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Singapore Maths teaches St Anthony's pupils problem solving

The highly scaffolded framework helps pupils master maths problems

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 13, 2017 | Teaching

St. Anthony’s School for Girls has introduced a new Mathematics curriculum which has seen the pupils master problem solving.

The Golders Hill based school initially trialled the Singapore Mathematics technique to the Year 3 pupils. Following a successful pilot of the Oxford University Press scheme, Inspire Maths, which has been written to deliver the Singapore maths approach. It will now be rolled out to Years 1 to 4. 

Inspire Maths is a highly scaffolded learning framework with problem solving at its heart. It helps children to learn to use heuristics to solve problems. Heuristics refers to the different strategies that children can adopt to solve unfamiliar or non-routine problems. These strategies include drawing the bar model, pattern spotting, using diagrams and estimating. The CPA approach (concrete, pictorial and abstract) helps children achieve secure number sense which is an understanding of what numbers really represent and how to use them mathematically.

By ‘seeing’ the maths through the use of concrete apparatus or visual representations, the pupils can gain a greater insight into the problem, which is the biggest issue for girls taking the 11+. This new technique is important in helping them to master their problem solving objectives for their own year group on a deeper level, benefiting them ahead of the 11+ exams in the future. The programme is highly structured and ensures every topic is covered in depth rather than more shallow ‘surface level’ learning.

The pupils find the programme challenging but are coping very well thanks to the ‘practice makes permanent’ concept underpinning the initiative - Laura Martin, Headteacher of St. Anthony’s School for Girls

Headteacher Laura Martin commented: “This new approach has given the girls the skills to feel confident when tackling challenging maths problems. They are able to select and apply the techniques taught through the programme to various problem solving scenarios, guaranteeing successful preparation for 11+ exams. The feedback from parents has been very positive as the pupils find the programme challenging but are coping very well thanks to the ‘practice makes permanent’ concept underpinning the initiative.”

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