland and learn more about their surroundings.


5. Alton Towers

Thrill your students on a trip to Alton Towers Theme Park in Staffordshire, where an educational workshop focuses on how important Maths is for the running of the attraction.

Arithmetic is linked in through working out the answers to questions such as 'how many people ride Nemesis in an hour?’, ‘how popular is Oblivion?’ and ‘how fast does TH13TEEN drop?’.

This workshop is appropriate for Key Stage 2, takes place in the education centre on site, and lasts approximately 40 minutes.

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