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Bar Models

What are Bar Models?


Bar modelling is part of the concrete > pictorial > abstract (CPA) sequence when teaching many maths topics. The process starts with using real-world, tangible representations before moving onto showing the problem using pictorial diagrams, and then introducing the abstract algorithms and notations (such as the +, -, x and / symbols).


The bar model is a visual strategy to help solve number problems using different sized rectangles to represent numbers. The rectangles or 'bars' are proportional so that a larger number in a problem is represented by a larger bar.

It does not provide the answer but gives the user an understanding of what calculation is needed to find the answer. Bar models are visual representations of problems or ideas that can be used for any of these operations: subtraction, addition, multiplication and division.

In word problems, bar models have the big benefit of helping children to decide which operations they can use or how to visualise problems.


Why use bar modelling?

Sometimes calculations and word problems are difficult for a child to visualise in their head. Bar models help them to see the maths more clearly. Once your child becomes confident in using bar models, you can encourage the use of them to help their learning in many different areas of maths.

What is Bar Modelling? By Maths Mastery Expert Dr Yeap Ban Har (Part 1) | Maths - No Problem!

Watch series consultant, Dr Yeap Ban Har, explain what the bar model is and how students use this principle to visualise mathematical concepts to solve probl...

Different Types of Bar Models