The new National Curriculum is written with three core aims: Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving.
Children need to develop a mastery of mathematics rather than achieving the next objective year on year. The curriculum is written so that children can strengthen deeper understanding and apply knowledge into different contexts within the field of mathematics.
In order to understand the way children are now being taught it might be helpful to think of a tree analogy rather than a ladder of steps.
The tree represents learning:
- The children gain the first level of understanding of a concept go up the trunk
- Next the children learn to apply those concepts which is moving out on to the branches.
The 2014 Curriculum has also changed in what the children are expected to have mastered by when. Below is a document that details all the changes by year group but in general expectations are higher with a greater emphasis on number.
Times Tables in 10 minutes
A question we frequently get asked is “How can I help my child learn their times tables?” In the video below Jill Mansergh uses a number stick to teach the 17 times table in less than ten minutes. She demonstrates how to develop a relational understanding of the facts which is more powerful than chanting them out alone. eg. If I know 10 times a fact, I know 5 times it by halving.
Obviously no-one actually needs to learn the 17 times table, she chose this to illustrate a point! But the principle can be applied to any of the tables 2-12 that the children do need to learn. You don’t need a counting stick like hers, a straight line with the the divisions marked, works just as well.
If you would like to talk to someone about supporting children in learning their rabls (and related division facts) please come and see Mrs Maxwell (Year 5/6) who is our Maths Lead and is always delighted to have an excuse to talk even more maths! Alternatively email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fluency is made up of three main parts: efficiency, accuracy and flexibility.
To increase fluency children should become proficient at:
- Learning times table facts,
- Division facts,
- Doubles and halves,
- Number bonds to 10, 20, 100 and 1000
- Addition and Subtraction of two digit numbers mentally
There are many other numbers facts which help but it is vital that children learn how to apply these facts to other problems within mathematics.
To be able to reason children should be able to conjecture and offer a proof and explanation of their ideas. They should be able to form links between mathematical ideas and be able to apply and test these.
Problem solving tasks are rich tasks. This means they are problems which have multiple answers or different strategies to solve them. They are not a simple closed question. They may have several steps to complete in order to find the answer. They may use several different elements of mathematics and they are suitable for any ability level.
Mathematical Super Powers
The super heroes have been designed by a local artist specifically for our school.
Captain Conjecture supports and prompts the children to think about what else they know. For example when I know that 5 x 7 = 35 what else do I know? How could I make “conjectures” using that information? How could I apply it to another problem in order to help me solve it? These are ways of helping the children recognise and mathematics is all linked. Charlie the Convincer is a character designed to help the children convince both themselves and others that they understand a mathematical concept. They can do this by giving examples or talking through their strategies and explaining how they know.
Express Eddie and Imagine Ivy encourages the children to consider the mental images (imagine) that support their reasoning, and written or drawn explanations (express) of their thinking so that they can share their ideas with others. Organise Olly and Classify Carrie focus on the children sorting and classifying mathematical ideas by their properties and being able to organise then to support reasoning and pattern spotting. Our last two heroes, General Generalise and Specialise Sophie encourage children to think about examples that are specific to single occasions (e.g. 3+2=5) and general rules that always apply (e.g. odd + even always = an odd).
Please read the attached document for more information about how these Maths Powers help develop children’s reasoning skills further.