Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing our ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables us to understand and appreciate relationships and patterns in everyday life.
At Larmenier & Sacred Heart we teach maths for mastery. Maths mastery is an approach to teaching that gives children a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of mathematics. When taught to master maths, children develop their fluency without relying on rote learning. They are able to solve non-routine problems without having to memorise procedures.
As a school, we aim to promote an enjoyment and enthusiasm for mathematics where children learn through practical activities, exploration and lively discussion. We feel it is imperative that all children develop confidence and competence when dealing with numbers and the number system and go on to develop a curiosity about the world around them.
When teaching maths for mastery, the whole class moves through topics at broadly the same pace. Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher does not move to the next stage until children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.
Children are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. Through daily ‘Maths Meetings’ children have the opportunity to regularly recall prior learning to further develop fluency and commit concepts to long-term memory.
Although the whole class goes through the same content at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Those children who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.
As a school, Jerome Bruner’s Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach underpins all that we do in mathematics learning and teaching:
Concrete or action-based (enactive representation)
Pictorial or image-based (iconic representation)
Abstract or language-based (symbolic representation)
Bruner also proposed the spiral curriculum, where subjects are revisited at intervals and at more sophisticated levels. A concept is first represented with concrete materials, then by models, or pictures, and finally by abstract notation, like a plus or equals sign. The school’s maths curriculum is designed to ensure key concepts are revisited over time – with increased cognitive challenge – so that children have the opportunity to make connections, deepen and embed knowledge in long-term memory.
To deliver the school’s mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics, ‘Maths – No Problem!’ is our chosen core scheme of work.
What I Need to Learn by Heart
An online mathematics club run by Cambridge University with thousands of free mathematics enrichment materials (problems, articles and games) for learners from ages 5 to 19 years. All the resources are designed to develop subject knowledge, problem-solving and mathematical thinking skills.