A solid foundation in mathematics is very important for all children. Mathematics provides more than opportunities to calculate; it enables information to be handled and communicated and problems to be solved. Mathematics is used in all aspects of everyday life as well as in the sciences, business and technology.
The national guidelines for Mathematics 3-18 identify four areas to be studied by all pupils. The first of these is INFORMATION HANDLING.
This is concerned with the gathering , organising, display and use of facts and figures and will involve pupils in, for example, doing surveys, using diagrams and tables, making graphs and using spreadsheet databases.
The second is NUMBER, MONEY AND MEASUREMENT in which pupils learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide in a variety of contexts. They also learn to use money, work with time, and investigate length, weight, area and volume.
The third is SHAPE, POSITION AND MOVEMENT in which pupils learn about geometric shapes and develop understanding of, for example, symmetry, angles and compass directions.
In each of these three areas, pupils should develop PROBLEM-SOLVING AND ENQUIRY SKILLS which make up the fourth area. The development of such skills will encourage pupils to think about what they are doing in mathematics to question and explain.
As well as doing mental calculations and working on paper, pupils should also work with calculators. Pupils should learn to use them to extend, not replace, their ability to calculate. Computers also feature in the mathematics curriculum, as in most areas of the curriculum.