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Mathematics – The Australian Curriculum

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Learning mathematics creates opportunities for and enriches the lives of all Australians. The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. It develops the numeracy capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals on which mathematical specialties and professional applications of mathematics are built.

Mathematics has its own value and beauty and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics aims to instil in students an appreciation of the elegance and power of mathematical reasoning. Mathematical ideas have evolved across all cultures over thousands of years, and are constantly developing. Digital technologies are facilitating this expansion of ideas and providing access to new tools for continuing mathematical exploration and invention. The curriculum focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, logical reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematical strategies to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.

The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics ensures that the links between the various components of mathematics, as well as the relationship between mathematics and other disciplines, are made clear. Mathematics is composed of multiple but interrelated and interdependent concepts and systems which students apply beyond the mathematics classroom. In science, for example, understanding sources of error and their impact on the confidence of conclusions is vital, as is the use of mathematical models in other disciplines. In geography, interpretation of data underpins the study of human populations and their physical environments; in history, students need to be able to imagine timelines and time frames to reconcile related events; and in English, deriving quantitative and spatial information is an important aspect of making meaning of texts.

The curriculum anticipates that schools will ensure all students benefit from access to the power of mathematical reasoning and learn to apply their mathematical understanding creatively and efficiently. The mathematics curriculum provides students with carefully paced, in-depth study of critical skills and concepts. It encourages teachers to help students become self-motivated, confident learners through inquiry and active participation in challenging and engaging experiences.

The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics is organised around the interaction of three content strands and four proficiency strands.

The content strands are Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. They describe what is to be taught and learnt.

The proficiency strands are Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving, and Reasoning. They describe how content is explored or developed, that is, the thinking and doing of mathematics. They provide the language to build in the developmental aspects of the learning of mathematics and have been incorporated into the content descriptions of the three content strands described above. This approach has been adopted to ensure students’ proficiency in mathematical skills develops throughout the curriculum and becomes increasingly sophisticated over the years of schooling.

Content Strands

Number and Algebra

Number and Algebra are developed together, as each enriches the study of the other. Students apply number sense and strategies for counting and representing numbers. They explore the magnitude and properties of numbers. They apply a range of strategies for computation and understand the connections between operations. They recognise patterns and understand the concepts of variable and function. They build on their understanding of the number system to describe relationships and formulate generalisations. They recognise equivalence and solve equations and inequalities. They apply their number and algebra skills to conduct investigations, solve problems and communicate their reasoning.

Measurement and Geometry

Measurement and Geometry are presented together to emphasise their relationship to each other, enhancing their practical relevance. Students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of size, shape, relative position and movement of two-dimensional figures in the plane and three-dimensional objects in space. They investigate properties and apply their understanding of them to define, compare and construct figures and objects. They learn to develop geometric arguments. They make meaningful measurements of quantities, choosing appropriate metric units of measurement. They build an understanding of the connections between units and calculate derived measures such as area, speed and density.

Statistics and Probability

Statistics and Probability initially develop in parallel and the curriculum then progressively builds the links between them. Students recognise and analyse data and draw inferences. They represent, summarise and interpret data and undertake purposeful investigations involving the collection and interpretation of data. They assess likelihood and assign probabilities using experimental and theoretical approaches. They develop an increasingly sophisticated ability to critically evaluate chance and data concepts and make reasoned judgments and decisions, as well as building skills to critically evaluate statistical information and develop intuitions about data.

Proficiency Strands

The proficiency strands describe the actions in which students can engage when learning and using the content. While not all proficiency strands apply to every content description, they indicate the breadth of mathematical actions that teachers can emphasise.


Students build a robust knowledge of adaptable and transferable mathematical concepts. They make connections between related concepts and progressively apply the familiar to develop new ideas. They develop an understanding of the relationship between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of mathematics. Students build understanding when they connect related ideas, when they represent concepts in different ways, when they identify commonalities and differences between aspects of content, when they describe their thinking mathematically and when they interpret mathematical information.


Students develop skills in choosing appropriate procedures, carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately, and recalling factual knowledge and concepts readily. Students are fluent when they calculate answers efficiently, when they recognise robust ways of answering questions, when they choose appropriate methods and approximations, when they recall definitions and regularly use facts, and when they can manipulate expressions and equations to find solutions.

Problem Solving

Students develop the ability to make choices, interpret, formulate, model and investigate problem situations, and communicate solutions effectively. Students formulate and solve problems when they use mathematics to represent unfamiliar or meaningful situations, when they design investigations and plan their approaches, when they apply their existing strategies to seek solutions, and when they verify that their answers are reasonable.


Students develop an increasingly sophisticated capacity for logical thought and actions, such as analysing, proving, evaluating, explaining, inferring, justifying and generalising. Students are reasoning mathematically when they explain their thinking, when they deduce and justify strategies used and conclusions reached, when they adapt the known to the unknown, when they transfer learning from one context to another, when they prove that something is true or false and when they compare and contrast related ideas and explain their choices.


Content descriptions are grouped into sub-strands to illustrate the clarity and sequence of development of concepts through and across the year levels. They support the ability to see the connections across strands and the sequential development of concepts from Foundation to Year 10.

Number and Algebra Measurement and Geometry Statistics and Probability
Number and place value (F-8) Using units of measurement (F-10) Chance (1-10)
Fractions and decimals (1-6) Shape (F-7) Data representation and interpretation (F-10)
Real numbers (7-10) Geometric reasoning (3-10)  
Money and financial mathematics (1-10) Location and transformation (F-7)  
Patterns and algebra (F-10) Pythagoras and trigonometry (9-10)  
Linear and non-linear relationships (7-10)    

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