Inspiring “Izak9 Maths Day” in St. Ita’s Primary School

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Izak9 was designed specifically for pupils in upper primary and early secondary, to assist  them in coping with the transtion between the the two school phases, by helping them build a long lasting positive relationship with mathematics.

But more and more often we are hearing about senior primary school pupils wishing to share their experiences of using Izak9 with younger pupils in the school.

We received a phone call from St. Ita’s PS, Belfast. Initially, we thought the conversation was about accrediting one of their teachers: Francis Murphy, as an Izak9 Superuser, but it turned out that the school had another idea!

They wanted to run an “Izak9 Day” for all the pupils in the school.

We were delighted at the prospect and offered to visit the school and run a series of workshops for as many children as possible, over the course of one day.

The uptake and response from pupils and staff was remarkable!

“The IZAK9 day was fun because we got to test our mental maths skills and work as a team.”  Ashtyn

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The session with Primary 1 pupils proved to be great fun and hugely rewarding. The children played a ‘show me. show me’ game, where they had to identify/describe properties of the cubes they each had in their group. They also sorted and categorised cubes using criteria of their own, as well as solving some number based problems. Much craic was had.

“I liked the IZAK9 day because it is a great maths game that makes you think and have fun at the same time!”    Kane

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Primary 7 pupils were able to avail of an ‘Izak9 Trail‘ we set up in the school’s Assembly Hall. Nine Izak9 cube displays, each with an associated problem to solve, provided a relaxed and informal shared learning environment for pupils to work together in small groups at their own pace.

“The IZAK9 day was fun, I’d like to do it again and have a competition between classes.”  Nathaniel

During our visit, we took the opportunity of spending some quality time with two Primary 6 classes, with the pupils taking a deep dive into Prime Numbers, and showing exceptional resilience and commitment to successfully tackle some very high level problems. These involved extrapolating our ‘yellow circle’ prime number wall, to identify four consecutive prime numbers totalling 220!

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Our Team also took the chance to see latest Izak9 Superuser Francis Murphy in action, with his “Izak9 Managers” (pictured below with their badges) and the rest of his Primary 5 pupils. All were delighted to be present as he was registered as an Izak9 Superuser!

“IZAK9 has given the pupils in my class increased confidence in their mental maths lessons, as well as the ability to work as a team – bringing together all aspects of the TSPC. ”  F. Murphy

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Something else we were able to do with Primary 6 pupils, was work on one of our new pilot projects, involving combinations of existing Izak9 cubes and accompanying blanks. Each colour coded set of Izak9 cubes has its own associated set of blanks, which can be used for stretch activities. In the pic below, pupils are discussing what could be on the blank cube, under a range of specific data conditions.

“The IZAK9 day helped us think about how we can stretch our understanding even further! ”   Lily-May

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In the afternoon, Primary 4 pupils become totally absorbed in a problem solving session held in the school’s assembly hall, building, amongst other things, Total Poles, where each group of pupils was tasked with assembling columns of cubes with different totals presented on the top cube.

“I was shocked that we actually got to meet the person who created and made IZAK9 – that was cool!”  Hayden

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We also looked at expanding our Fraction Action wall by incorporating the blank cubes. Primary 6 pupils experimented with this and the Great Wall task. Outcomes of piloting tasks like these are fed back into our design process. We learned a lot from working with these pupils in St. Ita’s, especially around the challenges involved in visualising the less commonly used fractions and percentages.

“I think IZAK9 is great because we don’t have to use books or textbooks. We can take photographs that show what we are learning and explain what happened during that task. ”  Isabella

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“It was lots of fun trying lots of different tasks in teams.”  Kerry

As you can see, everyone had a great day, including ourselves. It is truly a rewarding experience to witness first hand how positively Izak9 is impacting on pupils’ and teachers’ relationship with and enthusiasm for, mathematics.

If you would like any more information about Izak9, maths training or events, please contact us using the link below

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