Position and direction

Unit 12 – 1 week

Primary KS1 Year 2

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 (p16)

Pupils should be taught to:

  • order and arrange combinations of mathematical objects in patterns and sequences
  • use mathematical vocabulary to describe position, direction and movement, including movement in a straight line and distinguishing between rotation as a turn and in terms of right angles for quarter, half and three-quarter turns (clockwise and anti-clockwise).

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

  • Pupils should work with patterns of shapes, including those in different orientations.
  • Pupils use the concept and language of angles to describe ‘turn’ by applying rotations, including in practical contexts (for example, pupils themselves moving in turns, giving instructions to other pupils to do so, and programming robots using instructions given in right angles).

Building on previous work on whole and half turns, pupils will need experience of quarter and three-quarter turns. It is important that pupils experience the motion of different turns to understand the concept of angles as ‘amount of turn’. Children can apply their knowledge of the motion of the hands of an analogue clock to understand ‘clockwise’ and ‘anti-clockwise’ directions.

Pupils will further their conceptual understanding of right angles in Year 3 Unit 3 and so any focus on right angles in Key Stage 1 can be brief. For example, when looking at the properties of 2D shapes, children can identify whether a programmable toy will need to turn a quarter turn or not, to draw the shape, and that we can call this a ‘right angle’. Children could identify right angles in their environment.

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

  • Year 1 Unit 11: Time
  • Year 1 Unit 10: Position and Direction
  • Year 2 Unit 11: Time
  • Year 2 Unit 12: Position and Direction
  • Year 3 Unit 3: Right Angles.

Cross-curricular opportunities to address this topic

  • PE - maximise opportunities to experience, feel and understand positional language and whole, half, quarter and three-quarter rotation in a range of contexts such as dance, team sports and games.
  • English - speaking and listening. Blindfold a pupil and ask a friend to give verbal directions to guide them safely across the classroom using positional and directional language.
  • Art and Design - identify patterns and repeated sequences in examples of artwork. Children can replicate using stamps and rotation.
  • ICT - while using a programmable toy, coding and programming, pupils will have the opportunity to use and reinforce the language of movement and position.
  • 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.