Year 6 Bar modelling seems to have become more popular recently, and there’s a whole series of questions that are designed to encourage students to use this technique. The idea is that bar models help students to visualise word problems, and importantly, decide which operations to use.

A bar model is a pictorial representation of a ‘reasoning’ question, and allows children to make sense of the problem. While there are many ways of drawing diagrams to represent maths questions, bar models are simple, effective and almost universally used. In the USA they are referred to as ‘strip diagrams,’ in Japan ‘tape diagrams.’ At the time of writing, the technique is becoming increasingly popular with the adoption of teaching methods, such as ‘Singapore maths.’

It’s important to note that bar modelling isn’t a method of calculation – only a way of making a decision on how to progress to the next stage.

This question is fairly typical of a ‘greater depth’ analysis … it is more likely to be taught in the classroom, rather than appear on a SATS paper:

“Jenny has a tin of biscuits. Each day she eats the same number of biscuits. After six days she has 4/5 of the tin left. After another 10 days, she has 42 biscuits left. How many biscuits did she have to start with?”

Some students will find this type of question fairly challenging, although it’s an indication of the type of thinking encouraged with Year 6 students.

Watch on YouTube

Jenny has a tin of biscuits – bar modelling question

I hope the videos help and all very best with your SAT’s. If you have been helped I’d be very grateful if you could add a comment either to the end of this post, or on the YouTube channel. Every comment helps to keep the site near the top of the search results …. although, more importantly, your comment might encourage other students.

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