What is Mathematics?
Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships among quantities, in space, shape, measure, data and chance. It allows for ways of thinking and of solving problems. It provides us with effective means for investigating, interpreting, communicating, and making sense of the world in which we live and beyond. Mathematics relies on logical thinking, has universal applicability, and offers Science a foundation of truth and a standard of certainty.
Mathematics has a dual nature, utilitarian, and aesthetic:
(i) Utilitarian Aspect. Mathematics is useful. It equips learners with the necessary knowledge to help them understand and interact with the world around them. Moreover, it forms the basis of science, technology, architecture, engineering, commerce, industry, and banking. It is also increasingly being used in the medical and biological sciences, economics, and geography. This pervasiveness makes Mathematics one of the most important subjects in the school curriculum.
(ii) Aesthetic Aspect. Mathematics is a beautiful subject with an evolving body of knowledge that is characterised by its order, precision, conciseness, and logic. Mathematics is also characterised by a search for pattern and relationships within and between mathematical objects. Indeed, mathematicians seek patterns in numbers, in space and in motion and such random processes as changes in weather. As such Mathematics should offer learners intellectual challenge, excitement, satisfaction, and wonder.
The importance of Mathematics
The study of Mathematics helps develop the ability to think logically, creatively, critically, and strategically. Mathematics allows us to structure and to organise, to carry out procedures flexibly, efficiently, and accurately, to process and communicate information and to make informed decisions. Mathematics serves to create models, predict outcomes, and assess risks, to conjecture, to justify and verify, and to seek patterns and generalisations. Mathematics is also essential to make reasonable estimates, calculate with precision, and understand what degree of accuracy is valid in different situations.
Strands in Mathematics
The teaching and learning of Mathematics is based on four main strands of Mathematics:
Through Number, students develop number sense and computational fluency by understanding the way numbers are represented and the quantities they represent. Students can calculate mentally and on paper, make estimates and approximations and check the reasonableness of their results.
Students learn to recognise patterns and relationships in Mathematics and in the real world. They can use symbols, notation, graphs and diagrams to represent and communicate mathematical relationships and concepts.
Shapes, Space and Measures
Students acquire knowledge of the geometrical properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes. They develop spatial awareness and recognition of the geometrical properties of everyday objects. Students also gain an understanding of systems of measurement.
Data Handling and Chance
Students learn to gather, organise, and analyse data. They present data in tables, charts, and a variety of graphs. They can use data to estimate the likelihood of an event occurring.
SEAC Mathematics Resource Packs