At Menstrie Primary School we have started to develop a focus on developing conceptual understanding alongside procedural fluency.
We use problem-solving, investigations and challenging problems and intelligent practice that reinforces pupils’ procedural fluency.
We have discovered that although the children can answer questions in rote fashion they do not have a deep understanding of the concepts being taught and this creates problems when revisiting parts of the curriculum.
Using a mastery approach allows the children to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts using a variety of strategies and as a result they are able to embed the strategies fully. Using a concrete material, pictorial and abstract approach to maths allows the children to develop their maths skills that are unique to them.
We have been using this approach for the last year in Primary 5 to Primary 7 and there has been a marked development in their attainment and more importantly their maths confidence and enjoyment.
for a guide on what the concrete, pictorial, abstract approach (CPA) means.
Questions to Deepen Mathematical Understanding
How did you get your answer? Can you describe the method/pattern/rule to us all? Can you explain why it works? What could you try next? Would it work with different numbers? What if you had started with… rather than…? What if you could only use…? Is it a reasonable answer/result? What have you learned or found out today? If you were doing it again, what would you do differently? What are the key points or ideas that you need to remember for the next time?