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Wigan students transform into rocking robots for National Numeracy Day

16 May 2024

The countdown to National Numeracy Day is officially on, which means only one thing: we’re on the road!

To kick off our calendar of events, we visited Parbold Douglas CE Academy in Wigan.

Student from Parbold Douglas CE Academy dressed as a robot

Celebrity ambassador leads rap battle

Joining forces with our Lead Delivery Partner, Maths Circle, we headed north with our ambassador, world poetry champion Harry Baker, to deliver a robots, rockstars, and maths-themed rap/poetry battle.

Harry Baker on stage at the school

Linking maths and music with Times Tables Rock Stars & NumBots

At National Numeracy, we understand the value of early engagement with numbers. It’s not just about making the subject less intimidating for children but also about showing them how numbers are an integral part of our daily routines.

The children dressed up as their favourite Times Tables Rock Stars and NumBots, bringing us the ultimate poetry and rap showdown. Our ambassador, Harry, led the session with the children and explained that poetry and rap have much more in common with numbers than expected.

Students from the school on stage dressed up as TTRockstars

Harry's top tips for performing your own number rap

Harry has created a brand-new rap and poetry activity for National Numeracy Day, so you too can create your own number rap! These are his tips for feeling confident and comfortable when sharing yours:

  1. Practise reading the poem to an adult. Just like maths, sharing your problem with someone else can help you think it through.
  2. Engage with the audience and ensure you look at them, not the floor. It's important to feel confident about what we're doing, whether it's feeling like we can tackle a maths question or perform a rap!
  3. Take a deep breath before you start, and don’t worry about being nervous; it shows you care. It’s okay to feel nervous, anxious, or worried. These are normal feelings, and we can experience them when it comes to maths too.
  4. Take your time and speak clearly to give people the best possible chance to hear your wonderful words. Whether you're writing a poem or working with numbers, remember to take your time - you don't need to rush.
  5. Remember that everyone wants you to do well. You can focus on a friendly face to cheer you on if you need encouragement. Writing and performing poetry - just like maths - is a skill we can develop over time. Ability isn't fixed - it's all about feeling confident and believing in yourself.
  6. Experiment with voice and sound to reflect the ideas in the poem. Think about it like a maths problem—it's okay to try again, make mistakes, and have another go if you need to.
  7. Think about what actions you need to take to perform the poem or rap. It might help to consider adding actions after you've written the words. Break it down into small, bite-sized chunks—it works with maths, and it'll work here, too!
  8. Share how you feel about numbers and maths. Talking about how you feel about maths with other people is important as it helps us all feel better about numbers and more confident about using them in everyday life.
Students on stage and in the audience

Interactive and downloadable, check out the video and activities. They're a great way to help children learn maths in a fun, engaging way, whether they’re at home or taking part with school friends in the classroom.

Get your resources

Bruno Reddy, CEO and Founder at Maths Circle Ltd, said:

“Maths Circle create award-winning maths learning platforms (Times Tables Rock Stars and NumBots) for schools, tutors, and families, which help children acquire fundamental numeracy skills. Our mission is to make maths fun whilst improving maths outcomes, which is why we are delighted to support the great work of National Numeracy. It's a super exciting year as we join forces with the legendary Harry Baker, merging his passion for poetry and numbers with our mission to make maths engaging and accessible. Together, we're paving the way for an innovative collaboration that promises to make this year's National Numeracy Day truly exceptional.”

Students doing maths while dressed as rockstars

For even more number fun, play Bot Bingo

Bot Bingo provides another way for children to improve their maths skills and confidence whilst having fun with numbers.

Suitable for ages five and upwards, Bot Bingo uses subitising—the ability to recognise small quantities of objects without counting—to build core maths skills. Numbers in the game are shown in familiar pictorial representations, and children need to recognise the number before finding it on their Bot Bingo card.

Interactive and downloadable, Bot Bingo is a brilliant way to help children learn maths in a fun, engaging way, whether at home or playing with school friends in the classroom.

Want to have a go? Visit the National Numeracy Day children's hub now.

Try Bot Bingo