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EDMA504 Mathematics Education 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Pre-service teachers of all year levels must develop knowledge and understanding of specific mathematics subject-matter knowledge, and mathematics pedagogical-content knowledge, and how to address the requirements of the Australian Curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework.

Pre-service teachers will explore theories of learning mathematics and effective teaching and learning strategies that enhance students’ understandings of mathematical content and proficiencies. Emphasis will be placed on enhancing the pre-service teacher’s content knowledge in the areas of Number and Algebra, Measurement, and Geometry and their understanding of how early childhood and primary school students’ knowledge develops in these areas. Opportunities to advance problem solving, reasoning, analytical thought, and fluency will permeate the unit. Pre-service teachers will explore ways to foster their personal creativity, confidence, and positive mindsets in mathematics, as well as identify ways of nurturing the affective aspects of learning in mathematics for students across birth to 12 years. Pre-service teachers will develop knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to planning, teaching, and assessing early childhood and primary school students’ knowledge and skills in mathematics with a focus on Number and Algebra, and Measurement, and Geometry.

The aim of this unit is to introduce early childhood and primary school mathematics education by investigating current directions, including social justice issues, drawing on contemporary research, national and state curriculum documents and initiatives.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate informed conceptions of current directions in mathematics and numeracy education including culturally responsive and socially critical perspectives by drawing on relevant research, the Early Years Learning Framework, the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and other state and national policy and curriculum documents (GA1, GA5, GA6, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.5; ACECQA A8, B1, B2, B3) 

LO2 - Apply theories and research about early childhood and primary school students’ development of mathematical content and proficiencies to create powerful learning experiences, including the use of digital technologies, for students in Whole Number, Measurement, and Geometry as required by Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and other relevant curriculum documents (GA5, GA6; APST 1.1,1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3; ACECQA A8, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3)

LO3 - Analyse the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and the effectiveness of different theories and approaches to teaching mathematics that cater for students across a full range of abilities, including formative and summative assessment, and diagnostic uses of assessment data to articulate and apply pedagogies and approaches to support students’ diverse learning needs (GA4, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.4; ACECQA B2, B3, C1, C2, C4, C5)

LO4 - Use language, symbols, visual representations and other resources including digital technologies as tools to design learning sequences and organise lesson activities to support students’ mathematical learning of Whole Number, Measurement, and Geometry, as outlined in relevant documents (GA5, GA8; APST 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; ACECQA B1, B2, B3,C1, C2, C4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - Solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge: 

A. Child development and care

A8. transitions and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

B. Education and curriculum studies

B1. Early Years Learning Framework 

B2. The Australian curriculum 

B3. Numeracy, science and technology

C. Teaching pedagogies

C1. alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. play based pedagogies

C3 guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. Teaching methods and strategies 

C5. children with diverse needs and backgrounds


Topics will include:

  • Contexts of curriculum
  • state and national curriculum documents, national and local policy documents, social and cultural perspectives in mathematics
  • Students and mathematical understanding
  • theories of students’ mathematical learning; and how they develop mathematical understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning skills
  • ways that mathematics teaching and learning impacts on the development of students’ social and intellectual development
  • student misconceptions and expected trajectories of mathematics learning in the topic areas of Number and Algebra, Measurement, and Geometry
  • Mathematical pedagogy
  • strategies to enhance all students’ learning through the use of representations including concrete materials/manipulatives, mathematical language, visuals, and symbol use including the use of digital technologies in representing mathematical ideas and concepts
  • mathematical tasks as tools that promote deep student learning of mathematics content and proficiencies (ways of working mathematically)
  • designing lesson sequences and mathematical learning experiences  for students of varying abilities
  • management and organisation of mathematical learning experiences
  • strategies to promote self-esteem and positive attitudes and mindsets for mathematics learning with due consideration of learners from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • approaches to formative and summative assessment.
  • Mathematical content
  • content of Whole Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry
  • conceptual and procedural understanding and deep learning in the strands of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and how big ideas of these strands are understood and taught in the early childhood and primary years of schooling.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a social constructivist approach, with active engagement in learning a the key element. A range of teaching and learning activities are employed to reflect contemporary mathematics and numeracy learning pedagogies as can be applied in the early childhood and primary contexts. These include interactive learning experiences; student-led discussions and group work; directed hands-on learning activities; real-world problem-solving; and the integration of ICT as a pedagogical tool for accessing, sharing and learning in mathematics. These experiences are facilitated through lectures, seminars, tutorials and self-directed reading/activity guides and study resources. The on-campus learning experiences are supported by online learning strategies, including synchronous and/or asynchronous digital engagement in reading/library tasks, learning activities, and discussion forums as mediated through the Learning Management System unit site.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Technology Enhanced Learning

Technology use will be modelled by the teaching team to reflect the nature of technology in early childhood settings and primary schools. Student online platforms will include the Learning Management System. Online materials will be available in advance and as post-learning material. The announcements platform will serve as the main communication platform for all students. The use of forums will be made available if required.

Face-to-face/Online Learning support

Students enrolled in both face to face and online learning modes are required to regularly log into the Learning Management System site to access recorded lectures and important announcements, to communicate with other students and lecturers, and to submit assessments and access feedback and grades. Students who are enrolled in either face to face or online learning will have equal access to support from the lecturer in charge and tutors.

Additional equipment requirements for online learning:

  • Reliable broadband access is recommended.
  • Headset with microphone to listen to podcasts, view videos and interact in synchronous classes.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. The assessment in curriculum and pedagogy units focuses on applying content knowledge and skills to the design and implementation of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. In EDMA500, the assessment focuses on pedagogies for developing mathematics and numeracy in Number and Algebra, and Measurement and Geometry. The three tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in using and developing pedagogies for Mathematics and numeracy.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

In order to pass this unit, you are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks as per the Assessment Policy and gain an overall pass mark.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

All relevant assessment items will be submitted electronically via the unit Learning Management System site. Marking will include a moderation process. Assessment returns will occur within the 3 week period as per the Assessment Policy. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Journal entry

Critically reflect and develop a journal entry that draws together understandings from the lectures, tutorial/workshop activities, prescribed readings and other mathematics education research sources, and where possible, observations from professional experiences about the content area of Geometry explored in the unit.

The journal entry must demonstrate critical reflection and growing understanding of:

(a) big ideas/key concepts of the content area;

(b) students’ misconceptions and difficulties when learning the content area;

(c) teaching strategies and appropriate tasks (including materials and representations) that best support the learning of all students;

(d) curriculum progression related to the content area as articulated in curriculum documentation; and;

(e) implications for future early childhood and primary classroom practice


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Assess student learning, interpret and report on student data then recommend specifically targeted teaching plan.

Undertake an interview with one student in any year preschool (3-5 year olds) or F-6 for the purpose of assessing the student’s conceptual development of the content areas of Whole Number (with a focus on multiplicative thinking for F-6) as addressed in state and/or national curriculum documents relevant to this unit.

Record the student’s responses accurately in respect to the interview questions. Interpret the data about the students’ understandings and proficiencies with the chosen content area, and form judgments about their mathematical development with reference to a theoretical framework and curriculum progression.

Summarise the data and make judgements about the student's mathematical understanding in a report, with the audience of that report being an in-service teacher. Referring to the student report, propose recommendations for future learning posed as learning goals and formulate feedback for the student.

Include research guided recommendations for a subsequent teaching and learning plan including:

  • Links to pedagogical and curriculum documentation
  • Provisioning the learning environment
  • Curriculum decision-making (student-centred learning)
  • A variety of resources (including ICT, manipulatives, games and task)
  • Mathematics focused learning intentions (concepts and proficiencies)
  • Assessment and feedback for the student.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 3

Examination (Restricted open book)

Extended response and/or short answer questions demonstrating conceptions of current directions in mathematics education and understandings of pedagogies, theories, and mathematical knowledge for teaching (both mathematical content and pedagogical content knowledge)


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum Mathematics.

Early Years Learning Framework state and territory Mathematics curriculum documents

Van de Walle, J., Karp. K. S., Bay-Williams, J. M., & Brass, A. (2019). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (1st Australian ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson.

 Recommended references

Booker, G., Bond, D., Sparrow, L., & Swan, P. (2020). Teaching primary mathematics (6th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia.

Calder, N., Larkin, K., & Sinclair, N. (2018). Using mobile technologies in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

MacDonald, A. (2018). Mathematics in early childhood education. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Reys, R. E., Rogers, A., Bennett, S., Cooke, A., Robson, K., Ewing B., & West, J. (2020). Helping children learn mathematics (3rd Australian ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Siemon, D., Beswick, K., Brady, K., Clark, J., Faragher, R., & Warren, E. (2015). Teaching mathematics: Foundations to middle years (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Way, J., Attard, C., Anderson, J., Bobis, J., McMaster, H., & Cartwright, K. (2020). Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2016-2019. Singapore: Springer.

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