Numberblocks: materials to support Early Years and Year 1 teachers
Numberblocks, first broadcast in January 2017, is a pre-school BBC television series aimed at introducing children to early number.
Snappy animation and loveable characters combine with engaging storylines to gently introduce concepts of number to support early mathematical understanding.
The NCETM materials use each episode as a launch pad. They are designed to assist Early Years (and also Year 1) practitioners to confidently move on from an episode, helping children to bring the numbers and ideas to life in the world around them. https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/52060
The materials are designed to be used in conjunction with the Numberblocks episodes. They highlight and develop the key mathematical ideas that are embedded in the programmes. Each set of materials comes in the form of a PowerPoint file, and includes the following features:
The Practitioner Notes consist of three elements:
The episode description summarises the story and the key things that happen
The maths in the episode explains the key mathematical concepts that are featured in the episode
Using mathematical language – because it is important that practitioners model precise and correct mathematical language, there are suggestions of key sentences that you might use and have repeated; they provide a language structure to connect each mathematical idea to different contexts. Children will initially use their own language to talk about the mathematics, and will develop correct and precise language if this is modelled by adults.
Talk and Discuss Together provides a set of slides, designed to be used with children after they have watched the episode. They provide a stimulus to talk about what children have noticed, and draw their attention to key aspects of the mathematics. There are often notes for each slide, indicated by a blue dot in the bottom right-hand corner. The notes give ideas for supporting mathematical talk and engaging children in practical activity; some slides have animation to illustrate mathematical concepts.
Enabling Environments gives suggestions for extending the mathematics into the wider Early Years environment where children engage in meaningful activity and explore mathematical concepts.
Learning Together in Year 1 extends the mathematics into Y1. The slides are designed to be used within the context of whole class teaching for mastery.
BBC Numberblocks episodes are available on DVD from a number of online retailers: Vol 1 (Episodes 1-15) and Vol 2 (16-30). A few episodes are periodically available, in rotation, on the BBC iPlayer – but these won’t necessarily match the NCETM materials published so far; more materials are available on the CBeebies’ Numberblocks page.