An Aveley Primary Blog

Sweets?! It’s not Halloween JUST yet Miss Stephenson! – Yes, but when we’re working hard (and they can help us in our learning) sweets can play an important role in our progress..

1S ended their first half term with the same fabulous enthusiasm that has underpinned all of the learning we have kept you updated on.. While you have accompanied us throughout our literacy and topic learning – all the way from the Kalahari to the North Pole – I’m sure many of you are keen to hear about what we’ve been getting up to in Maths..


Lots of you might be tempted to switch off or stop reading at the mention of the dreaded ‘m’ word.. But stop right there!! Here in 1S we have put any thoughts we used to have about maths (as ‘boring‘ or ‘difficult‘) to the side, and now love looking at numbers!..

Take a look at our ‘maths acrostic‘ (alongside our maths work below) and you’ll soon be persuaded that maths really is marvelous!..

m    MEAN? Sometimes feel like maths can be mean by tricking you with new concepts? Not quite – in 1S we see maths as MAGICAL!

aALONE? Think that maths involves tackling number problems all on your own? not in 1S! In our class we’ve been working ALTOGETHER to develop our number knowledge.

tTESTS? Think maths is full of testing and questions? Wrong again! In 1S we’ve been using our fantastic TEAMWORK to enjoy a range of different TASKS – even involving a bit of acting to help us!

LetterHHARD? Although at times we might think something is hard before we start, we have been using all sorts of pictures, objects, and songs to HELP us to embrace challenges.

s_is_for_snake_poster_460_0SERIOUS? Absolutely not.. Maths is great fun and can even be SILLY.. Even involving fun with SWEETS!!


Now that we’ve shown you what fun we think maths can be I’m sure you’re intrigued to see what we’ve been doing to have such fun with maths this week…

Well, having spent some time getting used to addition, we turned our attention to SUBTRACTION.

This began with us acting, singing and drawing speckled frogs jumping off a log.

We used the speckled frog song to begin our work on subtraction. As we sang this, we took frogs (or compare animals) from a line of 5 (their log) which we shared with our talk partners and made them ‘jump’ into class pond in the middle of our maths circle.

Confused? Take a look at us in action:

“5 little speckled frogs,

Sat on a great big log,

Eating the most delicious bugs (yum yum!)”

Here are the class frogs, about to lose 1. They are next to our ‘class pond’ into which every pair has put their first frog, while singing:

“1 jumped into the pool,

Where it was nice and cool,

Then there were 4 specked frogs”

And so we continued..


…Until we had no (0) frogs left!

This helped us to understand what happens when you subtract (or take away) ONE.

Take a look at the number sentences we wrote to record our activity:




Once we understood the concept of subtracting 1, we moved away from our speckled frogs and on to… jelly beans!!!

We told you maths was fun!

Here is how we used jelly beans to help us create (and work out the answers to) subtraction number sentences:

  • First we wrote the number sentence (e.g. 5 – 2 = )
  • Then we read our number sentence out loud (being careful to interpret the different symbols correctly!)
  • Then we counted out the number of jelly beans the number sentence told us to start with (the first number) and circled these once we had carefully laid them out.
  • After that we ate the number of jelly beans the number sentence told us to take away. Once we had subtracted these (yum yum!), we crossed out the circles that were left behind.

  • Finally, we counted how many were left and wrote this number (our answer) on the other side of the equals sign.

Once we had done this we could read aloud our complete number sentence, and (after a few questions from Miss Stephenson about our calculations!) we ate up the remaining jelly beans. 🙂

Take a look at us doing this sweet subtraction:



I bet you never thought maths could be SUCH fun?!

Have a go at creating your own subtraction number sentences as you tuck in to you Halloween sweeties next weekend! 

How many will you start with? 

How many are you going to eat (take away) at a time?

How many does that leave you with?

I’m sure you’re all excited to hear about the learning underpinning our interesting display table involving a globe alongside some colourful calendars of Africa… Don’t worry, we won’t make you wait any longer! Here is an insight into our learning challenge that has been driving our topic work…

Our learning challenge question is: ‘Why Can’t Meerkats Live in the North Pole?’

This might seem a rather odd – maybe even slightly random – thing for us to be asking, here at Aveley (where we don’t have any meerkats around us and are based many many miles away from the North Pole!!).

But don’t you worry, despite what it might initially seem, this question is extremely relevant to our learning!

This is because, our new fiction focus is Emily Gravett’s ‘Meerkat Mail’. This gripping story follows the journey of ‘Sunny’ the meerkat, who leaves his home in the Kalahari Desert to discover whether the grass is greener on the other side, by packing his suitcase and exploring a number of other places.

But (spoiler alert!) Sunny realises that there’s no place like home: His home in the Kalahari Desert is the place that suits him best..

This challenge question was therefore something that we are all extremely curious to explore, so that we can discover more about the hot environment that Sunny comes from – and why it is “perfect” for him – but also the contrasting environment of the North Pole and why Sunny might not be able to live there..

In our literacy work, as well as producing some fantastic writing based on the story (which we will share with you later!), we used actions to create a whole-class recall of the story (we didn’t have to look at the book to remind us what happens once!).. While Joanne made a very confident, adventurous Sunny, we all narrated the story together and took turns being different characters that Sunny comes across.

Here we are recalling the story:


We also did some hot-seating to help us explore character thoughts and feelings.. Here are some of us being Sunny:

 While our literacy has been closely following this fictional story, out topic has enabled us to explore some of the FACTS.

We know that Sunny lives in the “Kalahari Desert”, so we began by finding out where this is. Have a guess – where do you think the Kalahari Desert is located? Do you think it is a hot or cold environment?

We discovered that the Kalahari is in South Africa. We even now know that this is a CONTINENT (land which is made up of many different COUNTRIES).

Discovering that this is a HOT environment (even hotter than our summer holidays here!), we have explored this climate as geographers, scientists and artists, by looking at:

1. What clothes we wear in hot environments.


2. What animals can be found in hot environments (helped by several sing-alongs to “The Lion King”‘s ‘Circle of Life’!)

3. What colours create a “hot mood”.

We thought about textures and shapes while we made our own ‘hot Africas’ by colouring, painting and collaging:



4. The difference between an African hut and our own homes in England.

5. Where in the world hot places are located.
This has led us to think about what happens as we move away from the EQUATOR and the temperature starts to drop..

Now we know lots about where meerkats do live.. Time to start exploring the North Pole and why they can’t live there…