A Teacher’s Perspective on How Mangahigh Has Helped to Improve His Students’ Achievement In Math!
I work as a Mathematics Consultant for Rhos Street School in Ruthin, North Wales. We have set up a programme where Y3-6 MAT students come for sessions with me each week (following a half-termly timetable). These sessions involve work to extend their curriculum and to widen their understanding of maths through investigations, games and practical work. In Y6 for the last 3 years, we have followed a more formal curriculum, focussing on Level 6 work. This has led to 2 students achieving L6 2 years ago and 4 students last year. An integral part of our work is Mangahigh, for all students in KS2. Right now we are 64th in the UK and we have even been as high as the top ten over the summer, despite having not much more than 100 students! An Estyn (the Welsh equivalent of OFSTED) report commented on our MAT work: ‘Provision for more able pupils in … mathematics is exceptional. High quality, innovative arrangements are leading to very positive outcomes.’ The Inspectors who saw our provision saw Mangahigh in use.
We use Mangahigh in various ways. For all groups, I use MH to make sure there are as few gaps as possible in their ‘basics’. Jetstream Riders has become a firm favourite and we often use this as a whole-group warm up. As the students progress, I also use MH to give them experience of topics to come, which enables us to connect areas of maths together and see the patterns that abound. In Y3-5, the sessions can take different directions depending on what the students notice or discover. I can then set relevant MH tasks so that they can further explore & reinforce the topics that have arisen. In Y6 I set tasks to help embed their learning.
One of the most useful features of MH for me is the ease with which I can find the right activity to match what I want the student or students to practice. This makes setting additional work for them a quick job and also, if our exploration takes us in an unexpected direction, I can set tasks ‘on the hoof’ during classes. I also find that this works the other way around— a student tries an activity through browsing or a game, and then comes back to me with questions which we then use to look into new areas of maths.
The ‘Assessing Pupils’ Progress’ grids are useful both for showing students how MH is helping them to cover the range of material in the maths syllabus and also as evidence of their achievements which can go towards their learner profiles and in levelling.
For both the MAT groups and the whole school, MH has become an established part of students’ maths experience. In the 4 years since subscribing, students have achieved c.3,500 medals. This means roughly a medal per student per week. Medals don’t tell the whole story as there will be many attempts behind each medal and lots of games which haven’t led to medals. The games add so much to the MH experience – I even enjoy playing one or two of them myself! I feel that this is a really important part of MH – that it adds fun to students’ experience of maths. A positive feeling towards maths is so important in a world where adults are happy to boast of how poor they are at maths and how much they hate it!
In summary, Mangahigh has been an integral part of the MAT project at Rhos St School as well as supporting maths throughout the school. I thoroughly recommend it.
Words by Dominic Oakes