Our numeracy program focuses on learning about number skills and other mathematical concepts using hands on materials, pictures and mathematical language. Students work in a range of groupings to practise new skills in the context of real life problems, and are encouraged to discuss their mathematical thinking when solving various problems.
From the beginning of prep our focus is on thinking like a mathematician; finding maths in the world around us, thinking, talking and reflecting on our understandings. Below is an outline of theworking mathematically process taken from the Mathematics Centre website. This approach applies to students from Prep to adulthood!
Working Mathematically Process
First give me an interesting problem.
When mathematicians become interested in a problem they:
- Play with the problem to collect & organise data about it.
- Discuss & record notes and diagrams.
- Seek & see patterns or connections in the organised data.
- Make & test hypotheses based on the patterns or connections.
- Look in their strategy toolbox for problem solving strategies which could help.
- Look in their skill toolbox for mathematical skills which could help.
- Check their answer and think about what else they can learn from it.
- Publish their results.
Questions which help mathematicians learn more are:
- Can I check this another way?
- What happens if …?
- How many solutions are there?
- How will I know when I have found them all?
When mathematicians have a problem they:
- Read & understand the problem.
- Plan a strategy to start the problem.
- Carry out their plan.
- Check the result.
A mathematician’s strategy toolbox includes:
- Do I know a similar problem?
- Guess, check and improve
- Try a simpler problem
- Write an equation
- Make a list or table
- Work backwards
- Act it out
- Draw a picture or graph
- Make a model
- Look for a pattern
- Try all possibilities
- Seek an exception
- Break the problem into smaller parts
If one way doesn’t work I just start again another way.