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Maths mastery approach – ‘Do it, twist it, solve it’ explainer

What's included?

Three-page PDF

Key Stage



Years 3-6


This PDF explains all about the ‘Do It, Twist It, Solve It’ maths mastery approach. Learn how you can implement it in your classroom…

Steve Lomax created the maths mastery approach ‘Do It, Twist It, Solve It’ (or ‘Do It, Secure It, Deepen It’).

This maths mastery approach supports teaching for ‘secure and deep understanding’. Hundreds of schools have used it since 2014.

The lesson design was inspired by a mathematics visit to Shanghai and working with schools in the UK. This includes working with headteachers Karen Horne (Mansfield Green Academy) and Anthony Mitchell (Glenfall Primary School).

It embraces the core principles of Variation Theory. It supports teachers in designing examples and exercises to secure and deepen pupils’ understanding of mathematical ideas. Highlight essential features of a concept through the use of:

  • ‘What it is’ (standard)
  • ‘What it is also’ (non-standard)
  • ‘What it is not’ (non-examples)
  • ‘Apply understanding to solve familiar and unfamiliar problems’
Do itFocus on the ‘What it is’ and ‘What it is also’. Simple standard examples followed by non-standard examples to challenge procedural fluency.
Twist itFocus on the ‘What it is not’. Active argument tasks – eg True/False, ‘Do you agree?’ – focusing on misconceptions and opportunities to reason about teacher-initiated mistakes to challenge conceptual understanding.
Solve itOpportunities to apply understanding by solving familiar and unfamiliar problems including empty box; find the missing symbol; ‘here’s the answer, what’s the question?’; always/sometimes/never etc to challenge mathematical thinking.

Get more resources from CanDoMaths at and follow on Twitter at @MathsCanDo.

Maths mastery approach
Maths mastery approach – ‘Do it, twist it, solve it’ explainer

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