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Year 6 - Mathematics - Curriculum Background & the Importance of Mathematical Learning

Mathematics: Purpose of Study (Mathematics is a GCSE core compulsory subject)


Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

Aims

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

* become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.

* reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.

* can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions. Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas.

 

FOR PARENTS ONLY

THE REAL SECRET OF MATHEMATICS

In his insightful book, The Equation for Excellence: How to Make Your Child Excel at Math, Arvin Vohra reveals a simple, yet powerful, concept that most people overlook. In a nutshell, he points out that you don’t do mathematics because you are smart; you do mathematics because it makes you smarter.

Mathematical thinking builds the brain, just like weight-training builds the muscles. Mental discipline and clear thinking are required to master mathematical concepts. Both will make your children better at whatever they love. The best part is, whether they love art, building, logic, or debate, their brains are being better equipped in the here and now.

Mathematics is about making connections and seeing patterns. The concrete and abstract thinking required by mathematics builds the brain’s muscles, which in turn prepares you for other academic pursuits. The study of mathematics is actually a springboard to increasing overall intelligence.

We all know that Leonardo da Vinci was a gifted artist. What most people don’t realise is that he was also a brilliant mathematician. Da Vinci used the concept of “connessione,” or connectedness, to create notebooks filled with ideas, formulas, and theories that were very advanced for his time.

The secret recipe to mathematics appreciation involves the internal motivation to increase intelligence rather than the external motivation of using it someday. Instead of telling your children that they will need geometry if they decide to become an engineer, tell them that mathematics is making them a better, cleverer (artist, singer, scientist, manager, leader, football player, writer, teacher) right now.

HOW MATHEMATICS BUILDS THE BRAIN

How does mathematics do this? Mathematics trains the brain to see connections and builds the neural pathways that make the brain stronger for all other things. These pathways serve as building blocks for myriad interests and subjects by:

• Creating the basis for systemic thinking.

• Developing the ability to analyse and solve problems.

• Stretching the mind to work on unfamiliar tasks with confidence.

• Developing the sequencing skills critical to arriving at accurate results or logical conclusions.

• Promoting caution and care in thinking by deciphering complex mathematical problems to arrive at an accurate answer.

• Learning through the trial and error to integrate different principles to arrive at a logical conclusion.

These are cognitive resources that your child can draw on right away, regardless of his or her future career plans.

This is why we study mathematics - and why it challenges thinking.