Calculator Crunch: Supporting home learning and transition from KS2 to KS3

Posted: 06/05/2020

This year’s MEI Calculator Crunch will run from Monday 15 to Thursday 25 June with nine daily challenges and opportunities for teachers and parents/carers to win calculators for use at home and at school.

How it works

If you’re not familiar with the Calculator Crunch, this is what happened last year…

The Calculator Crunch launched in June 2019 with nine daily activities released over two weeks on Twitter (#Calculator Crunch) and the MEI website. The aim was to engage Year 6 and Year 7 pupils with maths focused on key aspects of the curriculum, and to increase their confidence when using calculators. Since 2013 there has been no use of calculators in the Key Stage 2 SATs so there’s been no need to teach their effective use in primary schools. As a result, many pupils start secondary school with little experience of using calculators. We want to do something about this.

During the two weeks of the Calculator Crunch, schools tweeted pictures of their pupils engaging with the activities, images of the work they produced, and even further challenges for us to solve. The feedback from teachers was overwhelmingly positive and the challenges were used with students from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4!

We were delighted at the interest in Calculator Crunch 2019. Hundreds of schools engaged and support from Casio meant schools were able to enter a prize draw to win sets of scientific calculators so that they could continue their investigations.

The 2020 Calculator Crunch will have a similar format to 2019, with a further set of nine activities released each day from 15-25 June.

Supporting learning at home

This year we will also provide a printable ‘Learn from home’ resource for each activity to help parent/carers to use them with their children. Parents/carers will also be able to enter a free prize draw to win a Casio scientific calculator for their child, and/or a set for their school.

We’ve recently created ‘Learn from home’ resources for the 2019 activities too, available on the Calculator Crunch and school/college closure web pages. These ‘Learn from Home’ resources have the added advantage that they can be printed and used by children who are not able to access technology.

Please let parents/carers know about the Calculator Crunch so that they can start using the 2019 resources and get ready for the 2020 event.

Year 6 'Get Calculating' lessons

In addition to the Calculator Crunch activities, in 2019 we provided two ‘Get Calculating’ lesson plans to accompany the challenge, available on the Calculator Crunch web page. These lessons introduce other activities to develop effective use of calculators and explore different aspects of maths.

Over the course of this academic year, further Year 6 ‘Get Calculating’ lessons have been published with each edition of the MEI Primary newsletter. These are available on our Primary Lesson Plans page. From June, teachers will be able to download the complete set of ‘Get Calculating’ lesson plans from the Calculator Crunch web page.

Supporting Transition

An aim of the Calculator Crunch and the accompanying resources is to support transition from KS2 to KS3. This is both and exciting and challenging time for teachers and pupils, never more so that this year when the final term in Year 6, and the transition activities in which they would have taken part, is so disrupted. We hope that the Calculator Crunch activities will be used to support schools in engaging with their new intake of pupils. If you are a secondary teacher, perhaps you could encourage your feeder primary schools to make use of the Calculator Crunch resources. Schools or even pupils could send examples of their work to you and perhaps compare their work with that of your current Year 7 cohort.

If you are a primary teacher then perhaps you could contact the schools to which the majority of your Year 6 pupils go and encourage them to get involved in a similar way.

The lesson resources could also be used to form transition work which you might start this term in Year 6 and follow up in the autumn in Year 7.

We hope that you will find the Calculator Crunch and resources engaging and useful. We would welcome your feedback - please contact Alison Hopper with any questions or comments.

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