At The Meadows, we strive for our children to be successful and proficient mathematicians. Maths is a life skill – we use it all the time for example when we are baking, when shopping, whilst driving and when solving problems. We use maths when we are drawing, when building, whilst waiting for the bus and when going on holiday. We even use maths when we don’t even realise it. Therefore it is essential that we enable our children to be successful in this subject.
To be successful in Maths, we recognise that pupils need to develop their conceptual understanding. In other words, pupils don’t only need to be able to recall facts quickly, they also need to be able to apply their knowledge in a range of different contexts, including those that are new and unfamiliar. This is the idea at the heart of ‘Maths Mastery’, an approach to Maths based upon best practice found in Singapore.
In order to develop conceptual understanding in our pupils, this year we are implementing the CPA approach to learning (concrete, pictorial and abstract). This approach recognises that in order for pupils to understand abstract concepts, they must first learn mathematical concepts through the use of concrete resources and pictorial representation.
Concrete is the ‘doing’ stage, using concrete objects to solve problems. It brings concepts to life by allowing children to handle physical objects themselves.
Pictorial is the ‘seeing’ stage, using representations of the objects involved in maths problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object and abstract levels of understanding, by drawing or looking at pictures, circles, diagrams or models which represent the objects in the problem.
Abstract is the ‘symbolic’ stage, where children are able to use abstract symbols to model and solve maths problems.
We have purchased a new scheme of learning called ‘Power Maths’ in order to help us embed this approach. This scheme is based upon extensive research into maths teaching around the world, particularly Singapore. We have also spent a significant amount of money purchasing new physical resources to use within our lesson.
Already the pupils have been busily using our new resources. Here are a few examples from Class 4:
We look forward to sharing our learning with you during the course of the year. Keep an eye out for family workshops, which will be held later this term.