In the Mathematics learning area, students learn about mathematics, what it is and how it is used in making decisions and solving problems. Mathematics involves observing, representing and investigating patterns and relationships in social and physical phenomena and between mathematical objects themselves. Mathematics is often defined as the science of space and number … [but] a more apt definition [is that] mathematics is the science of patterns. The mathematician seeks patterns in number, in space, in science, in computers, and in imagination. Mathematical theories explain the relations among patterns … Applications of mathematics use these patterns to ‘explain’ and predict natural phenomena … (Steen, L.A. (1988), “The science of patterns”, Science, 240, 29, 616.)
Mathematics can enhance our understanding of the world and the quality of our participation in society. Since it is valuable to us individually and collectively, it should be an integral part of the general education of every young person.
This statement is based on three premises:
- All students are capable of learning the mathematical ideas and skills that underpin a wide range of everyday uses and can benefit from doing so.
- All students have a right to learn mathematics in a way that enables them to see that mathematics itself makes sense, that they can make sense of mathematics, and that working mathematically can help them make sense of their world.
- For students to become confident and capable users and learners of mathematics we will need common high standards and flexible curricula which respond to students’ non-standard learning needs.
Being numerate is about having the disposition and competence to use mathematics to solve practical problems outside mathematics and as a tool for learning beyond the mathematics classroom. The Mathematics Learning Area takes a major, although not sole, responsibility for the development of students’ numeracy. Students should learn to read, write and speak mathematics in a variety of contexts and forms so that they can interpret and convey mathematical ideas, interpret prose containing mathematical forms, and continue to use and learn mathematics autonomously. Whether dealing with familiar or unfamiliar tasks, they need to:
- recognise when mathematics might help;
- choose appropriate mathematics;
- decide on levels of precision and accuracy;
- do the mathematics;
- interpret the results; and
- judge the reasonableness of results and appropriateness of the methods used.
Many students develop strong views about mathematics during their schooling: what it is about, who it is for, and what kind of people need it and are good at it. Some are effectively excluded from some of life’s opportunities because they, and others, assume that they cannot do ‘it. For this reason it is essential that school mathematics be as rewarding as we can make it, that all students feel, and be, able to learn mathematics, and that students develop a positive attitude to their own continued use of it. Every student needs to develop an awareness of the nature of mathematics, how it is created, used and communicated, for what purposes, and how it both influences and is influenced by the things we believe and the values we hold.
Mathematics Learning Area Outcomes
APPRECIATING MATHEMATICS Students appreciate the role mathematics has had, and continues to have, in their own and other communities. In particular, they:
- Show a disposition to use mathematics to assist with understanding new situations, solving problems and making decisions, showing initiative, flexibility and persistence when working mathematically and a positive attitude to their own continued involvement in learning and doing mathematics.
- Appreciate that mathematics has its origins in many cultures, and its forms reflect specific social and historical contexts, and understand its significance in explaining and influencing aspects of our lives.
Working Mathematically Students use mathematical thinking processes and skills in interpreting and dealing with mathematical and non-mathematical situations.
In particular, they:
- Call on a repertoire of general problem solving techniques, appropriate technology and personal and collaborative management strategies when working mathematically.
- Choose mathematical ideas and tools to fit the constraints in a practical situation, interpret and make sense of the results within the context and evaluate the appropriateness of the methods used.
- Investigate, generalise and reason about patterns in number, space and data, explaining and justifying conclusions reached.
NUMBER Students use numbers and operations and the relationships between them efficiently and flexibly. In particular, they:
- Read, write and understand the meaning, order and relative magnitudes of numbers, moving flexibly between equivalent forms.
- Understand the meaning, use and connections between addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.
- Choose and use a repertoire of mental, paper and calculator computational strategies for each operation, meeting needed degrees of accuracy and judging the reasonableness of results.
MEASUREMENT Students use direct and indirect measurement and estimation skills to describe, compare, evaluate, plan and construct. In particular, they:
- Decide what needs to be measured and carry out measurements of length, capacity/volume, mass, area, time and angle to needed levels of accuracy.
- Select, interpret and combine measurements, measurement relationships and formulae to determine other measures indirectly.
- Make sensible direct and indirect estimates of quantities and are alert to the reasonableness of measurements and results.
CHANCE AND DATA Students use their knowledge of chance and data handling processes in dealing with data and with situations in which uncertainty is involved. In particular, they:
- Understand and use the everyday language of chance and make statements about how likely it is that an event will occur based on experience, experiments and analysis.
- Plan and undertake data collection and organise, summarise and represent data for effective and valid interpretation and communication.
- Locate, interpret, analyse and draw conclusions from data, taking into account data collection techniques and chance processes involved.
SPACE Students describe and analyse mathematically the spatial features of objects, environments and movements. In particular, they:
- Visualise, draw and model shapes, locations and arrangements and predict and show the effect of transformations on them.
- Reason about shapes, transformations and arrangements to solve problems and justify solutions.
ALGEBRA Students use algebraic symbols, diagrams and graphs to understand, to describe and to reason. In particular, they:
- Recognise and describe the nature of the variation in situations, interpreting and using verbal, symbolic, tabular and graphical ways of representing variation.
- Read, write and understand the meaning of symbolic expressions, moving flexibly between equivalent expressions.
- Write equations and inequalities to describe the constraints in situations and choose and use appropriate solution strategies, interpreting solutions in the original context.
Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) is a research-based intervention program developed by Dr Ann Gervasoni of ACU in association with the Early Numeracy Research Project (1999-2002), focusing on the early years of schooling.
The EMU Program has been shown by detailed research to improve children’s learning and confidence with mathematics.
EMU is the Second Wave Intervention for Numeracy in Our Lady of Mercy Primary School. As part of the Our Lady of Mercy Numeracy Strategy, Miss Melissa Fulker have been trained as specialist intervention teacher who implements the EMU in the school with targeted groups of children who have been identified as being at risk in their numeracy learning.
Mathletics is Australia’s number one educational website helping kids from Kindergarten to Year 12 enjoy their maths and improve their results. Our Lady of Mercy Primary School offers Mathletics to students from Year 4 – 6
Why Choose Mathletics?
- Mathletics encompasses all areas of mathematics
- It consists of over 750 different learning activities for students aged from 5 to 18
- It responds to children’s individual strengths and weaknesses
- Instant feedback lets students know if they are on the right track allowing them to improve at their own pace
- Step by step animated support is like having a teacher there to help out 24 hours a day
- The ability to challenge other students in real-time in games of speed and skill help keep students coming back
How to help your Child get the Most out of Mathletics
- Make sure you take an active role in the progress of your child’s mathematics
- Encourage your child to use Mathletics at least 3 to 5 times per week
- Encourage you child to maintain balance between the Full Curriculum section and Live Mathletics
- Take the time to work together with your child. The Support Centre for each activity will help show how to solve particular problems.
- Encourage your child to attempt activities that challenge them rather then those that they find easiest.
- If the course is too difficult or too easy for your child, then change to a easier or more difficult course.
- Celebrate your child’s successes. Do things like print Certificates out and put them on the fridge and reward them for positive results.