The KS2 SATs Maths exams will be taking place on 10th and 11th May and you may be wondering how you can help your child in the last few days before the tests.

By this stage most children in most schools will have covered all the topics and completed a range of practice papers. If your child seems nervous or worried about the tests then the best approach you can take is to keep calm and try to reassure them.

Playing a maths game can help children relax and reduce their stress levels, whilst helping them to brush up on basic skills and build on their confidence. Practising basic skills in different ways is a good way to keep your child’s interest, which is why using a Flipp Flopps booklet or tackling times tables using a visual activity can be a winner.

Here are two fun and interactive games/activities that we have come up with, which will enable you to get in some last minute practice with your child, ready for their upcoming SATs exams this week:

GAME 1 – Beat the clock using the Flipp Flopps booklet

Who is the game for?

  • One or more players

What do I need for this game?

  • A set of Flipp Flopps booklets for each player
  • Scrap paper for each player
  • A pen or pencil for each player
  • A stopwatch visible to the player(s)

How do I play?

  • Each player begins by choosing a set of tables from the booklet to answer
  • Each player then places the Flipp Flopps booklet on their piece of paper and prepares to write their answers
  • The adult says ‘Ready, Steady, Go’, starts the clock and players begin writing their answers on the paper alongside the booklet, as quickly as possible
  • As they finish the players notice the time on the stopwatch and write this down
  • The players then flip over the page of the booklet to check their answers
  • If a player gets one or more answers wrong they must choose one of those questions and spend time memorising that before trying again- they could write it out 5 times, say it to themselves 10 times, draw a funny picture to illustrate the fact, make up a silly rhyme-anything!

How will this game help my child?

This activity will help your child identify which facts they know securely and which they need to brush up on. It’s not too daunting and children like having the answers on the back of the Flipp Flopps so they can check their own work. The questions are presented in a mixed up order, just as they will meet them when they work through a maths question. If your child makes a mistake you then have the opportunity to talk to them about how they’d like to try and learn that fact. Could they draw a funny or colourful picture to illustrate the fact? Would they like to write the fact on ten pieces of paper and display them in prominent places around the house? Can you think of a crazy rhyme together? Be inventive and have some some fun – make the process memorable and your child will learn more effectively.

Making the activity easier or more challenging

If your child gets anxious over timed activities allow them to have a go without timing them. Let them practise for a while until they feel confident and can answer the questions without mistakes.  For those more confident see how quick they can get! Are they able to complete each set of times tables facts inside 30 seconds? 20 seconds?

GAME 2 – How Close to 100?

This game is listed on www.youcubed.org and was featured in a report by Jo Boaler – Fluency Without Fear: Research Evidence on the Best Ways to Learn Maths Facts.

 Who is the game for?

  • Two players

What do I need for this game?

How do I play

  • This game is played in partners. Two children share a blank 100 grid.
  • The first partner rolls two number dice.
  • The numbers that come up are the numbers the child uses to make an array on the 100 grid.
  • They can put the array anywhere on the grid, but the goal is to fill up the grid to get it as full as possible.
  • After the player draws the array on the grid, s(he) writes in the number sentence that describes the grid.
  • The second player then rolls the dice, draws the number grid and records their number sentence.
  • The game ends when both players have rolled the dice and cannot put any more arrays on the grid.
  • How close to 100 can you get?

Variation of the game

Each child can have their own 100 grid. Play moves forward to see who can get closest to 100.

How will this game help my child?

This game presents multiplication facts visually and enables children to develop something called “number sense”. Number sense refers to an understanding of the size of numbers and an ability to manipulate them to solve a range of different problems. Being able to use the knowledge that doubling 3×7 will give the answer to 6×7 is a good example of number sense.

Developing good number sense will help a child to become a more confident and competent mathematician. For more information on number sense, watch Jo Boaler’s 3 minute YouTube video here What is number sense?

Children who are less confident about recalling their times tables enjoy this activity because they can draw the array and then calculate the answer by counting the number of squares in the rows or columns. Confident mathematicians enjoy the strategy and challenge of getting close to 100.