The CPA (Concrete - Pictorial - Abstract) Approach

The Concrete – Pictorial - Abstract (CPA) approach is a way of learning that uses hands-on resources and visual images in stages to support a child to develop a secure understanding of abstract mathematical topics (Mastery)

  • C - New mathematical concepts are introduced to children through the use of concrete resources (e.g. real objects such as apples, counters, Numicon, Dienes blocks etc).
  • P - When the children are comfortable in solving problems with concrete objects, they can begin to understand and solve problems with pictorial representation.
  • A - Children are then given problems to solve in their abstract form i.e. with numbers or other symbols.

Using these progressive steps can support children to gain a better understanding of the relationship between numbers and the real world, and therefore help secure their understanding of the mathematical concept they are learning.

Here are 2 examples illustrating the CPA approach

“Achievement Partnership Success”