Parent and Carer Guide


Welcome to the Parent and Carer guide to NRICH

As a parent or carer you're sure to be interested in your child's mathematical learning, and we know that we have many resources which will help. We’ve lots of problems and games designed to meet the needs of youngsters from 5 to 19, although we have just started to add activities at either end of that age range i.e. for the really young children and undergraduates.

To get the best out of our resources it's important to understand how they work. We aim to write rich resources. That means that while they are usually easy to understand, there's plenty of depth in them for a young mind to explore. Don't expect to find repetitive exercises on mathematical techniques here. We want your child to understand, and to begin to think about problems in the way a mathematician would.

Sometimes you'll want to discuss and think about a problem together. Sometimes it makes sense to be silent and let your child discover for themselves. Sometimes you'll be a student yourself - learning as you go. You'll find that the menus on NRICH are organised either for teachers or for students, but don't feel left out. As a parent or carer sometimes you'll be one, sometimes the other. Feel free to explore both.

Here's a quick guide to what's available:
o Problems
o Games
o Resources
o Exceptionally Mathematically Able 
o Research

About NRICH

The NRICH team are based at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University.
The project has a clear set of aims and the NRICH site is free to all users and is funded by a variety of philanthropic donors.

We communicate through our Facebook page and through Twitter and through our monthly newsletter.

Queries
If you have any queries or questions about finding what you need do email us at enquiries.nrich@maths.org.

Problems

Which problems to choose

A good starting point is the age of your child. Our problems are grouped into:
• lower primary:     age  5 – 8
• upper primary:     age  9 - 11
• lower secondary:  age 11- 14
• upper secondary:  age 15 -18

What do the stars mean?

All our problems are designed to get you and your child thinking and offer lots of opportunities to extend that thinking. We like to start with a basic task. The stars tell you how easy we think that basic task is from easy (one star) to very challenging (three stars).

Solutions

As you explore our site you’ll notice that our problems have solutions sent in by students from all around the world. Do encourage your youngster to have a look to see how their solution compares with others, particularly in terms of explanation and elegant method.

Send us a solution to a newly-published problem

At any time you visit the site we will be featuring several Collections – groups of problems and games with a common theme - and a small number of problems from each of those will be Open for Solutions. We don't include solutions to problems when they are first published but we do encourage students to send us their solutions. We edit and publish extracts from them later. The closing date for these will be advertised and we will collate the entries and publish them shortly after the closing date. To find out more about what happens after you submit a solution read our article about this. 

Low Threshold, High Ceiling
This approach of starting with a basic task and then having lots of opportunities to extend your thinking we call Low Threshold, High Ceiling. Our article tells you more about this approach. 

Games

Games are enjoyable to play and offer a great way of developing logical thought and strategic thinking.

We have some games that can be played against the computer such as Got it! and some that are two player games to play with a partner such as Achi.

Can your youngster become a champion Achi player? It can be a stimulating challenge to try and find a winning strategy for a game and see if you can become a champion.

You may like to look at our games collection or type ‘games’ into our search engine to find other games not in this collection.  Try our Going for Games article if you would like to find out more about why we use games to support children's mathematical learning. 

Resources

Poster collection
Have a look at our collection of posters with intriguing challenges on them that you may like to explore with your child. 

Games collection 
Try our Games from Around the World collection to develop strategic thinking and winning strategies. 

Topic collection 
If you are looking for resources under a particular topic then try the search by topic button or take a look at the curriculum mapping documents. 

Exceptionally Mathematically Able 


Who do we mean when we are talking about the exceptionally mathematically able?
These children are those few at the top end of the ability spectrum. They may not necessarily be the high achievers in school. This may be because they are bored, unwilling to stand out as being different, or perhaps have a specific learning disability, such as dyslexia, which prevents them from accessing the whole curriculum. They are often the children who enjoy the novel and the new and trying to make sense of it - 'the joy of banging your head against a mathematical wall, and then discovering that there may be ways of either going around or over that wall' Schoenfeld (1994)

Being the parent or carer of an exceptionally mathematically able child brings its rewards and, sometimes, frustrations. If you are a highly competent mathematician yourself, then you may enjoy sharing the beauty and rigour of maths with your child. If you're not, how can you support them in a constructive way? We offer ideas on how to support these children at all stages. 

Research
You may be interested to know about a research project entitled "Everyday Maths", working with parents of Year 3/4 children in 20 Bristol primary schools.  The project is being run by Bristol University from February 2013.  Read this article to find out more.