Welcome to the Mathematics and Numeracy Area of Learning Experience/ICalculate curriculum. A truly encompassing discipline, it surrounds us and underpins so many aspects of our daily lives, such as architecture, art, music, money and engineering. And while it is creative and beautiful, both in its own right and in its applications, it is also essential for progress in other areas of learning and experience.
What is more, numeracy – the application of mathematics to solve problems in real-world contexts – plays a critical part in our everyday lives, and in the economic health of the nation. It is imperative, therefore, that mathematics and numeracy experiences are as engaging, exciting and accessible as possible for learners, and that these experiences are geared towards ensuring that learners develop mathematical resilience.
Progression in the Mathematics and Numeracy Area of Learning and Experience (Area) involves the development of five connected and interdependent proficiencies:
- Conceptual understanding
- Communication using symbols
- Logical reasoning
- Strategic competence
What matters in this Area has been expressed in four statements which support and complement one another. Together they contribute to realising the four purposes of the curriculum:
- The number system is used to represent and compare relationships between numbers and quantities
- Algebra uses symbol systems to express the structure of mathematical relationships.
- Geometry focuses on relationships involving shape, space and position, and measurement focuses on quantifying phenomena in the physical world.
- Statistics represent data, probability models chance, and both support informed inferences and decision
Mathematical activities teach learners not to be afraid of unfamiliar or complex problems, as they can be reduced to a succession of simpler problems and, eventually, to basic computations. As they reflect on the approaches used, and on their own mathematics and numeracy learning, learners can develop metacognitive skills which can help them identify steps to take to improve performance. Through this they can become ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives.
Experiences in this Area also contribute to developing enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work. These can encourage learners to be creative because it asks them to play, experiment, take risks and be flexible in tackling mathematical problems.
Mathematics and numeracy can also help learners become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world by providing them with tools to analyse data critically, enabling them to develop informed views on social, political, economic and environmental issues. It encourages clarity of thinking, allowing learners to understand and make reasoned decisions.
In this Area, learners can encounter contexts involving health and personal finance, where they may develop the skills needed to manage their own finances, make informed decisions and become critical consumers. Experiences in this Area will help them learn to interpret information and data to assess risk, and to use their numeracy skills across the curriculum to make effective choices, all of which can help them become healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.