At Lavendon School, we want our children to become confident and fluent mathematicians. We follow the teaching for mastery approach and devise sequences of lessons which sees pupils moving from the use of concrete resources, to pictorial images, before moving on to the abstract.
We believe that the use of concrete resources and manipulatives at every stage of learning is paramount to the children becoming keen and successful mathematicians. We encourage the use of concrete resources within lessons to scaffold learning across all year groups, enabling the children to gain a good grasp and deeper learning of key mathematical concepts. This leads to greater fluency overall within maths as they are able to reason and explain more clearly, due to having a better overall understanding of key concepts.
Being able to transfer the use of concrete resources into pictorial images is also an important part of teaching for mastery. Using images to support learning is the next step in learning and shows that the children are able to use the images to help them, rather than rely on having to physically move resources.
The use of concrete and pictorial resources needs to be secure before children are able to apply their understanding to more abstract concepts such as formal calculations or word problems. By building the foundations for learning within concrete and pictorial resources, children are far more confident and can apply their reasoning and understanding with greater flexibility.
Through use of our curriculum progression document for mathematics and whole school use of White Rose Hub yearly overviews, we are able to ensure that children take part in lessons that are carefully sequenced in order to build on their knowledge and understanding of maths. We ensure that small steps are secured before moving on and revisit learning through the use of activities such as ‘Fluent in Five’ or ‘Flashbacks’ at the start of each lesson. We also provide opportunities for the children to apply learning from previous maths lessons across other areas of the maths curriculum to ensure that the children do not see maths as ‘blocks of learning’. For example, in Key Stage 2, multiplication is revisited when teaching area and perimeter or when identifying equivalent fractions.
In addition to ensuring fluency within number, we also focus on reasoning and problem solving. This helps children to develop a deeper understanding of the connections between mathematical concepts, as well as learn to tackle mathematical problems they may encounter in the next stage of their education or in adult life.