Big Ideas Teaching Guide

Big Ideas Teaching Guide
This is a 12-week programme for students not reaching age-related expectations from Year 5 onwards. Written by a team of experts, headed up by Steve Chinn, it includes an initial assessment then active and practical activities on Place Value, adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing, Fractions, Working with fractions, decimals and percentages.
Accompanied by the Big Ideas Apparatus Pack similar to Apparatus Pack C

Numicon Big Ideas is a programme of additional sessions for small groups or individuals.

  • Focuses on key elements of the primary maths curriculum
  • Aimed at students not meeting age-related expectations in Years 5 (aged 10 upwards).
  • Lays the foundation for success at intermediate and secondary levels
  • Gives support for end-of-primary assessments.


  • Numicon is research-based and proven to have a significant and lasting impact on results.
  • Numicon Big Ideas includes an initial assessment and 48 step-by-step sessions across 5 key areas: Place Value, Adding and Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing, Fractions, and Working with Fractions, Decimals and Percentages.
  • The sessions are suitable for delivery by non-specialists and focus on strong re-teaching of key topics using an active, practical approach to support reasoning and mathematical conversation.
  • The Teaching Guide introduces the Numicon approach, provides a full explanation of how to implement the programme, and offers expert advice on how to make the sessions most effective.
  • Photocopy Masters to support the activities are included.
  • (The sessions are supported by the separate Numicon Big Ideas Apparatus Pack.)

Steve Chinn is well known as an expert in the area of catch up (and intervention, Special education needs.)
Big Ideas is NOT…
  • An intervention based on highly detailed diagnostic assessment (like NIP). It is quicker and therefore cannot be as rigorous. 
  • For Special education needs children who are behind and can be expected to catch up. 
  • Comprehensive… It can’t hope to cover the whole Levels 3 and 4 of the NZ curriculum, that’s why it focuses on the Big Ideas
  • A crash course for preliminary entrance tests… It lays the necessary foundations for children to approach tests with confidence, but they would still need to do revision and practise test questions (recommend the Numicon book!)
Supporting Videos will be on OWL and Oxford Secondary

Numicon Big Ideas is suitable for those pupils who have gaps in their understanding or have lost confidence in their ability to do mathematics.

The programme focusses on relearning and developing a secure understanding of essential number concepts from the earlier years that are the necesasary foundation for success at the next level.

Big Ideas comprises of a sequence of twelve units over twelve weeks broken into sessions.

Each unit builds upon ideas from the previous and it repeated in a spiral approach throughout the twelve weeks.  Students are able to consolidate their understanding using this approach.

It is important that the units are taught in sequence.

The topics chosen are taken from areas where students show the most difficulty in testing situations and application to real-life situations.

These are the essential building blocks that support students in making connections across all other areas of mathematics.  We as adults use these mathematical ideas in our everyday lives.

It is therefore, crucial that we give students the opportunity to master these concepts.

Unit 1: Familiarisation

Unit 2: Number and place value

Unit 7: Number and place value

Unit 3: Adding and subtracting

Unit 8: Adding and subtracting

Unit 4: Multiplying and dividing

Unit 9: Multiplying and dividing

Unit 5: Fractions

Unit 10: Fractions

Unit 6: Working with fractions, decimals and percentages

Unit 11: Working with fractions, decimals and percentages

Unit 12: Securing the learning

The programme is not designed to plug the gaps, but to help students secure their understanding of mathematical concepts to use them in everyday life and in testing situations. Making connections across the units is very important.

All students should particpate in all sessions.  This ensures that any misunderstandings that were not obvious in previous sessions are identified. Students have the opportunity to work through mastery of ideas through activities which vary and extend the contexts.

For students who have a negative view of maths, it is important that we given them a safe environment and time. It is important they over-learn and experience the feeling of being successful.  To support this, keep the groups the same working with the same teacher.  Education is all about relationships.

Students are encouraged to keep their complete Learning Logs so that they can refer back to them in their in-class lessons. They will also have a record of their own learning.

It is suggested that the teacher sit alongside them after the twelve-week programme to support them in their lessons, reminding them what they can do and how to use the Numicon resources to communicate their ideas.  This builds their confidence.

Regular reviews at four and eight weeks should be carried out to maintain learning.  You will find those students who need continued support.

Some aspects of maths are not covered.  These can be found in Numicon 5 and 6: integers, ratio, algebra, time, geometry and statistics.

Numicon Big Ideas Teaching Pack contents:

Big Ideas Programme Guide:

  1. Getting Started for you as the teacher/teacher aide
  2. Knowing the apparatus in the Big Ideas Apparatus Pack
  3. Online tracking and video support links
  4. Introducing Numicon
  5. Numicon Teaching materials
  6. How to use the Big Ideas
  7. Dr Steve Chinn: Principals of effective 'catch-up'.

Assessment A and B to use at the beginning and end of the programme.

Planning and Session Activities

Photocopy Masters

  • Cuisenaire Rods- One-to-one
    NZ$ 54.00 EA
    NZ$ 62.10 incl GST
    View / Add
  • Cuisenaire Rod Track
    NZ$ 21.00 EA
    NZ$ 24.15 incl GST
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  • Display Number Line
    NZ$ 26.00 EA
    NZ$ 29.90 incl GST
    View / Add
  • Numeral Cards
    NZ$ 22.00 EA
    NZ$ 25.30 incl GST
    View / Add
  • 10s Number Line
    NZ$ 10.00 EA
    NZ$ 11.50 incl GST
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  • Baseboard (1)
    NZ$ 10.00 EA
    NZ$ 11.50 incl GST
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  • Picture Overlays
    NZ$ 28.00 EA
    NZ$ 32.20 incl GST
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  • Pegs
    NZ$ 15.00 EA
    NZ$ 17.25 incl GST
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  • Feely Bag
    NZ$ 13.00 EA
    NZ$ 14.95 incl GST
    View / Add
  • Software for Interactive Whiteboard - multi user
    NZ$ 330.00 EA
    NZ$ 379.50 incl GST
    View / Add
NZ$ 305.00 excluding GST
NZ$ 350.75 including GST
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