Maths is a creative subject where skills are developed within a climate of trust and experimentation at Sacred Heart. Learning is based on giving children an understanding of mathematics and helping them to articulate their reasoning. Mathematics provides pupils with a means of making sense of the world in which they live. Building on experiences, it encourages thinking and reasoning skills to grow. It embraces natural curiosity and develops the confidence to tackle situations that arise in mathematics and other curriculum areas.
A problem-solving approach can contribute significantly to the outcomes of a mathematics education. Not only does it develop logical thinking but it also provides students with a context for learning mathematical knowledge and can enhance transfer of skills to unfamiliar situations. A problem-solving approach can provide a vehicle for students to construct their own ideas about mathematics and to take responsibility for their own learning. At Sacred Heart we use a concrete, pictorial, abstract (CPA) approach to teaching which develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths.
Concrete is the “doing” stage, using concrete objects to model problems. For example, if a problem is about adding up four baskets of fruit, the children might first handle actual fruit before progressing to handling counters or cubes which are used to represent the fruit.
Pictorial is the “seeing” stage, using representations of the objects to model problems. For example, building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp concepts they traditionally find more difficult, such as fractions - it helps them visualise the problem and make it more accessible.
Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children are able to use abstract symbols to model problems. For example, children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols, for example +, –, x, / to indicate addition, multiplication, or division.
Our calculation policy shows progression within each area of calculation. Children become fluent in core skills, developing the objectives outlined within the Maths National Curriculum 2014. We believe that the power of reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving ability and effective communication skills are qualities that are nurtured by mathematics. These qualities are developed through teaching the links between concepts, rehearsing facts and skills and exploring patterns and relationships with number.
Mental Maths is ‘A short burst of rehearsal that engages and challenges every learner whilst at the same time provides clear teaching points without hindering pace.’ We believe that Mental Maths should mean more than just mental calculation. Mental Maths is taught three times a week and gives children a range of practical opportunities to develop key skills including reasoning and communicating.
Reasoning is of high priority at Sacred Heart and each class has a reasoning station to engage all learners. Mathematical reasoning is the critical skill that enables children to make use of all other mathematical skills. Children: identify - choose appropriate methods to solve problems, communicate - explain their results and summarise information and review - interpret information and draw conclusions. With the development of mathematical reasoning children recognise that mathematics makes sense and can be understood.
Mathematical talk is essential to develop children's understanding of mathematics as purposeful talk can clarify, refine and extend understanding of important mathematical language and concepts. Through explaining their thinking, discussing their work with each other and involving children in solving problems that apply to everyday life, children can show their understanding of number processes and concepts.