Superhero maths area *shazaam*

As you know I enjoy a good maths provision area. You may also know that I don't have an issue with superheroes.

As part of our continued support of a child-led approach to teaching we have been encouraging of our quieter boys to play with super hero toys and materials. I began initially by buying a writing book and some stickers for a little boy who was so stubborn he needed some tokenistic reward to get him going (I know some of you don't support stickers - you're missing out they're fab and once I got four in one day!). That developed into another little boy getting excited about the book which led to another and then a conversation about superheroes outside which led to our new provision.

I'm 27, no spring chicken but no old hen. When I was a lad I enjoyed an occasional superhero film or episode and thought I knew enough about them - I do not! So I now know about shadow/dark/evil spider man, "hulk smash t[h]ings" and something or other about the green lanterns lantern. My children are giving me quite an education and this has led to them leading what appears in the maths area themselves.

I started by adding the numbers 1-5 in the maths area. Thats because as part of our medium term plan we are thinking about children beginning to count up to 5 and associate the numerals to the correct group of objects.

I also added the array/dice dots for them to subitize (superhero-fied of course) and then the number in true comic book style.

This gave me a great starting point to think about the resources which I want to display in the areas. Mainly because the children were coming up to the wall and pulling the pictures off, "look this is batman" "this hulk, he go smash!" - I know what I need, dominoes! I wanted the children to think about the characters, recognise and to talk about them using descriptive language. The beauty of dominoes is that they are also thinking about 'same and different' - a vital basic skill if you're trying to teach concepts such as colour or shape.

As part of the matching idea I set up a dice this morning with some stickers attached to each face. I used 6 different superheroes which they knew well.

This proved very popular and it introduced our new children to dice as they have never used them before. It taught them the basic concept and that each face has a different value. It proved so popular we made a second one this afternoon - only this time we used the same superhero but in a different pose. That way children learn to match and sort (same and different!) but have to think about how they are the same and different (e.g. "they have the same outfit, same face, they must be the same") and not just rely on seeing a replica picture. [Think about when you want children to recognise colours in context - green on a traffic light might not be the same green on a car]

We turned this into a game where we rolled once dice and tried to get the same superhero on the next dice.

As part of the 'table top' display I laid out three different Buzz Lightyears (Yes I know they're not technically superheroes but they are quite superheroish) of different sizes. (Small, medium and big). I also stuck on vocabulary around it which relates to comparative language. The purpose of this is to get the children think about other comparisons than big and small (fewer & greater, less & more, smaller & bigger, shorter & longer etc.)

*Update 17/10/14* So this week I added two superhero number fans which have the subitizing dots on them as well. This does mean they cannot be used like conventional number fans (1 and 0 makes ten) because I have assigned a value to the numeral. But then our children aren't working that far ahead yet (in Reception you could just have a '10' so when the children show you '10' and '3' its value is 13 - and overlap the 0. I also added superhero bingo which the children haven't discovered yet. We're hoping that this can begin to evolve past just superheroes as the children are very much into Fireman Sam, Thomas the tank engine, Minions and princesses at the moment. (I am poised for the next Disney film!)

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