Reasoning and problem solving at St Georges.
A key part of our maths curriculum at St Georges is developing the children's ability to mathematically reason and solve a variety of problems. It is vital children are able to do this, as it shows that they have a deeper understanding of different concepts, and that they are able to apply their basic knowledge and skills to a variety of situations. In order to support this, we have introduced our "mastery dragons". They consist of supporting the children to: explain, prove, use, convince and evaluate.
Each dragon looks at how you can question the children, as well as providing them with a scaffold to answer the question. Both teachers and children really enjoy using them, and have noticed how they are supporting the children to reason in maths.
Maths at St George's - Big Maths
What is Big Maths?
Big Maths is a systematic and structured approach to ensuring all children become numerate and then become fully rounded mathematicians. At the heart of this structure are the detailed sequences of learning through progress drives.
Big Maths ensures every child has a solid foundation of Core Knowledge before they start to use and apply it to wider mathematical concepts such as shape, fractions etc. Recognising the evidence of ‘Cognitive Load Theory’, Big Maths helps to manage the load and maintain balance between working and long-term memory.
We do this with CLIC in the first 20-minutes of the maths lesson. This stands for Counting, Learn Its, It’s Nothing New and Calculation and a child journeys through them chronologically before moving into wider maths in the remaining part of your lesson.
Some of the ways Big Maths incorporates ‘Cognitive Load Theory’ research are:
The CLIC strategy empowers all adults in our school to accurately plan for the next steps in children’s learning and to effectively address any gaps that may arise along the way.
CLIC comprises of:
Counting – Counting is done in many ways including counting forwards and backwards in various increments; work on place value and reading and ordering numbers.
Learn Its – Learn Its are 72 number facts which are learnt throughout the years from Reception to Year 4. They are split across the different terms so that each class works on a few Learn Its at a time, to ensure they are fully embedded. 36 are addition facts and 36 are multiplication facts; these are learnt in class and practiced at home and are tested once a week in school through the ‘Big Maths Beat That!’ Challenge.
It’s Nothing New – Children use a bank of facts and methods that they already have, to solve problems and that each step of progress is very small; children will use and apply their skills and methods to a range of different situations and problems.
Calculation – This is often the main part of the maths lesson which focuses on teaching solid written and mental methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The children move through progress drives which introduce small, focused steps of progress throughout the year.
We spend a week every half term on developing written and mental methods in each of the four operations - addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The remaining weeks centre around other areas of Mathematics including; Shape, Measure, Fractions, Statistics, Geometry and Problem Solving.
For extra information please visit:
Big Maths characters
As part of Big Maths there are characters that the children associate with different areas of the Maths curriculum. The aim of these characters is to help them remember certain methods, and make them more confident in their learning. Some examples of characters are:
Pim- Pim is a special alien because his he has 3 arms, legs, fingers etc on one side of his body and the other half 4. Children know that PIM makes 7 when he is all added up. Children use this to associate that no matter what the object (i.e. fingers, apples, cm) if the numbers are the same they will always create the same total. So 3+4=7, so PIM's 3 arms and 4 arms means he has 7 arms.
Squiggleworth- This alien dog helps children with place value and partitioning numbers. The number sits in his body and then children split and partition the number into his feet.
There are many other characters too and information about them can be found on the Big Maths website.
When carrying out learning walks in school, we always want to hear what our pupils have to say about their Maths lessons. Recently we interviewed some children in school and here are some snap shots of what they said about Maths at St George's:
" We enjoy our work because it is challenging and it makes us think more."
" Our teachers help us by giving us tool kits to use and red pen."
" We enjoy Maths because lots of our lessons are fun and active."
Children were also very keen to show off work they were proud of and could explain why they had chosen that particular piece.
Over the last 2 years, Miss Walker and a group of year 5 children have been running a lunch time club in order to support the maths development of our younger children in school. It has always proven to be beneficial to not only the children's maths development, but also their confidence and social skills.
The year 5 children are the "mechanics" and spend one day a week supporting children from years 1 and 2. This year has already kicked off to a great start and the children are thoroughly enjoying building up their knowledge and having the opportunity to share their skills.
Times table Rockstars!
Recently as a school we have begun using times table rock stars. The idea of this online game is that children create their own rock avatar and choose a rockstar name. They then play times table games under a timer, trying to improve their speed at recalling these number facts. As they get quicker, and the more they play, they can begin to earn gold coins which they can then use to buy things for their avatar.
So far we've had great responses from both the children (and teachers!) as they enjoy learning their tables in a fun and competitive way! Each week in achievement assembly the top scoring children and classes will be announced.
Children each have their own log in, which their class teacher will provide them with and they can access the game at school, and we are encouraging them to play at home too.
Below there is a link to the website, so take a look and see what it's all about!