2017 Numeracy Overview St. Mary’s Primary School Williamstown

Junior: Prep - Grade 2 

Mathematics in the junior school involves exploring mathematical concepts using a range of different hands-on, concrete materials. The children are given time to explore and test mathematical ideas and are encouraged to ask questions and explain their thinking. Explicit teaching is used to introduce new ideas, redirect understanding and clarify misconceptions that may be held. Student progress is carefully tracked, allowing teachers to address the individual needs of their students. There is a strong focus on developing number sense, patterning and visualisation that provides a foundation for future mathematics learning. The Measurement and Geometry Strand has also been nominated as a particular focus for our school in 2017. In the junior years, mathematic concepts are delivered through authentic learning tasks that connect to everyday mathematical experiences such as sharing. Mathematics at St. Mary’s is foremost about developing understanding. Formal symbols are introduced when the children can demonstrate and articulate the mathematics knowledge represented by such symbols. The children are explicitly introduced to mathematical language and are required to articulate their reasoning at all stages of their learning.

Formal testing includes: SINE- Success in Numeracy Education, PASA- Pattern and Structure Assessment and LAP-Literacy Assessment Program, ARCOTS-Mathematics Developmental Continuum.

Senior: Grade 3 - Grade 6

Mathematics in the senior years continues to build and expand on the skills and language developed in the junior years. Hands-on materials and visuals are still critical resources that supports the understanding of more abstract concepts. Formal mathematical symbols are introduced and there is a strong emphasis put on the setting out of workbooks. In addition to any working out, this includes providing an explanation, articulating their reasoning behind their thinking.

Mathematical investigations are a priority in the senior year classrooms. The children are given time and resources to investigate challenging problems transferring and applying learnt strategies from explicit teaching sessions. Though these investigations, the children continue to develop mathematical language to discuss their findings and bring together various aspects of mathematics found in the three strands of the Australian Curriculum: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability. These investigations challenge existing conceptions and using mistakes as a vehicle for learning. They aim to put all students in the “Zone of Confusion” (termed by Peter Sullivan), while enabling and extending prompts are used to support and extend students. An emphasis is placed on the struggle of learning and the importance of an open mindset and perseverance to get through the “Zone of Confusion” so that students can experience deep, rich learning experiences. St Mary’s is utilising the ‘reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry’ Problems by the Australian Academy of Science in collaboration with the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. ‘reSolve:Mathematics by Inquiry’ contains authentic and quality investigations and professional learning. The problems are structured and purposeful investigations of mathematical and realistic contexts.

The Australian Mathematics Trust Program begins in Grade three and progresses to Grade six. There are opportunities for children to be involved in the Australian Mathematics Challenge stage and progress through to the Enrichment stage, to which there are four levels offered: Ramanujan (Grade 3), Newton (Grade 4, 5 & 6), Dirichlet (Grade 5 & 6)  and Olympiad (Grade 6- by invitation only). This program aims to support children in realising their intellectual potential in mathematics, by providing challenging investigations that stretch their thinking.

Formal testing includes: SINE-Success in Numeracy Education, LAP-Literacy Assessment Project, ARCOTS-Mathematics Developmental Continuum, NAPLAN- National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy, PAT-Progressive Achievement Tests and AMT-Australian Mathematics Trust

Growth Mindset

At St. Mary’s we acknowledge that all children are capable of being successful in mathematics. We teach our children that mistakes are critical to the learning process and that we start from ‘not knowing’ and move to ‘knowing’, and in doing so there is a Zone of Confusion (Termed by Peter Sullivan) that we must work through. We encourage our children to talk about what is ‘difficult’ and to share strategies, enabling a dialogue of support.

The Maths Curriculum can be found at

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