Students are curious, active learners with individual interests, abilities, needs and career goals. They come to school with varying knowledge, life experiences, expectations and backgrounds. A key component in developing mathematical literacy in students is making connections to these backgrounds, experiences, goals and aspirations. Students construct their understanding of mathematics by developing meaning based on a variety of learning experiences. This meaning is best developed when learners encounter mathematical experiences that proceed from simple to complex and from the concrete to the abstract. The use of manipulatives, visuals and a variety of pedagogical approaches can address the diversity of learning styles and developmental stages of students. At all levels of understanding, students benefit from working with a variety of materials, tools and contexts when constructing meaning about new mathematical ideas. Meaningful student discussions also provide essential links among concrete, pictorial and symbolic representations of mathematics.

The main goals of mathematics education are to prepare students to:
• solve problems
• communicate and reason mathematically
• make connections between mathematics and its applications
• become mathematically literate
• appreciate and value mathematics
• make informed decisions as contributors to society.
Students who have met these goals:
• gain an understanding and appreciation of the role of mathematics in society
• exhibit a positive attitude toward mathematics
• engage and persevere in mathematical problem solving

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