Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to further investigate the link between the learning and teaching of mathematics. Contemporary theories of how children acquire mathematical understandings and teaching styles, which are grounded within these theories, will be carefully reviewed and evaluated. Students will develop and apply advanced teaching strategies within an inquiry-based approach in order to focus and cater for the particular learning styles of children who are developing ways of thinking mathematically.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers in further investigating contemporary theories of how children acquire mathematical understandings, in order to develop diverse teaching strategies within an inquiry-based approach to cater for particular learning styles of children.

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 knowledge and skills in regard to what an ‘inquiry-learning approach’ in mathematics might mean (GA5; APST 1.2, 4.1)

LO2 - think critically and reflectively to locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information in order to contrast theories of children’s mathematical learning (GA4, GA8; APST 1.2)

LO3 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to generally agreed upon principles about mathematics teaching and learning and pedagogies that enhance children’s understandings of mathematical skills, concepts and understandings, and provide opportunities for children to develop ways of ‘thinking mathematically’ and issues surrounding these (GA5; APST 1.5, 2.1)

LO4 - evaluate and plan for effective implementation of a range of learning activities and teaching approaches for learning mathematics that reflects an ‘inquiry-learning’ approach (GA8; APST 3.4, 4.1)

LO5 - explain the ways in which children’s understanding of mathematics develops. (GA5; APST 1.2)

LO6 - critically examine assessment practices and how they inform mathematics teaching. (GA4; APST 5.1, 5.2).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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


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

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

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.

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.

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

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.


Topics will include:

  • Affect in mathematics education
  • Relational and instrumental understanding
  • Review and evaluate the different teaching styles embedded in these theories
  • Explore what is meant by an ‘inquiry learning’ approach
  • Examine the range of teaching strategies within an inquiry-based approach
  • Catering for a range of learning styles of children
  • Explore the meaning of the term ‘think mathematically’ and ways to develop this in children
  • The use of effective contexts for learning mathematics (e.g., games, manipulatives, children’s literature)
  • Approaches to learning and teaching.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Students will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies including:

  • Online modules – which will include student readings and activities
  • Online discussion forums – which will include interaction with other students

This unit is generally taught fully online across a 12 week semester. Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit including a variety of flexible teaching and learning strategies, dependent on the needs of the particular group and the technologies available. These may include Learning Management System (LMS) access, self-paced readings, online discussions, experiential learning, problem solving, and an exploration of content through a broad range of technologies.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Philosophy statement and online participation.

A statement that describes your philosophy about the effective teaching, learning and assessment of mathematics in primary schools. Online participation showing evidence of completion of and reflection on set tasks.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Research project. Exploring an issue related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Bell, J. (2007). Doing your research project (4th ed.). Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill Education.

Bobis, J., Mulligan, J., & Lowrie, T. (2013). Mathematics for children: Challenging children to think mathematically (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Booker, G., Bond, D., Sparrow, L., & Swan, P. (2010). Teaching primary mathematics (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia

Gates, P. (2001). Issues in mathematics teaching. London: Routledge Falmer.

Harcourt, D., Perry, B., & Waller, T. (Eds). (2011). Young children’s perspectives: Ethics, theory and research. London: Routledge.

Hatfield, M. M., Edwards, T. N., Bitter, G. G., & Morrow, J. (2008). Mathematics methods for elementary and middle school teachers (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

Jorgensen, R., & Dole, S. (2011). Teaching mathematics in primary schools (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

MacNaughton, G., Rolfe, S., & Siraj-Blathford, I. (2010). Doing early childhood research: International perspectives on theory and practice (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Reys, R., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D., Smith, N., Rogers, A., Falle, J., Frid, S., & Bennett, S. (2012). Helping children learn mathematics (1st Australian ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Siemon, D., Beswick, K., Brady, K., Clark, J., Faragher, R., & Warren, E. (2011). Teaching mathematics: Foundations to middle years. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Sullivan, P., & Lilburn, P. (2004). Open-ended maths activities: Using "good" questions to enhance learning in mathematics (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

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