Reasoning is now seen as the magic ingredient in maths teaching. Being able to reason enables children to justify what they are doing, make predictions, generalise and explore; in other words they will be able to make sense of mathematics.
As you are no doubt aware, the writers of the National Curriculum clearly think it is very important. Reasoning and problem solving are key elements of the new National Curriculum and this is reflected in the latest KS1 and KS2 SAT papers and the types of question asked. A typical question in last year’s paper was:
3 pineapples cost the same as 2 mangoes.
One mango costs £1.35
How much does one pineapple cost?
If children are going to be really successful in SATs then they must be able to reason and know what to do to solve problems.
But SATs are not the ‘be all and end all’ of maths teaching. In the real world, when making decisions on best buys, whether it is in the supermarket or an online mobile phone tariff, being able to reason is becoming more and more important. It is critical that children develop these skills.
Unfortunately, in the past reasoning has not been a naturally occurring part of many maths lessons; learning the standard form of written multiplication being one example where endless practice has often triumphed over understanding the processes. Teachers have had to change and adapt and they have made great strides forward in developing reasoning skills, but they need support, including an excellent supply of the right materials.
URBrainy has a special Reasoning/Problem Solving category for each year group packed full of interesting and well-tried ideas which have been developed over many years.
We are now also developing our bar modelling resources which is a great way to help children succeed with solving word problems. There is much more of this to come in the next few months.
With new resources coming every fortnight, we have a vast range of fantastic material available to help with all aspects of maths; well over 10,000 pages in total. Oh, and by the way, we also have a great collection of English resources as an added bonus!