About IMS



Inquiry-aligned approach to mathematical sense making

IMS is an alternative to ‘traditional’ approaches that focus on the development of techniques. This approach, in contrast to the traditional view, encourages teachers to focus on teaching why to do a skill, before they teach how. Through the tried and tested tasks presented here, students learn to apply mathematical skills to the problems and situations under investigation. Mathematical skills are not introduced and practised in isolation – they are used and applied in situations through which students can make sense of mathematics. Because students learn new content in the very context in which they will be expected to use it, they are more likely to be able to retrieve, synthesise and apply their mathematical knowledge in an array of situations as needed.

_DSC0023When teachers invest in math sense, they place students in contextual and inquiry-based learning situations that support classroom learning of mathematical skills within meaningful and real-world applications. While traditional approaches tend to focus on specific mathematical skills learned in isolation, the math sense tasks provided concentrate on the contextual nature of mathematics and how it is applied to every-day life situations.

The idea of the approach presented is aimed to address students’ concerns with learning mathematics. Math sense enhances the experience of students as it encourages active problem-solving. Within this constructive pedagogy, problems are presented and situated in context relevant and meaningful to the students. If used effectively, the tasks presented here have the potential to develop techniques, methods and strategies, as well as stimulate higher-order cognitive thinking skills and mathematical reasoning.

It is indeed believed that, to improve students’ mathematical experiences, they need to be provided with opportunities that stimulate them to make sense of the mathematics they are expected to learn.

_DSC0043Investing in Math Sense means

  1. Implementing a task-delineated approach to teaching and learning
  2. Developing independent and critical thinking skills
  3. Offering means of linking conceptual understanding to skill development
  4. Using questioning that stimulate student thinking
  5. Placing the student in appropriate contextual and inquiry-based learning situations
  6. Shifting decision making from the teacher to the students
  7. Presenting tasks for students to develop awareness of the why, the when and the how of mathematics
  8. Providing students with meaningful tasks in which they must constantly solve a range of problems as they arise
  9. Encouraging creativity, motivation and enjoyment



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