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Math curriculum for Ont. Grade 1 to include coding, personal finance

Starting this September, the Ford government’s new elementary math curriculum will include coding, computer storage measurements and personal finance terms for Grade 1.

This addition is part of a concerted effort to improve the EQAO math scores.

Starting this September, students in Ontario public school will begin teaching mathematics with more emphasis on a “back to basics” approach, with certain concepts introduced in earlier grades and other concepts pushed into higher ones.

Throughout grades one to eight, children will learn concepts related to coding for the first time.

They will also learn about personal finance in each grade, and they will learn about measurements of data storage, such as a byte, kilobyte, megabyte and gigabyte, alongside the other units of measurement they learned previously.

Ministry of Education officials said teachers will be given professional development time through the summer as well as during the new school year to adapt lesson plans to the changes.

Ontario’s official opposition said changing the curriculum during a pandemic is “irresponsible.”

The new curriculum also changes when children will be introduced to some core skills.

For instance, learning to tell time on a round clock with hands will now begin in Grade 3, instead of Grade 1.

Meanwhile, plotting coordinates on a grid will be taught in Grade 4, down from Grade 6, with officials saying the skill is useful to have when learning about coding.

Provincial EQAO math scores have been lagging behind reading and writing scores in the elementary grades for years.

In Grade 6, the average math score has been stuck at 61 percent for a decade.

While there is sure to be opposition to the new changes from vested interests who believe it is too much too soon given COVID-19, there are others who believe time is of essence. Too much time has been wasted and children need to learn the basics of math and coding if they have to succeed in a fast-changing world.

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