Fostering number sense is the key aim of the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand. Number sense refers to a person’s general understanding of number and number operations along with the ability and inclination to develop useful and efficient strategies for managing numerical
The six progressions in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand reflect the fact that number is a multifaceted concept. Developing fluency with number involves an understanding of numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, number systems, as well as understanding the number operations and how they relate to one another. Fluency with number also requires a balance between conceptual understanding and computational proficiency.
The six progressions draw on the research base for the Number Framework used in the Schools Numeracy Project, which was informed by research showing there are identifiable progressions in how children develop number concepts.83
Three of the progressions in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand focus on number strategies and three focus on key aspects of number knowledge. Number strategies are the processes that learners use to solve operational problems with numbers – strategies that make it easier to solve number problems with understanding. Rather than a single strategy for subtracting (or any operation), the most appropriate strategy can and should change flexibly as the numbers and the content or problem change.
The three number knowledge progressions describe the key items of knowledge that people need to understand and include: number sequences, number facts and place value.
The strategy and knowledge progressions are viewed as interdependent with the strategy progression creating new knowledge through use and the knowledge progression providing the foundation for the development of new strategies.84
The progressions in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand are related to progressions in the other strands in two ways: firstly, the other strands provide content or contexts that interact with and enhance the development of number and secondly, the content of the other strands is directly affected by how well number concepts have been developed.
The numeracy progressions are called Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems, Reason Statistically and Measure and Interpret Shape and Space.