At The Birkenhead Park School, we believe that every child can learn mathematics, given the appropriate learning experiences within and beyond the classroom. Our curriculum reflects our high expectations for every child.
Problem solving is at the heart of mathematics and through the structure of our curriculum, we are able to create the optimal conditions for students to learn through problem solving and to learn to solve problems confidently.
Mastery objectives are cumulative and students should continually use prior knowledge alongside new learning in as many future lessons as possible as well as in other areas of the curriculum and beyond. This continual recapping supports a deep conceptual understanding of how those concepts interact with others in mathematics.
Principles and Approaches
The Mathematics Mastery Approach uses 6 principles which include;
Growth Mind set
Students’ conceptual understanding is developed through the use of multiple representation, since a key part of a 'deep understanding' in maths is being able to represent ideas in lots of different ways and to move fluidly between them. Depth of understanding is also developed through students’ communication about maths; using the correct mathematical language, being asked to explain, justify and prove their ideas deepens a student’s understanding of a concept. Another way The Birkenhead Park School develop a depth of understanding is to encourage students to think mathematically. We can do this by providing lots of opportunities for students to investigate through carefully planned questions that get them to sort and compare, seek patterns and look for generalisations. Every Mathematics lesson provides opportunities for students to communicate and develop mathematical language. Students should revisit mathematical language from previous years and explore the concepts in greater depth. There should be opportunities for students to clarify vocabulary and explore activities that develop an understanding of the different concepts. Students should have the opportunity to practise using vocabulary and apply their knowledge and understanding in different contexts that require other areas of mathematics. In addition, open ended, pre planned questioning is used to develop students’ ability to compare, modify and generalise, all building a deeper understanding of mathematics. Students are encouraged to explore, recognise patterns, hypothesise and generalise in their learning. With careful planning, even seemingly straight-forward tasks can be converted into opportunities for students to investigate, seek solutions, make new discoveries and reason about their findings.
The Mathematics Mastery approach focuses on Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) representations in order to support deeper thinking. The Birkenhead Park School, uses these strategies in order to meet the needs of all students:
Concrete - the doing - At the concrete level, tangible objects are used to approach and solve problems. Almost anything students can touch and manipulate to help approach and solve a problem is used at the concrete level. This is a 'hands on' component using real objects and it is the foundation for conceptual understanding.
Pictorial - the seeing - At the pictorial level, diagrams and other visual representations (e.g. bar models, number lines, diagrams, charts and graphs) are used to approach and solve problems. These can often be pictorial representations of the concrete manipulatives, in which case it is important for the teacher to explain this connection.
Abstract - the symbolic - At the abstract level, symbolic representations are used to approach and solve problems. These representations can include numbers or letters. It is important for teachers to explain how symbols can provide a shorter often more and efficient way to represent mathematical relationships and operations.
Finally, The Maths faculty at The Birkenhead Park School promote a growth mindset belief – that all children can achieve regardless of their background. To encourage children to develop a growth mindset around maths, the way in which we speak to pupils is very important. We promote our school values of positivity, ambition, resilience and thoughtfulness in all lessons to help enhance the belief that they CAN do Maths.
If you have any questions about our Mathematics Curriculum, please contact Miss Clarke, Head of Mathematics.