Position and direction

Unit 10 – 1 week

Primary KS1 Year 1

This topic is part of the National Curriculum but is not included in the DfE 2020 guidance or the NCETM Mastery PD Materials. There are no NCETM classroom slides to download for this unit. We hope that teachers/schools will plan to cover this material from their own existing high-quality resources and using the information and suggestions below.

National curriculum statutory requirements (p10)

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe position, direction and movement, including whole, half, quarter and three-quarter turns.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

  • Pupils use the language of position, direction and motion, including left and right, top, middle and bottom, on top of, in front of, above, between, around, near, close and far, up and down, forwards and backwards, inside and outside.
  • Pupils make whole, half, quarter and three-quarter turns in both directions and connect turning clockwise with movement on a clock face.

When planning this unit, focus on the importance of making connections to other rich maths experiences which support the development of spatial reasoning. Examples of activities which promote the maths in this unit include puzzles, construction, small-world play, treasure hunts and visualisation, so that spatial relationships can be understood in a variety of contexts. It would be beneficial to ensure that pupils have previous experiences of shape and space in the Early Years (exemplified here) and with specific reference to developing spatial awareness, spatial vocabulary and representing spatial relationships.

Position and Proportion

This concerns the relationships between given points. For example, expressing that an object or a point is in the ‘middle’ of something requires attention drawn to the fact it is the same distance from other points of reference.

Direction and Rotation

This relates to movement and turning which is an important pre-requisite to looking at angles. You may consider focusing on whole and half turns which can be connected to learning about the analogue clock in year 1 and also encourages children’s everyday use of the language. This would mean ensuring that quarter and three-quarter turns are introduced in Year 2. This may also coincide with the NCETM’s guidance on teaching fractions in Key Stage 1.

Opportunities to address this topic in other Units in the curriculum prioritisation materials

  • Year 1 Unit 11: Time
  • Year 2 Unit 11: Time
  • Year 2 Unit 12: Position and Direction.

Cross-curricular opportunities to address this topic

  • PE - provides opportunities to experience, feel and understand positional language and whole and half rotation in a range of contexts such as dance, team sports and games.
  • English - while speaking and listening and in general classroom routines such as “please can you put your reading book inside the cupboard which is halfway down the corridor?”, take the opportunity to reinforce the language of position and direction whenever you can. This could include ordering parts of a story or drawing a story map. You could read stories featuring positional and directional language such as ‘Rosie’s Walk’ by Pat Hutchins or ‘We’re Going on A Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Draw attention to positional and directional language with the children.
  • Art and Design - study examples of art with different perspectives, pattern and rotation such as tessellations.
  • ICT - while using a programmable toy, coding and programming, pupils will have the opportunity to use and reinforce the language. You may want to look at electronic maps or tools such as Google Earth to think about proportional relationships between points.
  • Geography - using directional language to describe locations or routes on simple maps or plans will present the chance to use and understand these words accurately.