Let's Think Early Years

Thanks to funding from the Institute for Effective Education, four alliance schools are taking part in a research project exploring the impact of teaching Let’s Think activities to Reception children. A further four schools will act as school level controls for the research project.

Let’s Think activities involve teachers introducing a challenging problem, set in a familiar or engaging context. Pupils work as a group to solve the problem, listening and building on each other’s ideas, and exploring and debating the merits of different strategies. This ‘episode’ of learning is then repeated but at a more challenging level should the teacher judge that pupils are emotionally and cognitively ready. At the end of the activity, the teacher leads a metacognitive discussion which explores what was challenging in the activity and what strategies the children used to solve this challenge. The activities support teachers to identify and unpick mathematical misconceptions, acting as assessment activities that support tailored teaching beyond Let’s Think.

The activities move pupils progressively through more challenging aspects of six schemata of Piagetian concrete operations: seriation, classification, time sequence, spatial perception, causality, rules of a game (combines two schemata: theory of mind and concrete modelling).

Both Ofsted 2011 and EEF (2018) recently identified Let’s Think (previously known as Cognitive Acceleration in Maths Education, CAME) as an effective approach to mathematics teaching. EEF notes the large and long-lasting effect sizes with Y1-2 pupils. Whilst there is extensive research to demonstrate Let’s Think’s impact on pupils over 5, there has not been any research into the impact on Reception age children.

Participating schools:

  • Alfred Salter Primary (intervention)
  • Charles Dickens Primary (intervention)
  • Friars Primary (control)
  • Galleywall Primary (control)
  • Ivydale Primary (intervention)
  • John Donne Primary (intervention)
  • John Keats Primary (control)
  • St John’s and St Clement’s CE Primary (control)

Read more about the research project.