By Patrick Barmby; Lynn Bilsborough; Tony Harries; S J Higgins; et al

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We will examine each of these in terms of how they There are four broad classes of addition differ from one another. Fuson (1992) idenand subtraction problems: change, tified a number of characteristics that we can combine, compare and equalize look at, the first being whether the problem is problems. e. involves some proposed action) or is a ‘static’ situation. Secondly, is the problem a unary situation, where one quantity is added on to give an answer? This is as opposed to binary situations where two distinct quantities are 24 P R I M A R Y M AT H E M AT I C S brought together in a problem.

Fuson (1988) details the patterns of mistakes that occur during this stage, such as ‘skim’ and ‘flurry’ errors where children either skim over objects and do not say enough counting words or produce a flurry of words as they point to an object or objects. Skim errors result in a count which is smaller than the set counted, whereas with flurry errors the child’s total is greater than what is being counted. A further difficulty can arise in keeping track of the objects being counted, particularly if the collection of items is disordered or in a random arrangement, with the result that some objects are missed out or counted twice.

To promote this, they should be encouraged to explore connections between them rather than just learning and using the correct vocabulary, for communicating mathematically (with numbers) is more than this. So it is not sufficient to adorn the classroom with words associated with number as part of the displays; the teacher needs to ask the children questions, encouraging them to communicate and explain their reasoning through the skilful use of appropriate questions that offer a range of answers and so promote discussion.

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