Ways of using Numberjacks: Mission to Learn with your child There are information screens such as this throughout Numberjacks: Mission to Learn. Each room, each game, each toy and each mission has specific help and ideas to help you make the most of the various elements. These are opened by clicking the ‘Info & Ideas’ button at the top of all screens. In general terms: Talk about what an Agent does, and how useful it is to get new skills as an Agent to help the Numberjacks.  Encourage your child to learn though playing, and get them to talk about what they are doing. Don’t be surprised if your child finds some things hard or easy, or sees things in a different way to you.  Listen to how your child is thinking and encourage them to say more, and describe their thoughts to you.  Don’t try to tell them the ‘right’ way to do things  - instead offer your ways of seeing things as one way of looking at it. As far as possible let your child decide for themselves how often and for how long they want to play on Mission to Learn. Most of all, let your child play and enjoy themselves, and make discoveries for themselves; talk with them, share the experience, but let them lead you. Approach We believe children learn best when they are enjoying themselves and are engaged and motivated.  By entering the exciting world of the Numberjacks, with its mix of comedy adventure and real world settings, they can develop and practise mathematics in a purposeful and ‘real’ way.  The desire to ‘help’ the Numberjacks is a strong motivator in itself, as is the desire to win Brian Gain and Mission stars and to furnish their Room. Many of the games and toys are open-ended to encourage children to play, experiment and discover for themselves.  These learning tools provide an opportunity for mathematical conversations between child and adult and a setting where maths becomes a shared exploration and adventure. Throughout Mission to Learn, we offer ideas for developing or building on what happens on screen with activities around the home and out and about. Numberjacks are small but very resourceful number superheroes, who fly out from their base inside a sofa to solve the problems caused by the Meanies.  In Numberjacks: Mission to Learn children sign up as Agents to help the Numberjacks.  By developing their skills as Agents, children are introduced to all the key elements of early mathematics. Agents are given their own bedroom inside the sofa, next door to the Cosy Room. The Agent's bedroom is their 'base' in Mission to Learn, from which all the elements of Mission to learn can be accessed. Games In Numberjacks: Mission to Learn children 'train' as Agents by playing educational games which help develop a range of mathematical skills and understanding. Most games are playable at different levels, to encourage younger children and challenge older ones. Some games have directly 'scorable' challenges, others are more open-ended and creative.  Numberjacks: Mission to Learn  Toys Agents can also play with entertaining and educational toys, which also contribute to their Brain Gain score. The toys include a Musical Necklace, a Highlighter Brush, a Drawing Pad, and a Jigsaw. There are also a Video Player and Sound Player, with video clips, sound effects and audio clips. Some of the toys (like the Squeaky Pillow) are purely for fun, but most toys help children develop their mathematical understanding. Missions Agents go on Missions, where they help the Numberjacks solve the problems that the Meanies have caused. This puts the child in an active learning role, using mathematical skills and understanding a meaningful context.  As well as setting 'markable' questions and challenges, missions call upon Agents to think, speculate, speak, sing or move in certain ways.  Missions can be played alone by the child, but children will benefit from adult involvement and discussion: talking about mathematics is a vital part of shaping a child’s understanding. Each of the missions focuses on one key mathematical aspect, and Agents can be awarded 1, 2, or 3 stars on finishing the mission.  Achieving 1 star is commendable for younger agents - achieving 3 stars is a challenge to older agents.  Missions (which vary in length) can be left part way through and the last one played can be picked up again from the same point, and returned to and replayed as often as the child likes.  Content The program explores all of the areas of early mathematics, including number, counting, arithmetic, shape, measuring, position, direction, pattern and data.  The program revisits concepts a number of times, to explore them in different ways and contexts, and to reinforce the learning. Although we touch on areas such as weight and capacity, these are best explored by children experiencing them directly for themselves.  We aim to use the power of the computer to do the things it can do best. If a child works through all of the games and missions, they will have been introduced to a rich and extensive range of mathematical experiences which will help to equip them very well in their later learning, and help make them confident mathematical thinkers and learners. Brain Gain and Stickers Playing with the games and toys and going on missions increases the Agent’s Brain Gain score. Every time they gain 5 Brain Gain points, agents are awarded a sticker to keep in their sticker book. The stickers can be clicked on to view full size.