Now the first company to contact me (literally within ten minutes of putting out my request for Maths things to review on Twitter) was James from Number Stacks. Less than 7 days later I had a package arrive in the post. I would call it an unboxing…but it’s in a bag so it’s and unbarring video!
At last, it’s not a Carol… It’s James Aylott, from Number Stacks. James was a primary school teacher and Headteacher before developing this resource to support his own daughter who was struggling with maths.
Do you have a modern version of Connect 4? Well, imagine taking the discs that you use to play, adding in a few more colours and sticking on some numbers and you have the basics of Number Stacks. Counters that stack but don’t wibble and wobble over. Add in some mini whiteboards, a dry wipe pen (OK – it’s sold it to me already) and some number cards and we have a decent little kit for developing number skills. But what do I do with it? There’s no instruction manual!
Number Stacks has an accompanying website and series of videos that explain how to use it in different ways. Of course, in the video review you’ll see me doing what most of us do…opening it and having a good play; tying to work out how I would have blended this resource into my everyday teaching and support! James’ teaching videos are far more professional than mine – he has a tidy desk for starters!
This resource goes beyond developing number bonds and counting and begins to explore place value in far more depth; especially that concept that children really struggle with ‘exchanging’. I was able to quickly work out how I could use this for place value, addition, subtraction and even exploring decimals.
The website subscription gives access to the placement tests which determine where a student should start and what activities would be suitable. The questions on the assessment follow a similar format to the ones that we used to have when the Numeracy strategy was first introduced (yes, I’ve been teaching that long!) And I quite honestly enjoyed being blasted back a couple of decades. It reinforced the fact that whilst how we deliver might have changed, the content is still the same (just possibly shifted down a few year groups!)
The website has activities and games to play and not all of the games require the contents of the Number Stacks kit which had me pleasantly surprised.
Number Stacks is available from: https://www.numberstacks.co.uk/