Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Reasoning can be seen as “the glue that helps mathematics make sense”, enabling children to make use of all their other mathematical skills. When pupils first encounter a new challenge, it's their reasoning skills that help them identify what prior knowledge they can make use of, based on their past mathematical experiences. Reasoning helps pupils use logical thinking, choose the best or most efficient way to start tackling a problem, identify what they do and don’t know, pick an approach from those that they’ve used before, decide if the answer is sensible, or find all solutions when there are multiple possibilities.

Request a quote

I really like how it enables pupils to develop communication skills as well as reasoning skills as they have to talk through the problems and explain their thinking

Maths Lead, Hartlepool
Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Reasoning can be seen as “the glue that helps mathematics make sense”, enabling children to make use of all their other mathematical skills. When pupils first encounter a new challenge, it's their reasoning skills that help them identify what prior knowledge they can make use of, based on their past mathematical experiences. Reasoning helps pupils use logical thinking, choose the best or most efficient way to start tackling a problem, identify what they do and don’t know, pick an approach from those that they’ve used before, decide if the answer is sensible, or find all solutions when there are multiple possibilities.

I really like how it enables pupils to develop communication skills as well as reasoning skills as they have to talk through the problems and explain their thinking

Maths Lead, Hartlepool

Four Key Principles for Developing Maths Reasoning at KS2

Why is mathematical reasoning so important in KS2?

Reasoning skills are crucial for developing confident and able mathematicians, and a core element of success in KS2 assessments. It is clearly prioritised in the national curriculum, where the second aim states that all pupils will

Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2
Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Why is mathematical reasoning so important in KS2?

Reasoning skills are crucial for developing confident and able mathematicians, and a core element of success in KS2 assessments. It is clearly prioritised in the national curriculum, where the second aim states that all pupils will

Maths Reasoning and Problem Solving in the KS2 SATs

Over 71% of the 500 teachers that we surveyed about the 2019 maths SATs said that they found this year's Reasoning Paper 1 to be harder than last year’s. The majority of schools who responded felt they need to invest in teaching reasoning and problem solving earlier to improve their KS2 maths attainment.

Reasoning can be hard to define, but if you look at what pupils are required to do when they’re reasoning it’s a combination of evaluating answers, picking strategies, drawing conclusions, describing solutions, and - importantly - reflecting on how they reached them.

This means that, as well as systematic thinking, it is essential that pupils develop an ability to articulate it. They need to learn to do so clearly, succinctly and logically. This can be a real challenge, especially in a busy class of 30 pupils with lots of curriculum content to cover.

Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2
Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Maths Reasoning and Problem Solving in the KS2 SATs

Over 71% of the 500 teachers that we surveyed about the 2019 maths SATs said that they found this year's Reasoning Paper 1 to be harder than last year’s. The majority of schools who responded felt they need to invest in teaching reasoning and problem solving earlier to improve their KS2 maths attainment.

Reasoning can be hard to define, but if you look at what pupils are required to do when they’re reasoning it’s a combination of evaluating answers, picking strategies, drawing conclusions, describing solutions, and - importantly - reflecting on how they reached them.

This means that, as well as systematic thinking, it is essential that pupils develop an ability to articulate it. They need to learn to do so clearly, succinctly and logically. This can be a real challenge, especially in a busy class of 30 pupils with lots of curriculum content to cover.

How Third Space Learning supports all KS2 pupils in their maths reasoning

At Third Space Learning, our programmes of 1-to-1 interventions and high quality resources provide schools with a wide range of opportunities for developing reasoning skills, both in whole class settings and through 1-to-1 conversations.

Every week, a school's chosen target pupils receive an online 1-to-1 lesson from their own dedicated maths tutor, delivered in our online classroom. This helps plug gaps, address misconceptions and provide extended opportunities for reasoning. Alongside this, Third Space Learning schools get access to hundreds of resources which enhance whole-class teaching and support the development of reasoning and problem solving for all pupils.

Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2
Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

How Third Space Learning supports all KS2 pupils in their maths reasoning

At Third Space Learning, our programmes of 1-to-1 interventions and high quality resources provide schools with a wide range of opportunities for developing reasoning skills, both in whole class settings and through 1-to-1 conversations.

Every week, a school's chosen target pupils receive an online 1-to-1 lesson from their own dedicated maths tutor, delivered in our online classroom. This helps plug gaps, address misconceptions and provide extended opportunities for reasoning. Alongside this, Third Space Learning schools get access to hundreds of resources which enhance whole-class teaching and support the development of reasoning and problem solving for all pupils.

Prompt pupils to articulate their thought process

Rather than moving on once a pupil reaches their solution to a problem, pause and spend some time getting them to explain. How did they reach the answer? Why did they do that? How do they know their answer is correct? This allows for greater learning gains and depth of understanding.

Often it’s the quietest learners who benefit most from careful, probing questioning. 1-to-1 lessons provide an ideal opportunity for this. Our tutors work 1-to-1 with pupils, talking to them over a headset, Tutors personalise lessons for each pupil and prompt them to explain how they reached an answer and to justify and prove that they are right.

Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2
Four strategies for pupil success in mathematical reasoning at KS2

Prompt pupils to articulate their thought process

Rather than moving on once a pupil reaches their solution to a problem, pause and spend some time getting them to explain. How did they reach the answer? Why did they do that? How do they know their answer is correct? This allows for greater learning gains and depth of understanding.

Often it’s the quietest learners who benefit most from careful, probing questioning. 1-to-1 lessons provide an ideal opportunity for this. Our tutors work 1-to-1 with pupils, talking to them over a headset, Tutors personalise lessons for each pupil and prompt them to explain how they reached an answer and to justify and prove that they are right.