B.E.R.C.S. Cards

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 9.15.45 AM

head in sandBERCS is instuctional goal

The BERCS cycle is simply a way to remember and apply the components of effective teaching. When shared with your students, they are able to begin to share the responsibility for, and develop personal practice goals around, becoming more competent and accomplished learners.

BERCS in circle

B.E.R.C.S is a highly spatial model. Spatial skills are the skills for “doing” and “remembering”. That is what makes them so important to include in your teaching. Thinking and reasoning are spatially grounded tasks… spatial reasoning is now considered the number one indicator for success in mathematics and science.




Teachers plan with BERCS in mind:

Image 3


Students Practice with BERCS in mind

Eight WC card

 This card states 8 but only 5 dots are showing. How many are covered by the square?

What would you build to explain how you solved this? 

What representations would explain how to solve it and why the solution works?

Compare your thinking to mine. 

I built 8 with blocks and covered 5. 8 – 5 = 3 because 3 + 5 = 8

I saw a ten frame in my head. 5 + 3 = 8 so 8 are missing. 8 – 3 = 5

I saw a 5 Chunk and thought, 3 more is 8. So 3 are missing. 3 + 5 = 8  therefore 8 – 3 = 5


BERCS cards can be used as:

  • task centres in a guided math classroom.

  • one on one practice with an adult or peer

  • opener tasks to engage learners

  • exit cards to check ability and understanding

  • assessment cards

  • springboards to lesson

  • regular practice focused on building mental math


AT HOME: BERCS cards provide parents with engaging tasks for practising important skills.


The goal is to help student develop connected understandings of addition and subtraction. Addition and subtraction are inverse relationships. This is a key understanding that students will need all through the Grades. The program of studies for Grades 1 to 3 includes think addition for subtraction as a strategy. This is the common sense, everyday, practical numeracy our students need to master. STOP teaching silly rules that confuse and confound. TEACH KIDS TO THINK !!!

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.24.27 AM

The idea of determining what is missing in a relationship links to multiplication and 2 digit puzzlesdivision as well.

I see 90 * ? = 7200.

I know 90 * 80 = 7200 so 80 is one of the factors missing.

80 * 90 = 7200 therefore

7200 ÷ 90 = 80

ONCE students have a connected understanding of how area models support learning and remembering multiplication and division facts this deck puts emphasis on using what you know about multiplication to solve what appear to be division problems…


Does this distribution apply to the card above?

Demonstrate with a proof.


Practise does matter. BERCS cards connect thinking and practice so that students actually remember and transfer the learning.