How does this support our approach to teaching?
The philosophy behind Power Maths is that being successful in maths is not just about rote-learning procedures and methods, but is instead about problem solving, thinking and discussing. Many people feel they were taught maths in a way that was about memorising formulas and calculation methods, then having to apply them without any real understanding of what or how these methods actually work. Power Maths includes practice questions to help children develop fluent recall and develop their conceptual understanding. Power Maths uses growth mindset characters to prompt, encourage and question children. They spark curiosity, engage reasoning, secure understanding and deepen learning for all.
How will the lessons work?
Each lesson has a progression, with a central flow that draws the main learning into focus. There are different elements, informed by research into best practice in maths teaching, that bring the lessons to life:
Discover – each lesson begins with a problem to solve, often a real-life example, sometimes a puzzle or a game. These are engaging and fun, and designed to get all children thinking.
Share – the class shares their ideas and compares different ways to solve the problem, explaining their reasoning with hands-on resources and drawings to make their ideas clear. Children are able to develop their understanding of the concept with input from the teacher.
Think together – the next part of the lesson is a journey through the concept, digging deeper and deeper so that each child builds on secure foundations while being challenged to apply their understanding in different ways and with increasing independence.
Practice – now children practice individually or in small groups, rehearsing and developing their skills to build fluency, understanding of the concept and confidence.
Reflect – finally, children are prompted to reflect on and record their learning from each session and show how they have grasped the concept explored in the lesson.
What if a child needs a confidence boost, or wants to be challenged further?
Power Maths is based on a ‘small-steps’ approach, sometimes called a mastery approach. This means that the concepts are broken down so that each child can master one idea without feeling over-whelmed. There are a range of fluency, reasoning and problem solving questions in each lesson that are designed to support the different needs and confidence levels within a class, while at the same time fostering a spirit of working and learning together. Each lesson includes a challenge question for those children who can delve deeper into a concept. Within a lesson, some children will move on to activities which stretch their thinking further.
What happens if a child doesn't understand a concept?
At St James's teachers and support staff, if needed, will work with a child after a lesson to secure a concept. Pre teaching before a lesson may also be used. During a lesson teachers will use strategies to check who understand the concepts being taught, for example by asking the class to answer a question on their mini whiteboards and showing the teacher all at once. Using this information they will then create a 'guided group' of pupils who will sit together for that lessons and work closely with the teacher or support staff.