I gave the Opening Plenary
at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference on April 10. Caleb Gattegno, ATM founder, proposed that learners experience structure and relationships through actions and operations with coloured rods. This is a physical experience that leads to virtual actions and mental images, thence to recording with formal systems of symbols. This approach embodies Gattegno’s belief in algebra before arithmetic.
In this plenary I will explain how we are integrating Gattegno’s approach to early algebra in our school.
I explained how we have been able to put algebra at the heart of KS1 to develop children’s mathematical understanding and confidence. I shared some of the exciting work that children have completed and illustrated how Gattegno’s Numbers in Colour textbooks have inspired our lessons and invigorated our approach to teaching across the school.
I described how we are working with other schools in the Tizard network on the largest systematic study of Gattegno’s approach to learning mathematics since the 1960s.
I am writing an article based on my presentation for a forthcoming edition of Mathematics Teaching. The ATM Conference Officer's report from May MT is below.