Knowledge and skills in mathematics


St Michael's teach the Australian Curriculum content and assess to the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards.

The mathematics component of the curriculum encompasses measurement, shape and number, and their many applications to students’ everyday lives. Mathematics provides opportunities for students to engage in investigations into measurement, shape and number, and allows them to communicate in a language that is concise and unambiguous. Mathematics concepts and skills can also be applied to solve a variety of real-life problems. Students apply their mathematical reasoning to a number of situations in order to find an appropriate answer to the problems they wish to solve.

Within each of these interconnected strands, there should be a balance between the acquisition of knowledge and skills and the development of conceptual understanding. The mathematics knowledge component is arranged into five strands: data handling, measurement, shape and space, pattern and function and number.

In the number and pattern and function strands, students and teachers inquire into number systems and their operations, patterns and functions. They become fluent users of the language of mathematics as they learn to understand its meanings, symbols and conventions.

Data handling, measurement and shape and space are the areas of mathematics that other disciplines use to research, describe, represent and understand aspects of their domain. Mathematics provides the models, systems and processes for handling data, making and comparing measurements, and solving spatial problems. These three strands are, therefore, best studied in authentic contexts provided by the transdisciplinary units of inquiry.

The mathematics component of the curriculum also provides opportunities for students to:

  • count, sort, match and compare objects, shapes and numbers
  • recognize and continue patterns (and relationships)
  • use mathematical vocabulary and symbols (including informal mathematics)
  • develop and implement/trial strategies for investigating a range of mathematical questions or problems
  • select and use appropriate mathematics (operations, computations and units) to solve numerical and word problems
  • make reasonable estimates
  • analyse, make predictions and infer from data
  • become confident and competent users of ICT in mathematics learning.

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Mathematics strands

Data handling
Data handling allows us to make a summary of what we know about the world and to make inferences about what we do not know.

  • Data can be recorded, organized, represented and summarized in a variety of ways to highlight similarities, differences and trends; the chosen format should illustrate the information without bias or distortion.
  • Probability can be expressed qualitatively by using terms such as “unlikely”, “certain” or “impossible”. It can be expressed quantitatively on a numerical scale.

Measurement To measure is to attach a number to a quantity using a chosen unit.
Since the attributes being measured are continuous, ways must be found to deal with quantities that fall between numbers. It is important to know how accurate a measurement needs to be or can ever be.

Shape and space The regions, paths and boundaries of natural space can be described by shape. An understanding of the interrelationships of shape allows us to interpret, understand and appreciate our two- and three-dimensional world.

Pattern and function To identify pattern is to begin to understand how mathematics applies to the world in which we live. The repetitive features of patterns can be identified and described as generalized rules called “functions”. This builds a foundation for the later study of algebra.

Number Our number system is a language for describing quantities and the relationships between quantities. For example, the value attributed to a digit depends on its place within a base system. Numbers are used to interpret information, make decisions and solve problems. For example, the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are related to one another and are used to process information in order to solve problems. The degree of precision needed in calculating depends on how the result will be used

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