The Big Ideas of Mathematics

Mathematics has been described as a web of connected ideas. The connections between the different areas are as important as the individual concepts. Research has shown that the most effective teachers are those who can appreciate and understand those connections themselves and can enable learners to make these connections for themselves (Askew, 1997).

In essence, there are a limited number of key ideas in mathematics but these are cornerstones in developing and understanding of the subject and an ability to apply knowledge.

Linking the games with the big ideas of mathematics rather than purely with the objectives of the current statutory curriculum of any one country, enables greater flexibility and wider application. One big idea of mathematics for example, relates to equivalence. Equivalence is integral to early calculations, for example, 3+2 = 5. However, the idea extends to include algebraic equations, measurement conversions and graphical representations.

For the purpose of these games, we have categorised according to the following big ideas of mathematics:

  • Equivalence

  • Place value

  • Dimensionality

  • Transformation

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