Let’s Think Maths, a mastery approach to mathematics and the National Curriculum

More time in mathematics [should be] devoted to interaction between teachers and pupils about mathematics, especially in interactions with the whole class,

imageand in groups.

Desirable Outcome from Numeracy Matters: the preliminary
report of the Numeracy Task Force; p.53

The Let’s Think approach fits well with the requirements of the National Curriculum. Let’s Think Maths lessons taught as part of a balance of mathematical activities are consistent with the requirements of the National Curriculum. However, Let’s Think Maths aims to promote children’s understanding of the underlying mathematical ideas rather than to teach specific skills or procedures as highlighted in the National Curriculum. Thus, it is important to emphasise here that the National Curriculum indicators do not give a full flavour of the mathematical thinking within a lesson.

The lessons have been developed primarily for children working at or above age-related expectations in Upper KS2 (ages 9 to 11 years) However, in the development classes, children working below this level were able, with support, to successfully participate in the lessons. It has also been shown that the reasoning skills of older pupils can also be enhanced. The lessons are, therefore, age independent.

The Let’s Think approach enables pupils to build their understanding from the bottom up. Older pupils may have been introduced to mathematical ideas at a formal/abstract level without the opportunity to build on concrete understanding. These lessons will help pupils who struggle with abstract ideas and notation. In mixed- achieving classes, those pupils who seem secure with the abstract ideas can explore the relationship between the formal abstract level and the concrete practical ideas presented in the activities.

The Primary Let’s Think programme functions as a natural introduction to CAME in the secondary school, a programme of 30 lessons for Year 7 and Year 8. Indeed, one of the aims of the programme is to prepare children for secondary Let’s Think Maths and to maximise the impact these lessons have on pupils at Key Stage 3 and beyond. However, Primary Let’s Think is also ideal for use as a stand-alone programme for schools which have not implemented CAME or CASE (a parallel programme in science) in their secondary schools.

More than 35 lessons were considered for inclusion in the Primary Let’s Think programme; the 24 activities chosen were selected for their effectiveness during trialling. Most of the activities in the original Primary CAME programme were devised during the Leverhulme Numeracy Research Programme, the rest are Secondary CAME activities that have been refined and adapted for use with children in Year 5 and Year 6.

Although the Let’s Think activities have been adapted for use with a different age group, they retain the context used in their original form. For those children who study both primary and secondary Let’s Think activities, the overlap between some of the activities from the two programmes will allow children to progress even further in their mathematical thinking as less time is required for familiarisation with the context.


PCAME Copyright © by Mundher Adhami, Michael Shayer, Jeremy Hodgen, Ann Longfield, David Johnson, Sally Dubben, Rosemary Hafeez, Matt Davidson, Linda Harvey, Jean Hindshaw, Lynda Maple, and Sarah Seleznyov. All Rights Reserved.

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