Primary Maths: Variation to Deepen Mathematical Understanding

   1 CPD points
 4 modules
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In this course, we will look at variation theory and its relevance to teaching and learning in mathematics.  We will unpack the reasons why it is one of the five big ideas behind NCETM’s mastery approach and how it can be used to create deep learning experiences for our students.  We will consider variation in the context of intelligent practice and how we help our students build their knowledge frameworks in systematic ways that support conceptual understanding and effective retrieval. 

This course is separated into four modules of learning:

Module One: Variation Definition and Importance
In this module, we’ll unpack the concept of variation and apply this to the teaching and learning of mathematics.  As importantly, we will explore what variation is not and the common misconceptions that we have when seeing it in practice.  We will look at how variation fits into the NCETM’s five big ideas when teaching for mastery and look at the different types of variation and how they are used.  At the end of the module, we will start to consider key features of lessons that systematically use variation as a core teaching strategy. 

Module Two: The Variation Theory
This module looks at the origins of variation theory – how it came about and for what purpose. We will have an opportunity to apply variation theory to classroom practice, thinking about how to build it into our examples so that mathematical concepts are uncovered for pupils step by step.  We will also consider variation theory under the lens of intelligent practice and how we can use this theory to help us provide deep challenges for our learners.

Module Three: Variation in Practice
In this module, we take the theory and put it into practice using examples across different topics and age groups.  We start with early learning, using systematic variation to introduce addition and subtraction of 0 to 9.  We continue this with real examples from place value, division, simultaneous equations and practical problem-solving. 

Module Four: Applying Variation Theory in Your Practice
In our final module we look at how we can apply variation theory to our own practice.  This will give us a chance to evaluate each aspect of our planning and delivery to make sure we are being consistent and systematic as we help our pupils uncover new concepts and explore how they can be used and applied in different problems.  We have also suggested a lesson study approach as a collaborative model to review and develop practice in small teams, working together to plan, teach and evaluate lessons that include systematic variation so that you can review its impact on your learners. 

Study time: 60 mins