Hand Gestures

Using karate-style moves to help pupils remember maths terms How karate style moves, such as chops and punches, are used in this primary numeracy class to represent maths operators like addition and division – an example of a research-backed technique to help reinforce learning of more abstract topics.

At Heather Primary School the year 3/4 teacher leads the class as they use a series of hand and arm gestures to emphasis the symbols for addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Pupils then use the moves when working on written maths problems. The technique can also be adapted to support literacy, with different gestures for punctuation marks. Philippa Cordingley, director of the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education, observes the lesson and explains that the technique makes learning more visible and physical which aids learning, especially when dealing with abstract problems.

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