“These are the best years of your life.”, self assuring words spruiked by many a parent and teacher to seven-year old students who do not need reassurance after remembering their potty training years. They have just cruised through the first two years of primary school, they know all the numbers, the alphabet and can write their name; what else is there to learn?
Year 3 is where many young students realise their world will never be the same again. It is during this year they discover numbers do not stop at 1,000 but continue all the way to 10,000 and they have to know their order, place value, and be able to recognise if they are odd or even! Not only that but there are numbers smaller than one that no-one told them about as they are introduced to the fractions 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, and 1/5.
When learning the multiplication table by heart for 2, 3, 5 and 10 no-one warned them about having to manage multiplying a two digit number by a single digit number, without a smart phone. In fact, they are expected to develop strategies to perform addition and subtraction in their head (mental maths). Counting on, regrouping and partitioning are all strategies employed to perform mental maths.
It is during this year our students are introduced to metric measurement. I hear very few complaints from students in our tuition centre about learning measurements. I simply remind them that learning 1,000 metres equals one kilometre is much easier than remembering there are 1,760 yards to a mile, 22 yards to a chain, or 16 ounces to a pound.
Yes, there is a lot to learn in Year 3 (and this is only maths) and yes, these may be the best years of their life because Year 5 is ahead of them, but we won’t tell them about that yet.