The mathematics curriculum presents a vision of mathematics that is designed to meet the diverse needs of students in every school and student. The curriculum represents high academic standards across a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. It establishes the basis for a challenging program of study that will increase student achievement in mathematics.
The mathematical topics are organized by strands: Algebra, Data Analysis, and Probability, Measurement, Number and Operations, Geometry. These strands extend the K-12 mathematics, providing continuity, and ensuring a smooth transition across elementary, middle, and high school programs. Algebra is listed as a topic in the K-5 curriculum to alert K-5 teachers that the foundation of algebraic skills is being formed at the elementary level.
The mathematics curriculum is designed to support teachers as they instructionally maximize each child's mathematical experiences. Teachers are urged to provide for movement through the curriculum regardless of a student's current grade level. The use of concrete objects (manipulatives) and visual models is vital for students to understand concepts and explore processes. Knowledge acquisition requires a transition from concrete through pictorial, to the more abstract for all students at all levels and ages.
Incorporating technology in instruction is imperative in order to empower students to keep pace with the information age and to be competitive in the job market; it will enhance and provide flexibility in the learning environment. Calculators and computers are essential tools for learning and doing mathematics at all grade levels. Students should be able to solve practical problems, investigate patterns, explore strategies, and focus on the process of solving problems rather than on tedious computation unrelated to applications.
Communication is a vital link. Thinking, speaking, writing, and applying mathematics are invaluable assets. Teaching students these skills can be facilitated through questioning, discussions, reports, projects, journals, oral presentations, experiments, summarizing collected data, and hypothesizing. Collectively, these experiences help students make transitions between informal, intuitive ideas to more abstract and symbolic mathematics language. Reading, writing, and discussing mathematics promote clarity of thought and facilitate deeper understanding of concepts and ideas. Students will improve and gain confidence in their own abilities to explain.