National Standards for Mathematics
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in 2000 published a set of national standards for prekindergarten through grade 12 mathematics. In it they identify five content strands and their applications in the early childhood classroom:
- Number and operations. During the early childhood years, young children should be learning basic concepts about numbers. Primary children are also ready to develop understandings of mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
- Algebra. Although most people assume that algebra should be taught in middle school and high school, the NCTM suggests that young children benefit from engaging in algebraic reasoning. The Into Practice feature in this section describes some examples of this type.
- Geometry. Young children can be introduced to basic geometric shapes and analyze them using mathematical reasoning skills.
- Measurement. Because of its practical applications in real life, there are many opportunities to engage young children in meaningful measurement activities. Options abound to measure height, width, weight, and volume of the natural and man-made equipment and materials around them.
- Data analysis and probability. Statistical reasoning gives children opportunities to formulate questions and collect data to answer their inquiries. For example, primary children could estimate the number of marbles it would take to fill a jar and then check on the accuracy of their estimates.
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