Reasoning – Primary Innovation Project

Developing Proportional Reasoning in Year 5 through use of Cuisenaire

with Lorraine Hartley

Reasoning is a key factor in a pupil’s success in mathematics (research by Nunes, 2009).  It is critical that opportunities to develop mathematic reasoning skills are integrated fully into the curriculum.  Such skills support deep and sustainable learning and enable pupils to make connections in mathematics. Fractions is an area of maths that is rich and complex: teachers can find it challenging to teach and pupils tend to have procedural understanding, finding it difficult to draw on big ideas.

This project intends to develop mastery level proportional reasoning for Year 5 pupils, through an in depth focus on the teaching of fractions and development of reasoning through the use of Cuisenaire.   The project aims to develop teachers’ pedagogical approaches to develop reasoning in their classrooms, which can be applied elsewhere in the maths curriculum.

What does the project involve?

The project will involve one full day of training, followed by two half days of training and reflection, concluding with a final twilight sharing session.   These sessions will focus on development of reasoning, use of Cuisenaire and associated tasks related to Year 5 fractions content.  The sessions will not cover key fraction subject knowledge for teachers.  There is an additional day of subject knowledge training on fractions available at significantly subsidised rate for those teachers not fully confident in this area.  This is highly recommended.

There will be gap tasks following each of the training sessions, in which participants must trial the approaches explored in the training.  Participants are expected to work collaboratively, and, if they work in a 2FE school or larger, attend with at least one other Year 5 teacher and co-plan their lessons.   There will be school visits from the course leader to conduct lesson studies and analyse pupil understanding for a selection of participant schools, to aid reflection in session 2 and 3.

It is a project requirement that the identified Year 5 teacher/s attend ALL the sessions.  In addition, another KS2 teacher and maths lead must attend the final sharing session.

The project’s aims involve supporting teachers to:

  • Develop knowledge, understanding and experience of reasoning in relation to big ideas for fractions
  • Develop the teaching approaches required to increase pupils’ experience of proportional reasoning, language and problem solving
  • Develop increased understanding of how to use Cuisenaire as a flexible manipulative to develop conceptual understanding around fractions

Schools can choose to send up to three Year 5 teachers, dependent on their school size, but all teachers are expected to attend all days.  The project is suitable for both experienced teachers and NQTs. 

Venue: Fox Primary School, Kensington Place, W8 7PP


Session 1. 9:15-3:45pm   Thursday 9th January

Optional Fractions Subject Knowledge Training

Thursday 16th January   Subsidised rate £75 – per school.

Session 2.  1:30pm-5pm  Thursday 30th January

School Visit Session: Date to be decided on Session 1

Session 3   1:30pm-5pm Thursday 13th February

Sharing Twilight:  4:00pm-6:00pm  Thurs 5th March

Lunch will not be provided.

In order to apply to be a part of this project, you will need to fill out an Expression of Interest Form.  The deadline to fill this out is Monday 16th September 2019


*The London Central and West Maths Hub reserves the right to charge a £75 fee for non-attendance to the sessions or for cancellations to any of the sessions with less than 14 days’ notice.