The Numicon approach is multi-sensory, using apparatus and focusing on Action, Imagery and Conversation. The program of activities with Numicon Shapes and rods helps students understand number relationships, spot patterns and make generalisations. The Numicon Shapes and rods help teachers and students to communicate their ideas. Students are encouraged to work together on activities which emphasise applying understanding to solve problems.The Numicon teaching approach helps students communicate their mathematical thinking to teachers. This in turn helps teachers ‘see’ a students’ understanding.
By watching and listening to what students do and say, the Numicon approach provides learners with the opportunity to play to their strengths, thereby releasing their potential to enjoy, understand and achieve in mathematics. This enjoyment in achievement is also shared by educators and parents.
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Numicon maths shapes and numeracy teaching resources grew out of a classroom based research project funded by the Teacher Training Agency carried out between 1996 and 1998 by Numicon authors Ruth Atkinson, Romey Tacon and Dr Tony Wing. They sought to discover why it was that so many children failed in arithmetic where they were successful in all other curriculum areas. They wanted to find out whether using visual structured imagery would support children’s arithmetic understanding. Through the research a program of teaching activities was devised using Numicon maths shapes in a multi-sensory way that would be easily followed by teachers and make mathematics fun for learners. This program has formed the basis of the Numicon teaching program.
Learning about numbers with patterns- using structured visual imagery (Numicon) to teach arithmetic
- Seeing pattern in numbers is a key part of mathematical thinking.
- The Numicon approach plays to the strong sense of pattern that is present in all learners.
- The Numicon Shapes and Cuisenaire Rods give learners ‘objects to think with’.
- The Numicon approach is supported by a series of teaching guides.
- Educators also benefit from a program of professional development.
The resources can be used for a whole-class, small groups and for individual support. Teachers report a marked increase in student’s confidence when they are working with Numicon and that leads to raised achievement.
Our core resources and kits cover number concepts contained in the Australian Mathematics Curriculum - Foundation to Year 4. The Closing the Gap Resource is suitable across the primary years for students who are experiencing significantly greater difficulty learning mathematics than the majority of students of their age.