The ‘bar model’ is one of the big things coming through as part of the mastery Maths approach; it’s a concept borrowed from Asian countries which perform very well in Maths. The idea is that a simple bar model can help children see which numbers will make up the ‘whole’ and which make up the ‘parts’ and how exactly they fit together. Included in my resources are a single bar model which I find particularly valuable for problem solving, as well as a ‘double-decker’ bar model which I find useful for helping children to understand that either side of an = sign are balanced.
Worksheets (differentiated): Starting with smaller numbers with a bar model already completed. Moving through to larger numbers and the children having to complete a bar model themselves. Highest level of challenge has children working on problems with more than two numbers, eg 15 = 4 + __ + 2. Further differentiation for lower-achieving children would be done by giving them counters to find a whole, pulling out one part and then counting what they are left with to find the missing number.
The resource is set up so that you can print the answers for each level on the back. I found this very valuable for children to self-check as they went along to make sure they were on the right track. The children are still responsible for completing their own bar model at Mountaineer level, which allows the teacher to check that they understand how the numbers in a bar model fit together.
Extension challenge questions: These fit with the ‘Greater Depth’ level of Year 2 and have the children having to find the missing number to balance a calculation like 58 – __ = 24 + 12.
Five word problems with five bar models: This was used as a paired task. The children had to cut out the problems and bar models and then match them up. After doing this, they ranked the problems based on how difficult they thought it would be to find the answer. After that, they actually found the answer to the problems. Finally, they created a word problem of their own with a matching bar model.