Big Maths Characters and Phrases

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Big Maths Characters and Phrases

Our key message is to keep it simple, keep it fun! To help with this, we created friendly characters and terms to help children relate to, and understand more easily what they are learning and doing.

This section of the website describes some of the characters and terms that you might encounter as you support your children. If we can help, please contact us.

PIM the alien Image

Pim is an alien from the planet CLIC.

Pim has 3 arms on one side and 4 arms on the other side. He has 7 arms in total. Pim also has 3 legs and 4 legs, so he must have 7 legs. He has 3 ears and 4 ears, 3 nostrils and 4 nostrils, and he has 3 eyes and 4 eyes. So, as soon as children know ‘3 add 4 equals 7’, we can easily help them to realise that this applies to all ‘things’. In other words 3 things and 4 things are 7 things.

Pim is always fun and friendly. So once children accept Pim’s 3+4=7 (arms, eyes etc), they easily accept that it must be true for other ‘Learn Its’ facts. If ‘2 add 3 equals 5’ then we can use Pim to communicate that 2 add 3 will always be 5, no matter what ‘the thing’ is.

Squiggleworth is Pim’s Pet!

Squiggleworth is Pim’s pet and he can be used to help children have fun while they practice partitioning numbers.

Each of the 10 digits (0 – 9) and each of the 26 letters in our alphabet are just squiggles on a bit of paper. They are marks that don’t have any value in themselves. We learn to attach meaning to these squiggles and not to others. We have to help children attach the same meaning to each squiggle so that when children see the squiggle ‘4’, they think ‘four’ as a word and think of the amount that is ‘four’! There are a number of steps that help children to learn the value of squiggles (place value) and Squiggleworth is there to make it friendly and fun. The 3 segments on Squiggleworth’s body are for the digits of numbers to be written in, using his feet to show the number of zeros after each.

Squiggleworth thumb
Pom example

Pom is an alien, he lives with Pim on the planet CLIC.

Pom helps children to learn 4 key mathematical words: multiple, factor, square and prime. With Pom’s help, these words can be learnt easily.

Pom provides a fun framework for presentation. Put the product (answer) number in his tummy, then the factors can be recorded on the end of his body parts.

1 and the product itself (i.e. the number in question from his tummy) should be recorded in each eye. Always write these two factors first, always in their special place.

Then any pair of factors that are discovered are written as a pair at the end of each arm. Check that each pair multiplied together equal the number in Pom’s tummy.

If the number has a Square Root, this goes in his tail!

Count Fourways is an intergalactic traveller!

The ‘four ways’ are counting in 1s, 2s, 5s and 25s. Here we introduce the children to another Big Maths character, called Count Fourways. He is called Count Fourways since the children simply learn to count out loud in four crucial ways. Each of these four ways is built upon progressively and in alignment with the children’s developing understanding of place value.

Count Fourways thumb
Mully thumb

Mully Multiple

Meet ‘Mully Multiple’! He is known as Mully for short. Mully likes to explore and to hide. He likes to hide behind the biggest multiple of a number he can find.

‘Where’s Mully?’ is a Big Maths game, the objective is to find where Mully is hiding. It extends children’s knowledge of multiples and how known multiples can be added to other known multiples to find new multiples. Children playing ‘Where’s Mully?’ are actually learning to become proficient at division!

Smile Multiplication

As children begin to multiply multiples of 10, 100 etc. the zeros can look very complicated. Smile Multiplication simplifies this, reminding them to ‘do the tables bit’, count the zeros, then put the zeros on the answer. A lot easier!

Smile Multiplication works for decimals as well, ask your teacher for some guidance or contact us.

Smile Multiplication
Coin Multiplication

Coin Multiplication

Coin Multiplication helps children to find multiples of numbers quickly and easily! It is a process that children can be skilfully coached in to ensure that they can see deep relationships between numbers and operations…as well as find correct answers!

Take a number (usually a 2d number) and then find the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 20th, 50th, and 100th multiples of that number. (If the 200th multiple is included as well then that is all of the denomination of coins that we use.) Children are shown how all of these multiples can be found simply by:

  • multiplying by 10,
  • halving and
  • doubling.

Read more.

Fact Families

Fact Families show children a very pure form of ‘It’s Nothing New’, in other words, ‘Now we know this, we must also know this, this and this.’ Children do not need to learn all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts with instant recall, they just need to learn 1d/1d facts for addition and multiplication along with one other thing… the Fact Family concept. If they know the addition or multiplication fact, they automatically know the subtraction and division facts.

Thinking of Fact Families as ‘Fact Family Triangles’ gets children closer to establish the lightning-fast connections between 3 numbers.

Read more here:

Fact Triangles