This curriculum policy presents the compulsory Grade 9 mathematics course, 2021 (MTH1W). This course supersedes the two Grade 9 courses outlined in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Mathematics, 2005 as well as The Ontario Curriculum: Mathematics – Mathematics Transfer Course, Grade 9, Applied to Academic, 2006. Effective September 2021, all mathematics programs for Grade 9 will be based on the expectations outlined on this site.
The Grade 9 mathematics curriculum focuses on key mathematics concepts and skills, as well as on making connections between related math concepts, between mathematics and other disciplines, and between mathematics and the lived experiences of students. This curriculum is designed to support all students in developing an understanding of, and the ability to apply, the range of mathematical knowledge and skills appropriate for the grade level. Consequently, this curriculum is intended to support all students in continuing to build confidence in approaching mathematics, develop a positive attitude towards mathematics, think critically, work collaboratively, and feel that they are reflected in mathematics learning.
Vision and Goals of the Grade 9 Mathematics Course
The needs of learners are diverse, and all learners have the capacity to develop the knowledge, concepts, skills, and perspectives they need to become informed, productive, and responsible citizens in their own communities and within the world.
How mathematics is contextualized, positioned, promoted, discussed, taught, learned, evaluated, and applied affects the learning experiences and academic outcomes of all students. Mathematics can be appreciated for its innate beauty, as well as for its role in making sense of the world. Having a solid foundation in, a deep appreciation for, and excitement about mathematics, as well as recognizing their identities, lived experiences, and communities in their mathematics learning, will help ensure that all students grow more confident and capable as they step into the future.
All students bring their mathematical experiences from various contexts to school. Educators can value and build on these lived experiences so that mathematics classrooms become spaces that honour diverse mathematical ideas and thoughts, and incorporate multiple ways of knowing and doing. Such spaces allow all students to become flexible and adaptive learners in an ever-changing world.
The vision of this mathematics course is to support all students as they develop healthy and strong identities as mathematics learners and grow to be mathematically skilled, to enhance their ability to use mathematics to make sense of the world around them, and to enable them to make critical decisions while engaged in mathematical thinking. This vision is attained in a mathematics classroom filled with high academic expectations and deep engagement that generates enthusiasm and curiosity – an inclusive classroom where all students receive the highest-quality mathematics instruction and learning opportunities, are empowered to interact as confident mathematics learners, and are thereby supported in reaching their full potential.
The goal of the Ontario mathematics curriculum is to provide all students with the key skills required to:
- understand the importance of and appreciate the beauty and wonder of mathematics;
- recognize and appreciate multiple mathematical perspectives;
- make informed decisions and contribute fully to their own lives and to today’s interconnected local and global communities;
- adapt to changes and synthesize new ideas;
- work both independently and collaboratively to approach challenges;
- communicate effectively;
- think critically and creatively to connect, apply, and leverage mathematics within other areas of study including science, technology, engineering, the arts, and beyond.
A strong foundation of mathematics is an important contributor to students’ future success and an essential part of becoming an informed citizen. In order to develop a strong understanding of mathematics and the ability to apply mathematics in real life, all students must feel that they are connected to the curriculum – to what is taught, why it is taught, and how it is taught.
The Importance and Beauty of Mathematics
Mathematics is integral to every aspect of daily life – social, economic, cultural, and environmental. It is embedded into the rich and complex story of human history. People around the world have used, and continue to contribute, mathematical knowledge, skills, and attitudes to make sense of the world around them and to develop new mathematical thinking and appreciation for mathematics. Mathematics is conceptualized and practised in many different ways across diverse local and global cultural contexts. It is part of diverse knowledge systems composed of culturally situated thinking and practices. From counting systems, measurement, and calculation to geometry, spatial sense, trigonometry, algebra, functions, calculus, and statistics, mathematics has been evident in the daily lives of people and communities across human histories.
Today, mathematics is found all around us. For example, mathematics can be found in sports performance analysis, navigation systems, electronic music production, computer gaming, graphic art, quantum physics, climate change modelling, and so much more. Mathematics skills are necessary when we buy goods and services online, complete our taxes, do beading, construct buildings, and play sports. Mathematics also exists in nature, storytelling, music, dancing, puzzles, and games. Proficiency with mathematical ideas is needed for many careers, including but not limited to engineering, health care and medicine, psychology, computer science, finance, landscape design, fashion design, architecture, agriculture, ecology, the arts, the culinary arts, and many other skilled trades. In fact, in every field of pursuit, the analytical, problem-solving, critical-thinking, and creative-thinking skills that students develop through the study of mathematics are evident. In the modern age of evolving technologies, artificial intelligence, and access to vast sources of information and big data, knowing how to navigate, interpret, analyse, reason, evaluate, and problem solve is foundational to everyday life.
Mathematics can be understood as a way of studying and understanding structure, order, patterns, and relationships. The power of mathematics is evident in the connections among seemingly abstract mathematical ideas. The applications of mathematics have often yielded fascinating representations and results. As well, the aesthetics of mathematics have also motivated the development of new mathematical thinking. The beauty in mathematics can be found in the process of deriving elegant and succinct approaches to resolving problems.
At times, messy problems and seeming chaos may culminate in beautiful, sometimes surprising, results that are both simple and generalizable. Elegance and chaos are both integral to the beauty of mathematics itself and to the mathematical experience. In other words, the beauty of mathematics is illustrated and enhanced by students’ diverse interpretations, strategies, representations, and identities – not diminished by them. Most importantly, students can experience wonder and beauty when they make exciting breakthroughs in problem solving. Therefore, these two aspects of mathematics, aesthetics and application, are deeply interconnected.
The Grade 9 mathematics course strives to equip all students with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that are essential to understanding and enjoying the importance and beauty of mathematics. Learning in Grade 9 mathematics begins with a focus on the fundamental concepts and foundational skills. This leads to an understanding of mathematical structures, operations, processes, and language that provides students with the means necessary for reasoning, justifying conclusions, and expressing and communicating mathematical ideas.
When educators put student learning at the centre, provide relevant and meaningful learning opportunities, and use technology strategically to enhance learning experiences, all students are supported as they learn and apply mathematical concepts and skills within and across strands and other subject areas.
The Grade 9 mathematics course emphasizes the importance of establishing an inclusive mathematical learning community where all students are invited to experience the living practice of mathematics, to work through challenges, and to find beauty and success in problem solving. As students engage with the curriculum, they are supported in incorporating their lived experiences and existing mathematical understandings, and then integrating the new ideas they learn into their daily lives. When students recognize themselves in what is taught and how it is taught, they begin to view themselves as competent and confident mathematics learners who belong to the larger mathematics community. As students develop mathematical knowledge and skills, they grow as mathematical thinkers. As students explore histories of mathematics and comprehend the importance and beauty of mathematics, they develop their mathematical agency and identity, at the same time as they make connections to other subjects and the world around them.
Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusive Education in Mathematics
Research indicates that there are groups of students (for example, Indigenous students, Black students, students experiencing homelessness, students living in poverty, students with LGBTQ+ identities, and students with special education needs and disabilities) who continue to experience systemic barriers to accessing high-level instruction in and support with learning mathematics. Systemic barriers, such as racism, implicit bias, and other forms of discrimination, can result in inequitable academic and life outcomes, such as low confidence in one’s ability to learn mathematics, reduced rates of credit completion, and leaving the secondary school system prior to earning a diploma. Achieving equitable outcomes in mathematics for all students requires educators to be aware of and identify these barriers, as well as the ways in which they can overlap and intersect, which can compound their effect on student well-being, student success, and students’ experiences in the classroom and in the school. Educators must not only know about these barriers, they must work actively and with urgency to address and remove them.
Students bring abundant cultural knowledges, experiences, and competencies into mathematical learning. It is essential for educators to develop pedagogical practices that value and centre students’ prior learning, experiences, strengths, and interests. Such pedagogical practices are informed by and build on students’ identities, lived experiences, and linguistic resources. When educator