My son has maths homework today (he just turned seven if you’re interested in year group type stuff).

Here it is:

(I supplied the coins to help him!)

Better still, this task seemed to lend itself perfectly towards the trusty abacus:

(Starting with the largest coin, £2, we put it on the abacus. See pic above)

Then the £1 gets added:

Then the 50p:

Then the 20p:

Then the 10p:

Then the 5p:

Then the 2p:

And finally the 1p:

“So daddy there’s three hundred and eighty eight pence”. Yup, or £3.88

So we have to find all the different amounts of money you can have if you take away just one coin. So now we just work backwards. Take away the largest coin first:

So without the £2 there’s £1.88

Put it back, take away the £1 … etc.

We had loads of fun. And it was really easy for him with the abacus.

So the message here is… abacus abacus abacus. But make sure it’s in BASE 10!!!

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Interesting: my natural inclination would be for a spreadsheet, but for a 7yo, I can see an abacus is more concrete – will re-think!