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:
The NRICH team is 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.
Which problems to choose
A good starting point is the age of your child. Our problems are grouped into:
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 accessible (one star) to very challenging (three stars).
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 method.
Send us a solution to a newly-published problem
At any time you visit the site we will have several current features – groups of problems and games, perhaps with one or two articles, around 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.
We have adapted a selection of our primary tasks and games so they can be tackled by just one child working with an adult, hence the name For Two.
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 Nim-7.
Can your youngster become a champion Nim-7 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 Strategy Games Feature and why not read our Going for Games article if you would like to find out more about why we use games to support children's mathematical learning.
Have a look at our collection of posters with intriguing challenges on them that you may like to explore with your child.
If you are looking for resources under a particular topic then try our collections of tasks, 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.