Maths at Hethersett VC Primary School
Our School Vision
At Hethersett VC Primary School we believe:
All children can become resilient problem solvers who, when equipped with a range of different strategies, can solve mathematical problems and explain their reasoning.
We aim for all children:
Maths- No Problem!
To help us achieve this, in September 2019 we introduced a scheme of work called Maths No Problem which is based on what is called 'The Singapore Method'. The core themes of Maths No Problem are that pupils are taught key skills in a logical sequence with concrete, pictorial and abstract representations all used to support the introduction of new learning. Additionally, pupils are encouraged to reason about their learning by exploring and explaining their methods in greater detail. This is a central theme in Singapore Maths where the learning is focussed on achieving mastery rather than moving on to new concepts too quickly. This mastery approach assumes all children, with varying levels of support, are capable of developing a deep and secure knowledge and understanding of Maths at each stage of their learning.
When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.
The Maths No Problem mission statement:
“We believe that every child can master an understanding and love of maths with the right kind of teaching and support. We want you to join our mission to build the confidence of the nation’s maths teachers and learners.” Maths No Problem (2016).
What does Maths look like at Hethersett?
The Singapore approach encompasses a concrete, pictorial, abstract method that is key to establishing and embedding a deeper understanding of Mathematics.
Concrete manipulatives (counters etc.) are used to enable pupils to visualise mathematical concepts. Once children are able to access a problem using concrete apparatus, pictorial representations are used to facilitate learning, followed by being able to complete problems using more abstract mathematical methods.
Children are given time to think deeply about concepts and understand them at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. Children explain their thinking and prove their methods through clear reasoning and justification.
Throughout lessons, children work alongside learning partners to discuss concepts and consider multiple ways to solve problems. This process ensures that children understand the process, but more importantly, why they are doing it.
What is Concrete?
Concrete is the ‘doing’ stage, using concrete objects to model problems and to bring concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical objects themselves. All new concepts are learnt first with a ‘concrete’ or physical experience.
For example, if a problem is about adding up pieces of fruit, the children might first handle actual fruit before progressing to handling counters or cubes which are used to represent the fruit.
What is Pictorial?
Pictorial is the ‘seeing’ stage, using representations of the objects to model problems. This stage encourages children to make mental connections between the physical object and abstract levels of understanding by drawing or looking at pictures, diagrams or models which represent the objects in the problem.
Building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp concepts as it helps them to visualise the problem and makes it more accessible.
What is Abstract?
Only once a child has demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the ‘concrete’ and ‘pictorial’ representations of a problem, can they access more abstract representations involving mathematical symbols. The stages ensure clear progression and extension in learning.
What does a lesson look like?
Lessons and activities are designed to encourage children to become more fluent in their problem solving and encourage a higher level of thinking in maths in order to deepen understanding and master concepts. Concepts merge from one chapter to the next. Chapters are then broken down into individual lessons.
Lessons typically are broken into five parts.
The parts to a lesson are:
1. Anchor Task (In Focus Task) – the entire class spends time on a question guided by the teacher. The children are encouraged during this time to think of as many ways as possible to solve the question as possible. Their ideas are then shared with the class.
2. Let’s Learn – this focuses on the concept introduced during the in focus task.
3. Guided Practice – the children practice new ideas in groups, pairs or individually guided by the teacher. They have access to any concrete resources they require or choose to use a more pictorial or concrete approach.
4. Independent Practice – practice on their own. Once children have mastered the concept they use their reasoning and problem solving skills to develop their depth of learning by completing questions in their work book.
5. Journaling – a reflection part of the lesson where children develop their reasoning and problem-solving skills reflecting on the learning that has taken part.
Where can I find out more about MNP?
More information can be found on the Maths No problem parent videos using this link
How can I support my child in Maths?
Encouraging a love of numbers throughout childhood helps children to develop strong foundation of understanding, which is often referred to as having good Number Sense. Children with a strong number sense understand the relationships between numbers and can be more creative, systematic and reflective mathematical thinkers.