‘Matapas’, an exciting and unique Mental Maths resource was launched recently as part of a joint project between the Department of Education Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills, Republic of Ireland. Working together, teachers and advisory officers in partnership with C2k and Irish Medium Education (IME), created a support programme and suite of resources known as ‘Matapas’.
Matapas, the main character and his sea-based friends, guides the children through a range of strategies that can assist with developing the children’s abilities to compute maths mentally. Matapas represents the multiple strategies that are employed to enhance fluidity, flexibility and fluency in mental thought and processing - the skills needed to develop strong number sense.
Speaking at the event, Majella Mhic Cionnaith, EA Advisory Teacher, said: “It is hoped that the approaches and activities contained within the Matapas programme will provide children with opportunities to further develop their capacity for mathematical thinking and language learning, thereby ensuring they will be more confident when working with numbers in real life situations. I envisage Matapas not so much as a finite product but rather as a stimulus for teachers to tap into their own creativity to develop additional mental maths resources in the future”.
Matapas is pupil-friendly, colourful and engaging. Early trials with children and teachers have demonstrated its appeal to promote successful learning. Cáit UíRiain (participating teacher), commented: “having used this programme with my pupils, in the learning support setting, I am delighted with how they enjoyed solving problems using the strategies that are clearly explained beforehand. I look forward to seeing Matapas reaching a wider audience. Teachers will be impressed and satisfied with its easy-to-use format”.
Clare Ó Loughlin (participating teacher), explained: “Teachers were impressed by the whole concept of characters to teach mental maths. They found it so child-friendly that they feel it is an area everyone will look forward to teaching.”
The Matapas programme and materials is available to all teachers working in Irish Medium Schools in Northern Ireland on the C2k Fronter educational webpage.