Mount Charles introduced Power Maths - an exciting mastery approach – for our maths lessons across the whole school in September 2020. The program has been recommended by the Department of Education, to ensure that the aims of the National Curriculum are achieved. At the heart of Power Maths is the belief that all children can achieve. It is built on a growth mindset and problem-solving approach.
The key aims of Power Maths:
* Keeping the whole class progressing together.
* Providing rich problem solving to challenge and engage every child.
* Practical assessment to revel misconceptions and inform speedy interventions.
* Nurturing a growth mindset and building children’s confidence in maths.
Concrete, pictorial and abstract
Children are encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking (the C-P-A approach). This helps children tackle concepts in a tangible and more comfortable way.
C = Concrete. A familiar object that a child can manipulate to help bring the maths to life. Children make the connection between the number and the object. It could be cakes, cars or children!
P = Pictorial. This uses pictorial representations and diagrams of objects to ‘see’ what maths problems look like. This might be drawn counters which represent each child in the maths problem.
A = Abstract. The ultimate goal is for children to understand abstract mathematical concepts and symbols.
At Mount Charles we have developed the Power Maths structure to suit the needs of our children so each lesson follows the ‘I do, We do, You do’ approach.
I do – The teachers use the Discover and Share aspect to model their thinking and teach the necessary methods, models or facts.
We do – Think together. The teacher and the class work together to solve the problems. Children might work independently or together. The teacher may start different children on different questions and move them onto the ‘I do’ when they are ready.
You do – Children use their workbooks to practice the learning. Each question in the workbooks varies one small element to move the children on in their learning. The reflect section at the end, allows the children to share their depth of understanding before moving on.
The children have access to the mark schemes and are encouraged to mark as they work, or together with the class at the end. The teacher is then able to address any misconceptions before the end of the lesson.
Our staff ensure that each lesson has appropriate resources to scaffold the children’s learning. When children might find it tricky to start independently in the practice book, our teachers provide an appropriate strategy to support. These take many forms: manipulatives, modified Power Maths questions or simplified questions on the same topic are just some examples.
Oracy in maths
Oracy plays an integral role in our maths lessons as staff and children focus on expressing their knowledge and understanding orally. The staff model and encourage the children to use the correct mathematical terms in full, every time they give an answer. For example, referring to ‘equal parts’, not ‘parts’. By using the correctly terms consistently, precise maths language will be a familiar and non-threatening part of children’s everyday maths experience. Teachers and children practice speaking in full sentences to explain or respond. When children use complete sentences, it both reveals their understanding and embeds their knowledge. We enable and support the children with this by using sentence stems. Examples of sentence stems are: ‘there are … groups’ and ‘there are … in each group.’