Primary Maths

Anyone can feed sweets to sharks...

By: Nick Tiley-Nunn


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 180 x 148mm
Pages : 240
ISBN : 9781781351352
Format: Paperback
Published: September 2014

Primary maths is stereotypically loved by a few hairy oddballs, tolerated by most sane primary practitioners; loathed by many. With the right approach, however; the right mindset and sense of the impossible being achievable, maths can be moulded into the diamond in the rough of the primary curriculum.

Enter Nick Tiley-Nunn: Britain's most imaginative, most exciting primary maths specialist.

Over years of practice he has generated ideas about the teaching of maths that are so distinct, so far out and so utterly brilliant that any primary teacher struggling to grasp the nettle of teaching long division will emerge from communing with his ideas not just with some clichéd sense that maths can be fun', but that it can be brilliant, life-enhancing and truly hilarious. This book presents ideas for primary maths teaching so wildly creative and so full of the joy of life that any classroom of kids will be grateful you read it.

Topics covered include: numeracy, creativity, geometry, addition, division, subtraction, multiplication, four operations, calculation, algebra, measurement, statistics, data handling.

Picture for author Nick Tiley-Nunn

Nick Tiley-Nunn

Nick Tiley-Nunn is a primary school head teacher, having previously been Assistant Head and SENCo at a school in London. He has been described as 'A nationally significant talent at maths teaching.-


  1. I think most parents cringe when you say upper elementary and secondary math. They go straight to Algebra and Geormetry and shriek in horror. But there is more to it than that. There are the basics, the adding, multiplication, factoring and fractions. And that is the core of this book. Nick has some really great ideas for getting kids to learn, versus just memorizing math facts that they can actually state later, versus giving you a confused look! If you are homeschooling, then this book would be super to have before starting first grade math, so you have an idea how to start your kids off on the right mathematical footing, so that Algebra and Geometry don't make THEM scream and cringe! 

  2. This is an energetic read which aims to invigorate the teaching of Maths within a Primary setting. The book mainly contains creative and interesting approaches to introduce new concepts, as well as ideas for games and activities to reinforce prior learning. Much of the book relates to the person'­al experience of the author and is full of anecdotes and humour.

    This book advocates a fun and active approach to teaching maths and could be an invaluable source of inspiration, particularly for student teachers and those new to the profession. It promotes a particular ideology which challenges the traditional view of how maths could be taught and so is the perfect intro'­duction for students who may be unaware of unconventional approaches. 

    The author emphasises the importance of tailor-making resources to each class and whilst this is good practice, some of the suggestions require significant pre'­paration and so, whilst they may be fun and entertaining they are not the most time effective lessons and are therefore unlikely to be used in reality. However, there are also many simple and ingenious ideas included in the book which could be easily incorporated into any classroom.
    Although much of the book is enjoy'­able to read, it is not a book which is easy to use as a point of reference. The anec'­dotes and.quotes are entertaining but the lesson suggestions and explanations are lengthier than necessary which makes retrieving the information for the purpose of actually using it in a lesson rather difficult. For this reason, I would suggest that this book is more useful as a launch'­pad for teachers to take a more creative approach to their teaching rather than as a resource to dip in and out of on a reg'­ular basis. It should be recommended to both new and experienced teachers.

  3. This book presents a plethora of distinctive and creative ideas for primary maths teaching. These practical approaches can bring the spark back to lessons of the often-unpopular but crucial subject.

  4. Reading the foreword to this book by the renowned Phil Beadle makes it clear that Nick Tiley-Nunn is no ordinary teacher. Being described by someone who made teaching cool by doing it on TV as possibly the best teacher in the world, and certainly the best seen by Mr Beadle himself, is a pretty big thing - at least in my humble opinion. It also means there's a lot of expectation about the contents of this book. Can this world beating teacher deliver and tell me things, after 20 years of working in primary schools, that will make me rush to school on Monday morning desperate to teach maths? Let's see.The introduction is, well, interesting - I know, I said -˜interesting' about a maths book! There's some reference to maths but a large amount of this section covers areas of problem solving (without mentioning sweets), resilience and creativity. It is clear how Nick's approach to maths is applicable to learning in general and I'm interested but then, right at the end, he drops in -˜SHINE' (you'll have to read the book to see what it stands for!) and I'm hooked. I might even be slightly excited. I know! -˜Excited' about a maths book!

    So, I'm 8 pages in and already I've got a number of activities I can take directly and use with learners. I've also met a narcissistic race of Evens and a greedy crocodile...and more and more great ideas and approaches for learning keep coming. In fact, the remainder of the book is a throbbing, gooey mass of maths joyousness. Every section of the primary maths curriculum is covered; each in a consistent style of inspiring activities and Nick's jovial, humourous approach. Don't be fooled. Nick never takes his eye off challenging our learners to get the best outcomes possible; it's just that he finds the most inspiring and interesting ways to do it.

    There is only one regret I have from reading this book. I wish my own maths teachers had been like this. In fact, I wish the 1000s of maths lessons I've taught over my 20 years had been like this. 

    I have no doubt that many more children would leave primary school with a love and fascination for maths if every passionate primary teacher had this book. This book is an essential addition to any staffroom or teacher's library; it could even change a generation's perception of maths. 

    Read this book and you won't need the foreword to realise that Nick Tiley-Nunn is clearly no ordinary teacher. Fortunately for teachers and children alike he has chosen to share some of what makes him the teacher he is and I for one will be a better professional for it.

  5. An easy-read creative little maths book.

    Nick's approach is to make maths memorable. This includes using sugar sharks to explain division, greedy crocodiles to look at equations and developing dance routines to understand algebra. Maths need never be dull and irrelevant to children again.

    Yet the book is not a collection of gimmicky activities. Throughout the book, Nick offers wee gems of advice about teaching maths concepts based on years of practical front-line experience. I particularly liked the step-by-step approach to fractions. It doesn't involve pizza. Using lengths of string and moving onto practical experience of halving objects, the vocabulary and development of understanding is carefully explained. From here, the fraction of shapes is practised. Finally Nick advocates that children learn about more complex fraction work through the use of a blank 10x10m grid in the playground which makes the ideal link to decimals and percentages.

    The level of rigour underpinning each chapter is appropriate and there are many helpful reminders to the readers such as the need to consider the wider mathematical picture beyond numeracy. I found the mix of mathematical investigations such as exploring Pascal's Triangle, along with the teaching of specific concepts, a good balance.

    All-in-all, this is an excellent book that will be of value to all student teachers and any primary teacher wishing to revamp their maths practice. My copy is already well-thumbed and my repertoire of mathematical jokes has broadened too-¦!
  6. Nick is the best teacher I know. In his book he carefully describes how to weave together the basics with a creative problem-solving style that allows all children to enjoy mathematics, make genuine progress and experience success. This book will become a must-have for any staff-room and gives you the chance to dip into his ideas and creative thinking. From the Functionator to Feeding the Crocodiles to the Division Bus, Nick's teaching ideas will bring joy to any classroom of children.
  7. What a wonderful book this is. So much common sense and many imaginative ways to capture the interest of children for the more dreary mathematical topics. It has the perfect balance of rigour and story to provide a more enriching mathematical experience for young learners.

    I use to wonder how Nick used to teach such outstanding lessons and finally I have a book detailing all his secrets.
  8. A myriad of creative approaches to mathematics which can be implemented directly or give inspiration to develop our own ideas (in Maths, and indeed, across all subject areas). I devoured this book and all the lively ideas within, like the steak eating crocodile Nick describes. Even better, this is an authentic account of how Nick teaches and if you have never seen a teacher dressed up as a Division Bus, now is the time...
  9. As someone whose own experiences of primary school maths could certainly be described as 'beige', I found this book to be both refreshing and invigorating. Nick Tiley-Nunn interweaves his passion for primary maths teaching, his belief in its relevance to our 'real' lives, and hands-on practical activities in this energising tome that would no doubt make even the most battle-weary of maths teachers want to chuck out their worksheet and re-plan for Monday morning. Nick Tiley-Nunn draws upon various current educational priorities in creating this recipe for primary maths teaching, including the importance of creativity in education (from which maths is not exempt!), the need to develop resilient learners, the essential nature of problem-solving in maths education, and the fundamental importance of developing a sound number sense at an early age.

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