Mathematics is one subject that pervades life at any age and in any circumstance. Thus, its value goes beyond the classroom and the school. Mathematics as a school subject, therefore, must be learned comprehensively and with much depth.
The twin goals of mathematics in the basic education levels, K-10, are Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.
Critical thinking, according to Scriven and Paul (1987) is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
On the other hand, according to Polya (1945 & 1962), mathematical problem solving is finding a way around a difficulty, around an obstacle, and finding a solution to a problem that is unknown.
These two goals are to be achieved with an organized and rigorous curriculum content, a well-defined set of high-level skills and processes, desirable values and attitudes, and appropriate tools, taking into account the different contexts of Filipino learners.
There are five content areas in the curriculum, as adopted from the framework prepared by MATHTED & SEI (2010): Numbers and Number Sense, Measurement, Geometry, Patterns and Algebra, and Probability and Statistics.
The specific skills and processes to be developed are: knowing and understanding; estimating, computing and solving; visualizing and modelling; representing and communicating; conjecturing, reasoning, proving and decision-making; and applying and connecting.
The following values and attitudes are to be honed as well: accuracy, creativity, objectivity, perseverance, and productivity.
We recognize that the use of appropriate tools is necessary in teaching mathematics. These include: manipulative objects, measuring devices, calculators and computers, smart phones and tablet PCs, and the Internet.
We define context as a locale, situation, or set of conditions of Filipino learners that may influence their study and use of mathematics to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Contexts refer to beliefs, environment, language and culture that include traditions and practices, as well as the learner’s prior knowledge and experiences.