Year 1: bar models to help with addition and subtraction

Bar modelling is a powerful visual method of helping children with their calculating. The term is used extensively in Singapore where children make excellent progress with Maths and is now being used more and more in this country. It is a pictorial approach to calculating, using visual models and is a half way step between the starting point of using real world, concrete objects (e.g. 10 cubes and picking up 3 and seeing how many are left) and the abstract algorithm (e.g. 10 − 3 = ?).

It is powerful because it clearly displays the calculation and it avoids words, which can often lead to difficulties. From the evidence it really does seem to help children to understand what it is they are trying to do; something which can be lost if they are presented with written methods too early. Children using the maths mastery approach are actively encouraged to draw their own bar models to help with the calculations.

We have a great selection of pages which use bar models and our latest sets help children visualise whether the question is an addition or a subtraction. They keep to numbers up to 20 so are ideal for children who are starting off with using the addition and subtraction signs.

Go to Year 1 Subtraction