The study of math is a critical aspect of every child’s education. It is foundational in equipping students with critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
Grades 1 to 8
The Ontario Curriculum of Mathematics at the elementary level focuses on the following goals:
- helping students develop an understanding of math
- teaching important math facts, skills, and procedures
- enabling students to develop the ability to apply the seven processes of math (listed below)
- encouraging a positive attitude towards math
To help achieve these goals, the math Curriculum identifies that students learn in different ways and encourages the use of different teaching strategies so that every student has the best possible chance of mastering essential math skills.
Teachers aim to give students not just a theoretical knowledge of math, but also a strong grasp of its practical application in the world around them.
There are seven key math processes taught to math students in the elementary years:
- problem solving
- reasoning and proving
- selecting tools and strategies
Additionally, the Curriculum identifies five mathematical focus areas:
- number sense and numeration
- geometry and spatial sense
- patterning and algebra
- data management and probability
The teaching of these math concepts spans the basics of counting, patterns and shapes in the lower grades, to more complex math problems in the later grades. In all cases, math teachers aim to integrate these concepts and apply them in practical ways whenever possible.
Grades 9 and 10
The math courses in Grade 9 and 10 are offered in two types – academic and applied.
The Academic or “Principles” courses develop students’ knowledge and skills through the study of theory and abstract problems. These courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and explore related concepts as well. They incorporate practical applications as appropriate.
The Applied or “Foundations” courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject, and develop students’ knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples. Familiar situations are used to illustrate ideas, and students are given more opportunities to experience hands-on applications of the concepts and theories they study.
When choosing courses in Grades 9 and 10, students and parents should carefully consider students’ strengths, interests, and needs, as well as their postsecondary goals and the course pathways that will enable them to reach those goals.
Both the academic and applied math courses in Grade 9 include the strands of Number Sense and Algebra, Linear Relations, and Measurement and Geometry. The applied course also includes an Analytic Geometry strand.
The strands in the Grade 9 courses are designed to build on those in Grade 8, while at the same time providing for growth in new directions in high school.
The strand Number Sense and Algebra builds on the Grade 8 Number Sense and Numeration strand and parts of the Patterning and Algebra strand. The focus of study in the Grade 9 courses is linear relations, with some attention given to the study of non-linear relations. The strand Measurement and Geometry extends students’ understandings from Grade 8 to include the measurement of composite two-dimensional shapes and the development of formulas for, and applications of, additional three-dimensional figures.
In the Analytic Geometry strand of the Principles course, students will extend the initial experiences of linear relations into the abstract realm of equations in the form y = mx + b.
The strands in the two Grade 10 courses have similarities, but there are significant differences between them in terms of level of abstraction and degree of complexity. Both courses contain the strand Quadratic Relations in the Form y = ax2 + bx + c. The difference between the strand in the Principles course and its counterpart in the Foundations course lays in the greater degree of algebraic treatment required in the Principles course. Both Grade 10 courses extend students’ understanding of linear relations through applications. In both the Trigonometry strand of the Principles course and the Measurement and Trigonometry strand of the Foundations course, students apply trigonometry and the properties of similar triangles to solve problems involving right triangles. Students in the Principles course also solve problems involving acute triangles.
A solid foundation in math is important to a student’s future academic success.
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