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NSW Syllabuses

Learning across the curriculum

Learning across the curriculum content, including the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assists students to achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the NESA Statement of Equity Principles, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (December 2008) and in the Australian Government's Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (2013). 

Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.

The cross-curriculum priorities are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability Sustainability

General capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century.

The general capabilities are:

  • Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical understanding Ethical understanding
  • Information and communication technology capability Information and communication technology capability
  • Intercultural understanding Intercultural understanding
  • Literacy Literacy
  • Numeracy Numeracy
  • Personal and social capability Personal and socail capability

NESA syllabuses include other areas identified as important learning for all students:

  • Civics and citizenship Civics and citizenship
  • Difference and diversity Difference and diversity
  • Work and enterprise Work and enterprise

Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated, and identified by icons, in the content of the Mathematics Life Skills Stage 6 Syllabus in the following ways.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Across the topics of the syllabus, students can experience the significance of mathematics in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Opportunities are provided to connect mathematics with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ cultural, linguistic and historical experiences. The development of mathematics and its integration with cultural development can be explored in the context of some topics. 

When planning and programming content relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures teachers are encouraged to:

  • involve local Aboriginal communities and/or appropriate knowledge holders in determining suitable resources, or to use Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authored or endorsed publications
  • read the Principles and Protocols relating to teaching and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and the involvement of local Aboriginal communities.

Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia

Students have the opportunity to learn about the understandings and application of mathematics in Asia and the way mathematicians from Asia continue to contribute to the ongoing development of mathematics. By drawing on knowledge of and examples from the Asia region, such as calculation, money, art, architecture, design and travel, students can develop mathematical understanding in fields such as number, patterns, measurement, symmetry, statistics and networks.

Sustainability Sustainability

Mathematics provides a foundation for the exploration of issues of sustainability. Students have the opportunity to learn about the mathematics underlying topics in sustainability, such as energy use and how to reduce it. Students engage in activities to reflect on the effect of their actions on energy use, as well as the effect of household appliances. Investigating energy use, students can consider sustainability changes over time and develop a deeper appreciation of the world around them.

Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking

Critical and creative thinking are key to the development of mathematical understanding. Students are encouraged to be critical thinkers by thinking about and justifying their choice of a calculation strategy or identifying relevant questions during an investigation. They are encouraged to look for alternative ways to approach mathematical problems, for example identifying when a problem is similar to a previous one, drawing diagrams or modelling a situation using hands-on resources. Students are encouraged to be creative in their approach to solving new problems, by combining the skills and knowledge they have acquired in their study of a number of different topics, within a new context.

Ethical understanding Ethical Understanding

Students have opportunities to explore, develop and apply ethical understanding to mathematics in a range of contexts. Examples include collecting, displaying and interpreting data, as well as examining the selective use of data and bias in the reporting of information.

Information and communication technology capability Information and communication technology capability

Mathematics provides opportunities for students to develop their ICT capacity when they investigate; create and communicate mathematical ideas and concepts using fast, automated, interactive and multimodal technologies. Students can use their ICT capability to perform calculations; draw graphs; collect, manage, analyse and interpret data; share and exchange information and ideas; and investigate and model relationships. Digital technologies, such as calculators, spreadsheets, dynamic geometry software, graphing software and computer algebra software, can engage students and promote understanding of key concepts.

Intercultural understanding Intercultural Understanding

Students have opportunities to understand that mathematical expressions use universal symbols, while mathematical knowledge has its origin in many cultures. Students may recognise that proficiencies such as understanding, fluency, reasoning and problem-solving are not culture- or language-specific, but that mathematical reasoning and understanding can find different expression in different cultures and languages. The curriculum provides contexts for exploring mathematical problems from a range of cultural perspectives and within diverse cultural contexts. Students can apply mathematical thinking to identify and resolve issues related to living with diversity.

Literacy Literacy

Literacy is used throughout mathematics to understand and interpret word problems and instructions containing the particular language featured in mathematics. Students have opportunities to learn the vocabulary associated with mathematics, including synonyms, technical terminology, passive voice and common words with specific meanings in a mathematical context. Literacy is used to pose and answer questions, engage in mathematical problem-solving and to discuss, produce and explain solutions. There are opportunities for students to develop the ability to create and interpret a range of media typical of mathematics, ranging from calendars and maps to data displays.

Numeracy Numeracy

Numeracy is embedded throughout the Stage 6 Mathematics syllabuses. It relates to a high proportion of the content descriptions across Years 11 and 12. Consequently, this particular general capability is not tagged in this syllabus. 

Numeracy involves drawing on knowledge of particular contexts and circumstances in deciding when to use mathematics, choosing the mathematics to use and evaluating its use. To be numerate is to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at home and at work, and for participation in community and civic life. It is therefore important that the mathematics curriculum provides the opportunity to apply mathematical understanding and skills in context, in other learning areas and in real-world scenarios.

Personal and social capability Personal and socail capability

Students develop personal and social competence as they learn to understand and manage themselves, their relationships and their lives more effectively. Mathematics enhances the development of students’ personal and social capabilities by providing opportunities for initiative taking, decision-making, communicating their processes and findings, and working independently and collaboratively in the mathematics classroom. Students have the opportunity to apply mathematical skills in a range of personal and social contexts. This may be through activities that relate learning to their own lives and communities, such as time management, budgeting and financial management, understanding statistics and engaging with plans, maps and networks in everyday contexts.

Civics and citizenship Civics and citizenship

Mathematics has an important role in civics and citizenship education because it has the potential to help us understand our society and our role in shaping it. The role of mathematics in society has expanded significantly in recent decades as almost all aspects of modern-day life are now quantified. Through modelling reality using mathematics and then manipulating the mathematics to help understand and/or predict reality, students have the opportunity to learn mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding that are essential for active participation in the world in which we live.

Difference and diversity Difference and diversity

Students make sense of and construct mathematical ideas in different ways, drawing upon their own unique experiences in life and prior learning. By valuing students’ diversity of ideas, teachers foster students’ efficacy in learning mathematics.

Work and enterprise Work and enterprise

Students may develop work and enterprise knowledge, understanding and skills through their study of mathematics in a work-related context. Students are encouraged to select and apply appropriate mathematical techniques and problem-solving strategies through work-related experiences in the Financial mathematics topics, the Statistics and probability topic and the Plans, maps and networks topic. This allows them to make informed financial decisions by selecting and analysing relevant information.