by Emmanuel Church of England Primary School, Camden
Claire Burns; Madeline Bond; Fran Guglielmoni
We had found fractions presented one of the biggest barriers to progress in mathematics for our Year 6 children. They often brought a number of misconceptions that we had to resolve before we could move on. Our aim was to develop an approach to teaching the topic that we could share and develop across the school.
We wanted to test out some ideas on the teaching of fractions. It was a topic in mathematics that we all had found one of the more difficult to teach and one that children had often had difficulty in grasping. As the revised National Curriculum places greater emphasis on the topic in Year 5, we wanted to start addressing these changes.
We have identified misconceptions in students’ understanding of algebra throughout KS3, KS4 and KS5. A lot of the problems seem to stem from students not really appreciating why we use algebra. Some students see it as a disparate and unnecessary part of maths, a set of rules that needs to be learned in order to answer test questions.
Problem solving and reasoning are aspect of mathematics we often assume children can just pick up through practice. We knew our children were not strong in these areas and so we wanted to find out how we might teach these skills more effectively to our children so they became better at using them across the mathematics curriculum.
The lesson study group realised that to make progress with fractions, children need sufficient time to explore, establish and reinforce their basic understanding of fractions. Read their findings and how this has influenced their teaching.
Using resources is a crucial part of mathematics learning for children. However, just providing them with resources is not enough. We cannot expect children to know how to use a resource unless these have been modelled for them and used by them to carry out specific activities.
Find out what this school’s lesson study told them about the use of practical resources in mathematics learning.
by Beulah Junior School, London Borough of Croydon
Barbara Simpson; Julian Rafot, Clair Budd
Many Year 5 pupils have difficulty in expressing their ideas and thinking in mathematics; they struggle with the language of mathematics. This case study recognises that teaching reasoning and explaining thinking are important skills and that children need help in learning how to use and apply the language of mathematics.