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A note to readers, 5 Jan 2021: This document from 2015 describes our early thinking on the issue which framed the initial structuring of our research and writing. Our thinking has grown and changed as a result of the development work we’ve done over the past 5 years. Whilst we will leave this document in place for now, we hope to add updated descriptions of our thinking in this space soon.
We’ve been taken by an article by Randall Charles. In it he suggests that ‘big ideas and understandings’ could be taken as a foundation for a primary and lower secondary mathematics curriculum. A 'big idea' is defined as a statement of an idea that is central to the learning of mathematics, one that links numerous mathematical understanding into a coherent whole. We have taken his '21 big ideas' and supplemented them with a couple of our own in order to extend into the upper secondary mathematics curriculum. The list of big ideas are contained in the below, with our additions in italics.
Reference: 'Big Ideas and Understandings as the Foundation for Elementary and Middle School Mathematics' Randall I. Charles, Carmel, California, USA (accessed October 2015)
We invite you to consider the following questions and would be interested in your views.
1. The content of the list and our additions – are these appropriate, sufficient, too many or are there any missing?
2. Whether this could be a useful spine on which to hang the content of the framework; by identifying where each Big Idea occurs, can we express the content in a more connected way?