Ontario Introduces New Math Curriculum for Elementary School Students
A modern elementary math curriculum
To better support students in Ontario, the government has released a new math curriculum for Grades 1 to 8. The new curriculum is part of the government's four-year math strategy designed to improve student math grades, help students solve everyday math problems and better prepare students' for the jobs of tomorrow.
The Ontario Curriculum: Mathematics, Grades 1 to 8 was last updated in 2005. Today, there have been advances in education on:
- how students learn and engage in math;
- the role financial literacy and coding plays in a student's life today and in the future;
- how technology can enhance learning; and
- how to access and interact with information.
In the Fall of 2018, parents, educators, organizations and the general public provided feedback during the Ministry of Education's provincewide consultations. More than 70 per cent of respondents identified the following areas that were needed to improve academic achievement in math:
- focus on fundamental math concepts and skills;
- include practical examples of math;
- enhance teacher training and resources; and
- give elementary students more opportunities to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.
The new curriculum was also informed by expert knowledge and research, best practices from other jurisdictions across Canada and around the world, and input from stakeholders, academics and math education and industry experts.
For the first time, the curriculum was placed under a market sounding lens, to ensure private and non-profit sector leaders could inform the development of the curriculum. The feedback played an invaluable role in ensuring the curriculum aligns with the job market and the skill set required to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.
Further teaching resources and supports will be available, including providing classroom-ready resources for each grade, as well as in-depth virtual training for teachers, principals and board staff.
Changes and key learning
Changes to the curriculum include:
- focusing on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts - including multiplication fact tables from 0 to 12 (0×0 to 12×12); and
- using current examples that help students see math in their everyday lives.
Key learning to ensure students are future-ready includes:
- teaching coding skills starting in Grade 1 to improve students' ability to become problem solvers and develop fluency with technology;
- developing an understanding of the value and use of money over time and consumer awareness through learning about financial literacy; and
- creating and reading infographics and collecting and analyzing data to make arguments, and inform decisions and predictions
Social-Emotional Learning Skills
The development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills supports students' overall health and well-being. SEL skills help students develop confidence, cope with challenges, learn from mistakes, build perseverance, and think critically. Throughout the curriculum, students learn to apply these skills to help them deepen their understanding of math concepts and apply them in their everyday lives.
During their education, students will acquire social-emotional learning skills as well as transferable skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, self-directed learning, collaboration, communication, and digital literacy.
Students apply these everyday skills as part of their learning across the other five parts of the curriculum, and in their experiences at school, at home and in the community. These interconnected skills help foster overall health and well-being, and the ability to learn, build resilience and thrive.
- A grade-by-grade overview and ways for parents to support math learning at home can be accessed on the ministry website.
- Additional resources and supports on the elementary math curriculum will be provided in the coming weeks and months for teachers, principals and board staff. This includes providing classroom-ready resources for each grade, as well as in-depth virtual training for teachers, principals and board staff.