Mental Gym

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Aims and objectives
This activity can be used to develop pupils' mental maths, times tables and spelling skills. By using distractions in the activities pupils have to switch between differing tasks which challenge and sharpen their mental recall abilities.

Previous knowledge
Pupils will need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of the number system and times tables although, as the level of difficulty can easily be adjusted to meet pupil ability, most individual needs should be able to be met. Pupils also need to have a familiarity with the names of the common 2D shapes and, if selected, 3D shapes.

With the spelling version, pupils will need to be familiar with the high and medium frequency words (as per the NLS) depending from which level they approach the activity. The format for the spelling version is a variation on the ‘look, cover, write, check’ methodology so pupils won’t need to have complete knowledge for every spelling as this is a practice activity.

In the classroom
This activity can be used to develop pupils' mental maths, times tables and spelling skills. By using distractions in the activities pupils have to switch between differing tasks which challenges and sharpens their mental recall abilities.

The level, complexity and speed of the activities can all be controlled by clicking the relevant buttons. For example, in the maths workout the number range can be increased up to a maximum of 50 and different combinations of operation can be selected.

Feedback at the end of the activities shows a full breakdown of how many and which types of question were answered correctly. This proves a useful diagnostic tool in identifying where pupils' strategies may need support. Revisiting the activity periodically will provide a means of assessing progression.

Running the activity is self-explanatory, just enter a name and click the 'play' button. Setting the options is also simple (see the 'help' notes at the start of each activity).

The resource can be used for a variety of purposes such as an extension activity in the classroom, a revision tool to help pupils with their speed of mental recall or as an assessment tool to help teachers identify areas where pupils may need additional support.

At the end of each game the user can print out their ‘fitness’ record. This will show how many answers they attempted and how many they correctly achieved. With the maths results the output breaks the results into the four operations (plus 2D/3D shapes).

The spelling version shows all the words held in the database together with the spellings entered by the pupil against each word attempted. This is particularly useful for assessment as it not only helps teachers identify misspelled words but also identify if there are any trends in the mistakes such as phonemes ‘ei’, ‘ie’ etc..

Support materials description: Resources type:
The first high_frequency_words.pdf contains the high and medium frequency words as set out in the NLS. The majority of these words have been used in the spelling version of the activity.

The second interactive_multiplier.pdf has a large-scale 10 x 10 multiplication square suitable for printing out for use in the classroom. Alternatively, the worksheet, if printed on stiff paper, can be laminated and used with a dry-marker pen or even printed onto acetate for use with an OHP.

first high_frequency_words.pdf


Curriculum references
Mathematics - KS1:
Ma2 2a-c; 3a, c, d, e
Ma3 2b

English – KS1:
En2 1f, g

Mathematics - KS2:
Ma2 2a; 3a, d, e, f, h
Ma3 2b, d

English – KS2:
En2 1b

Mathematics - KS3:
Ma2 3a, g, i
Ma3 2k

English – KS3:
The resource can be used to support less able students in developing their sight vocabulary for high and medium frequency words (see KS1/2 curriculum references).

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