Numicon is a multi-sensory approach to mathematics using structured apparatus designed to give students the understanding of number ideas and number relationships that are essential for success in maths.View the Numicon Resource Guide
Making Numbers Real – Introduction to Numicon
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.
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 Gathering Evidence for Numicon Numicon Research Summary Numicon Project Report What Works for Children with Mathematical Difficulties? The Effectiveness of Intervention Schemes Numicon Impact Study 2011
- 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 with progressive activities and assessment signposts.
- The Numicon activities ensure Australian educators are providing learning opportunities that correlate to the Australian Curriculum Number and Algebra Strand.
The Australian Curriculum and Numicon
The Numicon key mathematical ideas and subsequent activities strongly support the teaching and learning as described in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics Number and Algebra content strand. The Numicon kits have been correlated at year level to the Australian Mathematics Curriculum.
The Number and Algebra content strand of the Australian Mathematics Curriculum states:
“… Students apply number sense and strategies for counting and representing numbers. They explore the magnitude and properties of numbers. They apply a range of strategies for computation and understand the connections between operations. They recognise patterns and understand the concepts of variable and function. They build on their understanding of the number system to describe relationships and formulate generalisations. They recognise equivalence and solve equations and inequalities…”
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.
The 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.View Teaching Sequence
The most important element of the Numicon 1-3 kits are the printed teaching materials. These contain teaching guidance and activities, with step-by-step illustrated support and ideas to help students make connections and apply their understanding. The teaching materials include:
- Getting started – a useful introduction for new users.
- Putting the Numicon approach into practice – this provides suggestions for teaching approaches, organisation and the learning environment.
- Key mathematical ideas – this section supports teacher’s subject knowledge of the key mathematical ideas covered in the activities.
- Long and medium term planning support – easy to use, detailed and high-level planning sheets.
- Assessment tools/signposts – a variety of tools to help monitor students progress, including suggestions of what to look and listen for during the activities and advice on how to support those who struggle to make progress.
- Photocopy masters – photocopiable templates to support activities in the classroom.
Firm Foundations Teaching Guide
Numicon Firm Foundations File is the full set of teaching materials to support Numicon Firm Foundations, and includes: Getting Started Guide, Teaching Guide, 14 double sided Activity Cards, Assessment Tools and Photocopy Masters.View Sample Pages
Kit 1 Teaching Guide
This Binder is the full set of teaching materials to support Numicon Kit 1, and includes: Getting Started Guide, Teaching Guide, 26 double sided Activity Cards, Assessment Tools and Photocopy Masters.View Sample Pages
Kit 2 Teaching Guide
This Binder is the full set of teaching materials to support Numicon Kit 2, and includes: Getting Started Guide, Teaching Guide, 42 Activity Cards, Assessment Tools and Photocopy Masters.View Sample Pages
Kit 3 Teaching Guide
Teaching Guide for Numicon Kit 3.View Sample Pages
Kit 3 Activity Handbook
Activity Handbook for Kit 3.View Sample Pages
Closing the Gap with Numicon Teaching Guide
Includes: Getting Started Guide, Teaching Guide, 18 Detailed, Activities, Assessment Tools and Photocopy Masters.View Sample Pages
1st Steps with Numicon in the Nursery Teaching Guide
The Teaching Guide from the 1st Steps with Numicon in the Nursery Kit.View Sample Pages
Investigations with Numicon Teaching Guide
10 challenging open-ended mathematical investigations with a low threshold and high ceiling. Aimed at students aged 8 to 11.
All the activities start at a low threshold and use the Numicon Shapes and Cuisenaire Rods as a starting point to allow the majority of pupils to be involved at a basic level. The activities have also been designed as open-ended investigations and give plenty of opportunity for gifted and talented children to develop their skills and the take the challenges to higher levels.
Among other ideas the challenges focus on the relative values of numbers that are shown clearly by the Numicon Shapes, in ways not provided by numerals. By using the Numicon Shapes and Cuiseniare Rods investigation is dynamic, helping children to recognize that numbers form a highly organized system full of many patterns.
The investigations give children opportunities to use and apply their number understanding and to extend their mathematical thinking. There are opportunities for conjecture, trial, improvement, logical thinking about numbers and careful mathematical deduction. Children will also see the advantage of setting out their work systematically to reveal emerging patterns and demonstrate their thinking.
Resources required for working with 6 pupils (must be purchased separately):
- 3 x Feely Bag
- 1 x Numicon Shapes (set of 80)
- 1 x Cuisenaire Rods (large set of 304)
- 3 x Number Rod Track
- 3 x Numicon 10s Number Line