Ten basic skill areas on mathematics


  1. 1.       Problem solving

Learning to solve problems is the principal reason for studying mathematics. Problem solving is the process of applying previously acquired knowledge to new and unfamiliar situations. Solving word problem in text is one of form of problem solving, but student also should be faced with non textbook problems.  Problem solving strategies involve posing question, analyzing situations, translating results, illustrating results, drawing diagrams, and using trial and error. In solving problems, students need to be able to apply the rules of logic necessary to arrive at valid conclusions. They must be able to determine which facts are relevant. They should be unfearful of arriving at tentative conclusions and they must be willing to subject these conclusions to scrutiny.

  1. 2.       Applying mathematics to everyday situations

The use of mathematics is interrelated with all computations activities. Student should be encouraged to take everyday situations, translate them into mathematical expressions, solve the mathematics, and interpret the results in light of the initial situations.

  1. 3.       Alertness to the reasonableness

Due to arithmetic errors of other mistakes, results of mathematical work are sometimes wrong. Students should learn to inspect all results and to check for reasonableness in term of the original problem. With the increase in the use of calculating devices in society, this skill is essential.

  1. 4.       Estimation and approximation

Students should be able to carry out rapid approximate calculations by first rounding off numbers. They should acquire some simple techniques for estimating quantity, length, distance, weight, etc. it is also necessary to decide when a particular result is precise enough for the purpose at hand.

  1. 5.       Appropriate computational skills

Student should gain facility with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers and decimals. Today it must be recognized that long, complicated computations will usually be done with calculator. Knowledge of single-digit number facts is essential and mental arithmetic is a valuable skill. Moreover, there are everyday situations which demand recognition of, and simple computation with, common fractions.

Because consumers continuously deal with many situations that involve percentage, the ability to recognize and use percents should be developed and maintained.

  1. 6.       Geometry

Students should learn the geometric concepts they will need to function effectively in the 3-dimensional world. They should have knowledge of concepts such a point, line, plane, parallel, and perpendicular. They should know basic properties of simple geometric figures, particularly those properties which relate to measurement and problem-solving skills. They also must be able to recognize similarities and differences among objects.

  1. 7.       Measurement

As a minimum skill, students should be able to measure distance, weight, time, capacity, and temperature. Measurement of angles and calculations of simple areas and volumes are also system using the appropriate tools.

  1. 8.       Reading, interpreting, and constructing tables, charts, and graphs

Students should know how to read and draw conclusions form simple tables, maps, charts, and graphs. They should be able to condense numerical information into more manageable or meaningful terms by setting up simple tables, charts, and graphs.

  1. 9.       Using mathematics to predict

Students should learn how elementary notions of probability are used to determine the likelihood of future events. They should learn to identify situations where immediate past experience does not affect the likelihood of future events. They should become familiar with how mathematics is used to help make predictions such as election forecasts.

  1. 10.   Computer literacy

It is important for all citizens to understand what computers can and cannot do. Students should be aware of the many uses of computers in society, such as their use in teaching/learning, financial transactions, and information storage and retrievals. The “mystique” surrounding computers is disturbing and can put persons with no understanding of computers at a disadvantage. The increasing use of computers by government, industry, and business demands an awareness of computer uses and limitations.

Resumed by Moch. Lutfianto (from: Helping children Learn Mathematics page 7, author Robert E. Reys; Marilyn N. Suydam; Marry M. Lindquist. Prentice-hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632)