Maths at Ark Blacklands has problem solving at its core.
Our Mastery approach ensures that every child, in every maths lesson, is both challenged and supported in order to develop their mathematical thinking and resilience.
Our maths curriculum ensures that children are active participants in the learning process; they are challenged to think, question, reflect and discuss.
In Maths teaching, we aim to equip pupils with tools such as logical reasoning, problem solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we teach pupils to build a deep understanding of concepts, which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations. Mathematics is taught through practical and written activities that have real meaning for the children, enabling them to develop their numerical skills and the ability to solve problems.
Throughout the academy, we teach the following areas of study in our daily maths lessons:
- using and applying maths in different contexts;
- number and algebra;
- shape, space and measure;
- data handling.
In addition to a daily maths lesson, children take part in regular maths meetings where pupils consolidate and develop fluency in all areas of maths. Here, we place a strong emphasis on arithmetic, developing mental recall of number facts before introducing written calculations for the four operations.
Our approach uses concrete manipulatives (such as number lines and bead strings), pictorial representatives (pictures representing mathematical concepts) and more abstract approaches (written equations). This structured support, combined with our high expectations, ensures that children make clear connections in mathematics which they can then apply to a variety of situations.
Talk Tasks: These are used in every lesson. Children work with a partner to explore skills, use precise vocabulary and solve problems. Talk Tasks give teachers an important opportunity to gather assessment information through observations and questioning which is used to inform future planning.
The concrete-pictorial-abstract approach (CPA): A crucial part of a 'deep understanding' in maths is being able to represent ideas in many ways. Using objects and pictures to represent abstract concepts is essential. Pupils are taught to use concrete materials to develop more precise and more comprehensive mental representations.
- Concrete - the doing: Concrete refers to objects such as ten frames, Dienes, place-value counters, or other objects that can be physically manipulated. This is a 'hands on' component using real objects and it is the foundation for conceptual understanding.
- Pictorial - the seeing: When a pupil has sufficiently understood the hands-on experiences performed, they can then represent concepts using pictorial representations, such as drawing a diagram or picture of the problem.
- Abstract - the symbolic: A pupil is now capable of representing problems by using mathematical notation, for example: 2 + 4 = 6. This is the most formal stage of mathematical understanding.
The science, design technology and PE curriculum also offer opportunities for children to use and apply their mathematical problem-solving skills and knowledge in practical, real-life situations.
Our maths curriculum ensures that pupils leave Ark Blacklands Primary Academy with the mathematical skills they need for success at secondary school and beyond.
Please see here for further detail of the impact of our maths curriculum.