Our aim is for children to achieve mastery of mathematical concepts and be confident when manipulating numbers and ideas. Through providing children with rich and varied tasks, they are given the opportunity to apply their learning in new and challenging contexts and in a variety of ways. Children begin to build a deep conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas which enables them to apply their learning in different contexts. Methods, lesson structures and principles developed in Singapore, as outlined by Maths No Problem, underpin our practice and are fully aligned to the 2014 National Curriculum,
The purpose of mathematics in our school is to develop:
– a positive attitude towards mathematics and to harness enjoyment and curiosity about the subject
– an awareness of how the mathematics fits in to the real world
– an ability to solve problems, to reason, to think logically and to work systematically and accurately
– an understanding of mathematics through a process of enquiry and experiment
How is the curriculum organised?
Based on Singapore Maths principles, our curriculum is designed and organised to ensure that children fully master key maths concepts in a visual and practical manner.
Pupils will explore concepts using concrete materials, before progressing to pictorial and, finally, abstract (the CPA approach).
The main emphasis is on problem-solving using taught strategies. Lessons are practical, fun and engaging with carefully chosen activities to both support and extend all the children’s learning. Importantly children are given time to focus on smaller areas of learning for longer periods of time to begin to gain ‘mastery’.
So what does this mean?
A vital part of achieving mastery is being able to represent ideas in many ways. At Drew children use practical resources, such as Dienes blocks and cubes and pictorial representations to represent mathematical concepts, to help them understand what the maths they are using really means – allowing them to develop precise and more accurate mental representations. They make links to pictures of problems and ideas, and explain what the links are. They understand mathematical concepts using everyday language (e.g. ‘add’ means ‘together with’), which helps them understand what the numbers and symbols mean.
Problem-solving is crucial to the mastery approach. Children are given opportunity to explore, recognise patterns, hypothesise and be empowered to let problem solving take them on new and unfamiliar journeys. This may take place in pairs, groups, individually or as part of whole-class teaching.
A range of methods are taught to allow children to be able to calculate efficiently and effectively. In the first instance, children assess whether they can carry out a calculation mentally, for example: partitioning (67 + 35 would become 60 + 30 and 7 + 5), using times table facts (I know that 5 x 5 = 25, therefore 5 x 6 is 30). Informal written methods, such as using a number line to aid counting forwards / backwards when adding and subtracting or using jottings are taught before children move onto formal written methods, such as column method or long division.
An emphasis on using the correct mathematical language is imperative and from the beginning, children are encouraged to use the correct vocabulary to that they are able to justify or challenge an answer; reflect and discuss their learning; solve problems in a variety of ways and be able to explain their methods to others
Pupils are provide with a range of opportunities to work collaboratively within class. In these groupings children support each other in mastering key concepts. By cooperating well, they are able to resolve problems and challenges effectively. Higher attaining pupils can quickly move onto ‘mastering’, while others have the opportunity to really grasp the learning.
Across the curriculum pupils:
∙ Gain an interest in exploring open-ended problems.
∙ Have a sense of enjoyment and fascination.
∙ Use imagination and creativity in their learning.
∙ Be willing to reflect on their own experiences.
How can parents/carers support learning at home?
Parents and carers can support learning at home by giving pupils opportunities to explore aspects of maths regularly.
These can include rehearsing:
∙ Counting forwards and backwards
∙ Reading and writing numbers
∙ Number bonds
∙ Doubling and halving
∙ Multiplication and division facts
∙ Time (calendars and clocks)
∙ Using money in a real life context
∙ Measuring (weight, capacity, length and height) Each year group supplies a learning pack at Parents’ Evenings with tasks and activities to support home learning in mathematics.
Times tables play an important role in mathematics and if children know them well, they are able to calculate efficiently and make connections between greater numbers, such as 7 x 8 = 56, so 70 x 80 = 7600. We have the “Times Table Club” running effectively in each year group.