# Convince me the bar model is right

(10 Posts)

Year 3 teacher here ... using the bar model ... but I am not convinced! I feel it works great for fractions of amounts and I can see the attraction for algebra later on, but for your bog standard word problems, I just don’t think it works that well for me. I have read up on it, I have had CPD, I’ve tried it out but I honestly don’t get why teachers rave over it. The weaker children don’t understand where to put the numbers, the average children do (mostly) and go through the motions and the higher achievers get held back. What am I doing wrong? Am I blind to the benefits? Any thoughts or advice is welcomed!

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Fri 05-Apr-19 05:23:12

I think some children just need to see it modelled over and over to understand, just as they would need to see any method modelled multiple times to grasp the idea. I like Thinking Blocks on the IWB https://www.mathplayground.com/thinkingblocks.html

Soontobe60 Fri 05-Apr-19 05:35:13

The thing is, if you're like me, you've learned in a different way. You almost have to undo what you've already learned before you can learn a different method.
( I struggle with bar modelling too!)

Soontobe60 Fri 05-Apr-19 05:38:40

This is quite a good blog.
thirdspacelearning.com/blog/teach-bar-model-method-arithmetic-maths-word-problems-ks1-ks2/

Remember, you need to start with concrete things, then pictorial then finally abstract bars.

Thank you! I have seen these previously but it’s good to be reminded 😊 The reminder about seeing things concrete to abstract is good - and undoing what I already know. I think part of the problem is that for me. Back to the grindstone of planning!!

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Fri 05-Apr-19 06:19:53

I really don't feel it undos what I know already. It's just a visual representation

Handofglory Fri 05-Apr-19 06:26:01

My dd is not a a natural at maths and has struggled all through school but can beat me hands down at fractions equations using the bar model. (It makes no sense to me but it works for her!)

She also ‘got’ multiplying 3 digit numbers very quickly using it and whizzed onto using more traditional written methods with a decent amount of understanding of what she was doing.
I wish her school had introduced it sooner!

That’s good to hear! I like hearing positives like that about it. My Yr 5 daughter is the opposite actually - she feels it hinders her, but I actually think her teacher makes no secret of the fact she hates it and therefore passes this onto the children in her class. I try my hardest not to do that as I WANT it to work.

OP’s posts: |
Handofglory Fri 05-Apr-19 08:33:11

I can imagine it does hinder those who already ‘get it’ especially if it’s introduced later on. But if done from the start or with strugglers I reckon it’s pretty good

Friedspamfritters Fri 05-Apr-19 09:03:39

Definitely don't force the high achievers to use it. They should be familiar with it but it's enormously frustrating for them to have to use an algorithm for questions they can do quickly in their heads.

If you really want them to use it just invent a difficult enough problem for them so it's actually useful.

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