In the PYP, mathematics can be viewed as a vehicle to support inquiry, providing a global language through which we make sense of the world around us. It is intended that students become competent users of the language of mathematics, and can begin to use it as a way of thinking, as opposed to seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized.
It is important that learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning through ever-increasing levels of abstraction, starting with exploring their own personal experiences, understandings and knowledge. Additionally, it is fundamental to the philosophy of the PYP that, since it is to be used in real-life situations, mathematics needs to be taught in relevant, realistic contexts, rather than by attempting to impart a fixed body of knowledge directly to students.
How children learn mathematics can be described using the following stages:
- 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 object and mathematical processes.
- Understanding and Applying: Through authentic activities, students independently select and use appropriate symbols and processes to record their thinking. Through guided inquiries, the students get the opportunity to use their new understandings in real-life ways.
Throughout the Units of Inquiry, students will engage with experiences through five strands for mathematics, such as data handling, measurement, shape and space, pattern and function, and number.
Students at YIS:
- Live: in appreciation of the intrinsic fascination of mathematics and exploring the world through its unique perceptions.
- Learn: that mathematics is a highly effective tool for solving problems for describing and analysing the world around them.
- Lead: by viewing themselves as “mathematicians” through explaining their ideas, theories and results with others.