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I love numicon as it gives a visual image of numbers that other apparatus don't. There was a thread on this recently, so might be worth searching. I use it in my Year 2 class as a resource available for all. I use it in my teaching and those who want to use it use it. It is used in KS1 and FS in the same way. KS2 have used it only with SEN, but have now seen the potential of it to be available in class, particularly in lower KS2. I also use it with my SEN for small intervention groups, focussing on basic skills. I think it is absolutely great and the children tell me how much easier it is to use to help them adding, finding the difference etc etc. I would emphasise that it should be used alongside other apparatus, not instead of.
The only drawback I can see is that you need a lot of it if you want it to be used by children in the classroom and teach in a whole class way. I have a tub of numicon on each table group (6 children). I have around 2 and a half boxes worth in my classroom (for 30 children). So it is a serious investment, but one I think is worth making. If your budget won't stand that then order it for use with your SEN, as it has been such a help in this regard. Their website it great too and the file you get has lots of ideas in it.
I think its great. I use it for my lower ability y5 children who still need something practical to help their understanding. Great for addition, multiplication, division, subtraction and we also use a letter box that comes with the pack to ask them to post something greater than, less than, equal too etc.
Agree with above comment about the amount you need. When I use it I try to borrow other classes so my la table can have a box each.
Oh and it is also great for odd and even numbers as they quickly remember which tile has a bit sticking out making it odd.
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