Often, people equate mathematics with arithmetic. Arithmetic is concerned
with numbers. When considering the mathematics curriculum, many people
focus on computational skills and believe that they constitute the full
set of competencies that students must have in mathematics. Traditionally,
the major emphasis of the K8 mathematics curriculum has been to teach
children arithmetic  how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole
numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Mathematics involves more
than computation. Mathematics is a study of patterns and relationships;
a science and a way of thinking; an art, characterized by order and internal
consistency; a language, using carefully defined terms and symbols; and
a tool. Teachers and other educators working together to improve mathematics
education must explore a broader scope of mathematics. Mathematics should
include experiences that help students to shift their thinking about mathematics
and define mathematics as a study of patterns and relationships; a science
and a way of thinking; an art, characterized by order and internal consistency;
a language, using carefully defined terms and symbols; and a tool.
