Mapping the World of School Mathematics

The fascinating world of mathematics offers its friendship to most of us in our school years. It’s another matter that it feels a bit too crushing and many of us decide not to extend that hand of friendship again. Here is an attempt to share the landscape of Maths that we explore in those school years. With this big picture in mind, we may be able to help each other, as well as our students, to become better friends with Mathematics, and to become better thinkers.

Maths is introduced like a spiraling ladder, more exciting concepts are revealed as we go up. The foundation pillars we build are –

  1. Number System – An introduction to the digits of mathematics, with which we construct many numbers, large and small. Unlike words in languages, any combination of digits will make sense in Math. We explore numbers that are whole and add directionality to them; investigate numbers that are fractured and learn different ways of representing them, and even study numbers that we can never measure.
  2. Operations – Combining the numbers to display an idea through a mathematical expression or statement. We learn to join, remove and compare numbers, learn how many times something is added or removed, and learn to express relationships between several quantities.
  3. Basic Geometry – Defining and describing the geographical space in the world around us.
  4. Measurement – Defining basic parameters of quantifying, and the units we can use to measure them in, by developing a common language.
  5. Basic Algebra – Finding patterns around us, creating new patterns and developing the ability to predict by understanding the patterns. Studying the repeating as well as growing patterns and writing mathematical codes for them.

These components help us understand the language of mathematics on which we build ahead –

  1. Statistics – Study of data around us and conclusions that we can make from them.
  2. Probability – Study of predicting the future and the confidence in the computed outcome.
  3. Trigonometry – Applying geometry and measurement to understand spaces through the simplest polygon, the triangle.

Here is a concept map showing the landscape of school mathematics.

Math concept map 09 full

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