In the Mathematics learning area, students learn about mathematics, what it is and how it is used in making decisions and solving problems. Mathematics involves observing, representing and investigating patterns and relationships in social and physical phenomena and between mathematical objects themselves:
The Mathematics Learning Area takes a major, although not sole, responsibility for the development of students’ numeracy. Students should learn to read, write and speak mathematics in a variety of contexts and forms so that they can interpret and convey mathematical ideas, interpret prose containing mathematical forms, and continue to use and learn mathematics autonomously. Whether dealing with familiar or unfamiliar tasks, they need to:
- recognise when mathematics might help;
- choose appropriate mathematics;
- decide on levels of precision and accuracy;
- do the mathematics;
- interpret the results; and
- judge the reasonableness of results and appropriateness of the methods used.
Mathematics can enhance our understanding of the world and the quality of our participation in society. Since it is valuable to us individually and collectively, it should be an integral part of the general education of every young person.
Years 7 – 10 Mathematics
Secondary school mathematics marks a shift in mathematics learning to more abstract ideas. Through key activities such as the exploration, recognition and application of patterns, the capacity for abstract thought can be developed and the ways of thinking associated with abstract ideas can be illustrated.
The foundations built in previous years prepare students for this change. Previously established mathematical ideas can be drawn upon in unfamiliar sequences and combinations to solve non-routine problems and to consequently develop more complex mathematical ideas.
During these years, students need to be able to represent numbers in a variety of ways; to develop an understanding of the benefits of algebra, through building algebraic models and applications and the various applications of geometry; to estimate and select appropriate units of measure; to explore ways of working with data to allow a variety of representations; and to make predictions about events based on their observations.
Teachers will, in implementing the curriculum, extend the more mathematically able students by using appropriate challenges and extensions within available topics. A deeper understanding of mathematics in the curriculum enhances a student’s potential to use this knowledge to solve non-routine problems, both at this level of study and at later stages. The 10A content is optional and is intended for students who require more content to enrich their mathematical study whilst completing the common Year 10 content. It is NOT anticipated that all students will attempt the 10A content, but doing so would be advantageous for students intending to pursue Mathematical Methods Specialist Mathematics in the senior secondary years. A selection of topics from the 10A curriculum can be completed according to the needs of the students. It is anticipated that all students will study the Western Australian Curriculum: Mathematics up to the end of Year 10. From Year 10, the curriculum should provide pathway options suitable for students of differing abilities and interests, and with a range of future career and study plans.
Senior School Mathematics
There are six mathematics courses, three General and three ATAR. Each course is organised into four units, with Unit 1 and Unit 2 being taken in Year 11 and Unit 3 and Unit 4 in Year 12. The ATAR course examination for each of the three ATAR courses is based on Unit 3 and Unit 4 only.
The courses are differentiated, each focusing on a pathway that will meet the learning needs of a particular group of senior secondary students. At Ashdale Secondary College we offer the following courses:
- Mathematics Essential is a General course which focuses on using mathematics effectively, efficiently and critically to make informed decisions. It provides students with the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding to solve problems in real contexts for a range of workplace, personal, further learning and community settings. This course provides the opportunity for students to prepare for post-school options of employment and further training.
- Mathematics Applications is an ATAR course which focuses on the use of mathematics to solve problems in contexts that involve financial modelling, geometric and trigonometric analysis, graphical and network analysis, and growth and decay in sequences. It also provides opportunities for students to develop systematic strategies based on the statistical investigation process for answering statistical questions that involve analysing univariate and bivariate data, including time series data.
- Mathematics Methods is an ATAR course which focuses on the use of calculus and statistical analysis. The study of calculus provides a basis for understanding rates of change in the physical world and includes the use of functions, their derivatives and integrals, in modelling physical processes. The study of statistics develops students’ ability to describe and analyse phenomena that involve uncertainty and variation.
- Mathematics Specialist is an ATAR course which provides opportunities, beyond those presented in the Mathematics Methods ATAR course, to develop rigorous mathematical arguments and proofs, and to use mathematical models more extensively. The Mathematics Specialist ATAR course contains topics in functions and calculus that build on and deepen the ideas presented in the Mathematics Methods ATAR course as well as demonstrate their application in many areas. The Mathematics Specialist ATAR course also extends understanding and knowledge of statistics and introduces the topics of vectors, complex numbers and matrices. The Mathematics Specialist ATAR course is the only ATAR mathematics course that should not be taken as a stand-alone course.