What is Mathematics?
At Elmwood Normal School we believe the focus of Mathematics is the study and use of patterns and relationships in the mathematical strands.
Why we teach Mathematics
We consider Mathematics to be an essential part of our school curriculum as it develops the students’ ability to think creatively, critically, strategically, and logically. Through the teaching of Mathematics we want our learners to learn to structure and to organise, to carry out procedures flexibly and accurately, to process and communicate information, and to enjoy intellectual challenge.
How we teach Mathematics
To gain a sound understanding of the processes involved in Mathematics the learners proceed through the steps outlined below. Interchange classes are ability-based.
We understand that the intention of the numeracy project is not to teach each and every strategy. Instead, our approach is to first teach the best strategy to the whole class. Those children who are not able to grasp this strategy (for whatever reason) are then shown alternative strategies with which to tackle the problem. This approach removes the inherent confusion that results from teaching students many different strategies to solve a single operation. Being able to confidently use a single strategy to solve a problem is undoubtedly more beneficial than being able to use several strategies poorly. We also hold the position that if a problem cannot be solved in a purely mental way quickly, then this problem should be solved with a written algorithm.
Where possible collaborative learning should be used as the default approach for learning. This approach allows learners to supply explanations, elaborate their reasoning, and reflect on their own and others’ solution processes.
We also understand that learners need to acquire the basic math skills of solving;
Basic Facts (Knowledge) – Routine Number Problems – Routine Word Problems – Authentic Word Problems, this is a progression.
Through a sound foundation in these basic math skills, learners are then able to progress to solving complex, unfamiliar, and non routine tasks.