Discovering the power of hands-on Maths activities in Primary School at OWIS Nanyang

Mathematics often has the reputation of being a daunting and abstract subject. But modern inquiry-led education in Primary School, such as the IB PYP, provides a wonderful opportunity to unlock mathematical understanding and enthusiasm through hands-on activities. 

Since the start of the term, our learners in Primary School at OWIS Nanyang have been building their knowledge of mathematical concepts through exciting activities planned by our passionate educators. In Grade 1, our students learned the meaning of the words ‘before’ and ‘after’. Then, in an outdoor learning task, they applied this knowledge mathematically by calling out the numbers that came before and after a ‘secret number’ that their friend wrote with the chalk on the floor. Grade 2’s students also worked in small groups outdoors to depict a number line up to 1000, and then used the chalk drawing for practising their addition and subtraction. 

In Grade 3, students played a card game to create four-digit numbers and rounded them to the nearest 1000. They also gained conceptual understanding about measurement through a class scavenger hunt where they were thrilled to measure the length of the objects they could spot around their learning space.

In Grade 4, learning about addition of four-digit numbers became a little bit more fun by playing an archery game. Students chose a number from the bow and another number from the arrow. Then, they added up the numbers and if the answer was correct, they could win points. 

When students have the opportunity to touch, manipulate, and interact with tangible materials, mathematical concepts cease to be mere equations on a page and become vivid, engaging experiences. These activities not only make Maths more accessible, but also instil a sense of curiosity and exploration. They pave the way for a deeper understanding of mathematical principles that will serve as a strong foundation for a lifetime of numerical literacy.