We think it's best for all pupils to start at the very beginning of Story Mode, on Rust Level 1, and work their way through the stages consecutively. This is for a number of reasons:

  • All children benefit from reaffirming the foundations of maths.

  • You can be sure they have not missed out on any key maths skills which could trip them up later when the levels get more complex.

  • Children become accustomed to the way different types of levels work and familiar with the various representations.

  • They'll notice patterns and similarities between easier questions and more difficult ones, which will help them to answer the difficult ones.

  • They'll become more invested in the story of Rusty if they start at the beginning.

  • They'll receive rewards and unlock certain features at the optimum time to be most motivational.

Nevertheless, some older children may be reluctant to start at the very beginning of Story Mode as they consider it to be "too easy" for them or a waste of time.

In these situations, so that the child can still benefit from playing the more challenging levels on NumBots, you can turn off maths topics which you are certain they are already fluent at. They will then be able to skip these levels in Story Mode.

To turn off levels which relate to certain topics in Story Mode:

  1. Log in to your teacher's account here.

  2. Go to "Story Controls".

  3. Click the green "Select maths topics" button in the first container, to turn off some levels for pupils in the Main Group.

  4. In the pop-up that appears, you'll notice all six categories are set to ON by default. This means that the pupils currently have access to all of Story Mode's levels. Click on the toggle switches to turn off the topics you do not want the pupils to practise. Then click "Save".

  5. (Optional*) If you'd like to set some children in the class different topics to their classmates, drag their names down into the container below, and set the maths topics for that group of pupils by clicking "Select maths topics" in that container.

Note: Please ask the children to log out and log back in in order for the changes to take effect.

My pupils are in Key Stage 1. Should I turn off any topics for them?

No. We recommend that all of Year 1 and 2, at least, should start from the beginning. While more confident children in those year groups may quickly move though the first few stages before they reach the levels that challenge them more, all Key Stage 1 children will reap the benefits of repeating foundation skills.

Through repetition, a skill becomes easier, eventually moving from the conscious to the subconscious. Once a pupil is able to perform a skill automatically, without having to consciously work out the answer, that frees up mental load when the questions become more complex and the skills required to answer them begin to layer up on top of each other.

Should I set my whole class the same settings?

Ideally, yes. When every child in the class starts in the same position, nobody feels left behind or like they've been unfairly held back while other pupils have been allowed to skip ahead. This helps prevent the children who stand to benefit most from NumBots becoming disinclined to play because they are being made to start at an earlier level than their classmates, who have had the easier topics turned off.

You'll know the individual characters and abilities of the pupils in your class best, however we'd recommend having the same topics turned on for all children in the class if possible as it will feel fairer to the pupils, they will all be able to follow the same story line, and you'll be able to compare their progress and achievements more effectively.

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