Book: Visible Maths by @MrMattock via @CrownHousePub

Published by Crown House

Visible Maths - Using Representations And Structure To Enhance Mathematics Teaching In Schools













  • Great ideas to use manipulatives and visual representations to help understand complex concepts.
  • Relevant for anyone who teaches maths in primary or secondary schools.
  • Filled with easy-to-understand images to help explain concepts.
  • Covering vectors, number lines, algebra, graphs and so much more.
  • Helps teachers and students understand the processes and links to previous mathematical learning

Getting mathematical concepts to stick with students is one of the more challenging aspects of teaching the subjects, especially to pupils whose own belief is that they’re not good at maths, and give up early on in their mathematical adventures. Being able to make mathematical concepts relevant to students as well as making them relatable to real-world problems is essential in ensuring that skills learned can be applied once faced with the world of work.

Usually, being able to visualise mathematical concepts to students is an important step in helping them understand techniques to illustrate connections with previous learning, helping them master maths notions to progress their skills. The importance of visualising concepts is clearly integral for Peter Mattock who has collected together a valued resource of mathematical activities that can be used with manipulative across the age and ability range.

Aimed at teachers of maths in primary and secondary school settings, the book is split into 16 chapters exploring familiar mathematical strands such as the basic functions, but then expands onto powers and routes, fractions, irrational numbers, and concluding chapters all looking at the friendly algebraic problems. Exploring the ‘Laws of arithmetic’ is also explored, as many of the rules explained need understanding by pupils – so Peter showcases strategies that can be used with students to help embed their understanding. The use of Cuisenaire rods (see is advocated throughout, and manipulating these resources is a great way to support learning about complex mathematical concepts. Furthermore, using Algebra Tiles (such as also helps to explain many difficult concepts that students struggle with when this topic is introduced, and maths counters (such as also support many topic areas explained in the book.

Each chapter is introduced with a clear explanation to the topic being covered, but quickly gets into how to use manipulatives and representations to help secure knowledge with the reader, and then (more importantly) the students. Peter keeps his language throughout accessible, and will appeal to experienced and newer teachers in offer different ways of teaching (often) complex mathematical notions. Some pupils seem to easily pick up maths by the ‘talk and chalk’ method of teaching, but the creative use of manipulatives and representations in this book can help more students become more confident with their mathematical learning, building connections with their previous learning to the concept being taught.

This is certainly a book that should be regularly referred to by teachers and would be ideal within the staffroom CPD library, to help teachers become more confident in their own teaching of some complex mathematical concepts, as well as inspiring a shift to more practical, relevant and linkable mathematical learning for all students.

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About @digicoled 446 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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