A little while back I was contacted by RIC Publishing who asked me if I would be interesting in reviewing one of their new Maths Boxes. Last year I received a free sample of the Level 1 box and was eager to see more of this new series of resources that they’re releasing. As with all my reviews, my thoughts and opinions are my own. I’ve also tried to include a few ways that I plan on using this resource in my classroom.
The Maths Box Series is an Australian Curriculum-aligned resource for Years 1-6. The boxes themselves retail for $275 per box and include two copies of 75 task cards (for a total of 150 cards), two copies of 75 answers cards and a teachers guide.
Each task card is colour-coded and numbered:
- (Blue) Number and Algebra – Number and Place Value (26 cards)
- (Red) Number and Algebra – Fractions and Decimals (8 cards)
- (Green) Number and Algebra – Money and Financial Mathematics (4 cards)
- (Purple) Number and Algebra – Patterns and Algebra (6 cards)
- (Orange) Measurement and Geometry – Using Units of Measurement (15 cards)
- (Dark Blue) Measurement and Geometry – Shape (3 cards)
- (Yellow) Measurement and Geometry – Location and Transformation (5 cards)
- (Black) Statistics and Probability – Chance (4 cards)
- (Brown) Statistics and Probability – Data Representation and Interpretation (4 cards)
The front side of each card provides a stimulus material while the back of each card has questions pertaining to the stimulus material. The cards are very graphic and colourful and include a range of illustrations and photos depending on the subject. They’re a thick, laminated card for durability.
The Teacher’s Guide includes specific links to Australian Curriculum outcomes as well as Proficiency Strands (understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning) for each task card. There are explanations on how to use the cards, possible tasks, student and teacher tracking sheets, and materials required for individual tasks. There are full-colour mini posters for different topics, such as counting on, coins, shapes, etc. There are additional BLM resource sheets that can be copied to be used in conjunction with the task cards, too. There’s also a collected list of answers and a glossary for teacher use, too.
There’s a lot to like about these task cards – they’re easy to use, easy to pull out, easy to implement. They’re bright, colourful and appealing to young students. Some of those things can also be a negative – sometimes too much colour or too many graphics can be distracting for young learners, however, these are not really tasks I would leave my students to use on their own.
That said, here’s how I plan to use them:
Idea #1: These would make great early finisher’s tasks for students who are confident readers and don’t need lots of teacher assistance – the visuals and the answer cards mean they can use them independently and check their answers. Alternatively, you could pair students up to work on these (with a highly capable child with someone who needs a bit more assistance).
Idea #2: Assessment check-up. Depending on the skills you’re covering in the classroom, you might pull out a task that covers those areas and use those questions to check your students’ understanding during individual conferencing. With two copies of each task card, the student can have one in front of them and the teacher can have one for the questions.
Idea #3: A variation on the second idea, have a parent helper (or an older buddy) work with individual students to practise different maths skills. Again, use the two copies of each card.
As a Foundation teacher with students who are already achieving end of Foundation benchmarks in maths, a box like this is great for extension, too, and I know some of my students will enjoy these activities.
Overall I think this is another quality resource that teachers can definitely add to their maths arsenal, and I do look forward to using it with my students in the future.