How can teachers help children to develop reasoning skills? What is reasoning and how do we teach it? Much is being said in schools and education about the importance of reasoning skills. This book explores what reasoning is and what it is not. It includes examples of how reasoning in primary mathematics and science classes can develop. It shows how a connection between the ‘skills’ of mathematics and science can help children to gain a better understanding of reasoning. What is a conjecture? What makes you think? What makes you think about your thinking? What does reasoning look like? With links to classroom practice and examples of effective teaching throughout, this book not only provides an exploration of what reasoning is and why it’s important - it also show you how to develop children’s reasoning skills in your classroom.

A rationale for reasoning

A rationale for reasoning

In this chapter

By the end of this chapter you will:

  • have considered definitions of thinking and reasoning;
  • understand how thinking and reasoning are similar yet different;
  • be able to begin to identify skills of reasoning;
  • have reflected upon the place of reasoning in at least two primary STEM subjects.


This chapter will introduce you to a number of important ideas around how primary-aged learners can, do and could reason within their mathematics and science education. As well as explanations and illustrations the chapter will give examples and opportunities to reflect and reason yourself.

The ability to question, pose, investigate and solve problems is at the heart of mathematics and science. However, until a problem has first been understood, learners may struggle to engage ...

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