Constructing meaning: Students construct meaning from direct experiences such as using equipment or materials and explaining or exploring.
Transferring meaning: Students begin to connect symbols with objects and mathematical processes.
Understanding and applying: Through authentic activities, students independently select and use appropriate symbols and processes to record their thinking.
Students learn mathematics by constructing meaning through ever-increasing levels of abstraction, starting with exploring their own personal experiences, understandings and knowledge.
Students learn by using concrete problems before they can work at an abstract level. The nature of learning through inquiry in the PYP naturally promotes making sense of problems and persevering in solving them.
In order to be able to use mathematics as a tool, students need to be able to go from the specifics of the situation to the more abstract mathematics underlying the problem. Students are scaffolded to develop their understandings from the concrete to the more abstract ‘transferring meaning into symbols’. Students at Footscray Primary follow a structure during a numeracy lesson. The first stage is the warm-up, during which students engage in an activity to stimulate their thinking and practise previous or new learning. The second stage is the student learning activity, which involves a clear learning intention, introduction and specific skills which will be focused on. The third stage is the reflection, in which our learners are encouraged and supported to reflect on their thinking.
Students discuss the content of the lesson, their achievements and areas for improvement as well as their level of effort. The numeracy lesson is supported by the use of concrete materials, visual representations, targeted teaching and the ongoing development of academic vocab. Our aim at Footscray Primary is to foster an open mind set to mathematics, engaging our students in rigorous, developmentally appropriate learning.