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Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract Approach

One of the key learning principles behind mathematics teaching at Hollywood Primary School is the concrete, pictorial, abstract approach often referred to as CPA. This is a three step instructional process to teach mathematics concepts. This model develops pupils' mathematical ability and confidence making mathematics more engaging and interesting.


The "doing" stage. During this stage, students use concrete objects to model problems. This approach brings concepts to life by allowing students to experience and handle concrete objects.



Pictorial is the "seeing" stage. Visual representations of concrete objects are used to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object they handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem.


Abstract is the symbolic stage where children use abstract symbols to model problems. Students will not progress to this stage until they have solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages. Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level using only numbers and mathematics symbols (+ - x /).


At Nedlands Primary school we have a whole school program following iMaths. iMaths fosters inquiry by immersing students in real-life maths investigations. Your students can design surfboards, go on adventures around the world and create their own breakfast cereal – all in the name of maths!

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