Our aim at Beckstone Primary School is for all children to enjoy maths and have a secure and deep understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts and procedures when they leave us to go to secondary school.
In line with the National Curriculum and current best practice, the children are taught to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics (including calculation strategies); reason mathematically using mathematical language and apply their knowledge and understanding to problem solving tasks. In order to achieve these objectives for all our pupils, we have begun to embed a Teaching for Mastery approach.
The aim of this explanation is to provide parents and carers with an understanding of what Teaching for Mastery looks like at Beckstone Primary; how we teach the four calculations and how you can support your children at home with their maths learning.
Concrete - providing children with objects and resources to manipulate in order to demonstrate their mathematical thinking.
Pictorial - providing opportunities for children to represent their mathematical thinking through diagrams, images, drawings or models.
Abstract – providing opportunities for children to become more familiar with formal mathematical representations including signs, symbols and digits.
Maths language often uses common words in a new context, for example: table, right, difference and product. It is crucial children have a secure grasp of mathematical vocabulary. For a comprehensive and interactive online maths dictionary visit www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com
Always encourage your child to explain how they have gone about solving a problem, and work with them to test, prove, explain, reflect and spot patterns.
Questioning and prompts are powerful tools to boost your child’s mathematical thinking. Encourage your child to answer in complete sentences using accurate mathematical vocabulary. Reasoning about, and discussing maths problems in a way that others can understand, demonstrates depth of understanding – another fundamental aspect of mastering maths.
In school, teachers give children access to different types of reasoning questions , including:
The 2014 Curriculum set higher expectations for pupil achievement and the expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. To develop true fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills, mastery is about keeping children together and not moving on at an over rapid pace.
All pupils benefit from deepening their conceptual understanding of mathematics, regardless of whether they have previously struggled or excelled. Pupils are given time to fully understand, explore and apply ideas, rather than accelerate through new topics. This approach enables children to truly grasp a concept, and the challenge comes from investigating it in new, alternative and more complex ways. Teachers will set challenge or investigative tasks accordingly. This means that pupils who grasp an idea quickly will not be raced onto content from a higher year group.
If your child finds maths tricky, you may be concerned that they will not keep up with whole- class teaching. However, we aim to break learning down into small, deliberate, purposeful steps. By using a CPA approach, wherever possible, and spending more time on difficult concepts, we build pupils’ understanding and confidence. Pupils may also be given extra time to practise with an adult if needed.
Encourage a growth mindset – all children can achieve in mathematics! There is no such thing as a ‘Maths person’, (the belief that some pupils can do maths and others cannot)). By doing this at home and at school, we will foster the following beliefs in your children:
Help your child learn times tables and key number bonds at home - having key facts at their fingertips frees up their working memory. By the end of Year 4 they should know all of their tables to x12. If they can learn them quicker than that – all the better! ENCOURAGE your child to practise their multiplication tables or number bonds for 3 minutes a day. Make it FUN, use timers, songs and computer games.
Work out the amount of weekly pocket money received in relation to the amount that needs to be saved to buy a particular item; work out the amount of change that will be given prior to paying for shopping.
Use a takeaway menu for 2-step problems. (E.g. If we buy two chicken tikka masalas at £6.95 each and a pilau rice at £3.50, then how much change will we get from £20?)
Explain how household bills are calculated (e.g. use a Council Tax bill to show how the annual amount is divided into monthly instalments). When shopping, work out the total cost of individually priced items (e.g. If we buy 7 bananas at 28p each, then how much will we pay altogether?)
Use different types of clock to tell the time (analogue, digital and the 24-hour clock). Ask questions based around time (e.g. If we need to get to school by 8:30 and it takes us 40 minutes to get there, then what is the latest time we can set off? The football match kicks off at 7:45. If it’s a 90-minute match with 15 minutes for half time, then what time should the match finish?)
Familiarise children with days of the week, months of the year, number of days in a month, and year. Use a calendar to plan events (e.g. If your birthday is on 4th August and we need to book a party venue a fortnight before, when is the latest date we can book?)
Use rail timetables to work out journey times using the 24 hour clock. (E.g. If we need to get to Waterloo by 17:15 and it is a 25 minute journey then what is the latest train we can take from Mortlake?)
Weigh out fruit and vegetables and look at the amounts of liquids in bottles to become familiar with different units of measurement (e.g. grams, kilograms, millilitres and litres), convert between different units e.g. how many cartons containing 250 millilitres of orange juice are needed to provide 3 litres of orange juice? How many kilograms do 2 bags of 750 grams of flour weigh?
Estimate the weight of a bag of fruit or vegetables prior to weighing them.
Let your child help with the cooking at home. Help them to measure ingredients accurately using weighing scales or measuring jugs. Talk about what each division on the scale stands for.
Practise measuring the lengths or heights of objects (interchange the use of cm and metres). Help your child to use different rulers and tape measures accurately. Encourage the children to estimate before measuring.
When out shopping, look at the items and prices that have percentage reductions on them. What will be their discounted price if there is a 20% reduction? How much money has been taken off the original price? If an item costs £160 and it has been discounted by 20%, what was its original price?
The children are introduced to a number of different calculation methods throughout their time at school. They are encouraged to recognise and use methods of calculation which they can complete accurately and with increasing efficiency. Wherever possible, children are encouraged to work mentally to solve calculations and consider which method is most efficient for a given calculation. In the face of more challenging, multi-step problems, the children are taught to employ systematic formal written methods.
Pupils are also encouraged to discuss with their teachers and each other the efficiency and suitability of different mental and written strategies, explaining their thinking with the appropriate mathematical vocabulary. Through this process, they are able to demonstrate their own understanding and share their mathematical knowledge with others.