Big ideas to start strong across K–6

Learn about some of the big ideas and core concepts that underpin much of the NSW mathematics syllabus.

Big ideas to start strong across K-6 aims to enrich the leading, teaching and learning of big ideas and core concepts in mathematics from Kindergarten to Year 6.

This course replaces both Starting Strong (K-2) and Working with the Big Ideas (3-6) which were offered in 2021. This new combined course supports a whole-school approach to the leading, teaching and learning of mathematics. To develop a nuanced understanding of what some of these big ideas can look like in classrooms, pathways will be offered inside the course structure to support teachers across the K–6 range.

Big ideas to start strong across K–6 has been developed by the NSW Mathematics Strategy Professional Learning team (NSWMS PL team) and will provide opportunities for you to hear from some leading academics.

Who this course is for

You may complete this professional learning individually or together as a team. Participants could include:

  • any teacher or leader interested in enhancing their understanding of some important big ideas in mathematics across K–6
  • Assistant Principals, Curriculum and Instruction (AP, C&Is)
  • specialist support teachers
  • graduate teachers with a specialisation in mathematics
  • Stage 4 teachers and leaders focussed on supporting the transition between Stage 3 and Stage 4.

Learning as a school team

Learning together is usually more impactful than learning alone, however, it’s not always possible for schools. In previous years, participants have included:

  • individual teachers who have used their RFF because they wanted to learn more about mathematics

  • leaders who have participated in the learning along with a stage team

  • whole school teams who learnt together, using staff development days and professional learning meetings

  • teachers who have formed small communities of learners with colleagues in different schools and learnt online together – creating their own online learning spaces to talk about the course and what they’re doing in their classrooms as a result.

The course

Becoming mathematicians: Big ideas to start strong across K–6 aims to:

  • deepen understanding of some big ideas and core concepts in mathematics and how they relate to syllabuses

  • showcase examples of classroom practice, tasks and assessment tools related to some big ideas and core concepts

  • support knowledge for teachers across the horizon of learning from K–6 and beyond

  • build teachers’ confidence in the teaching and learning of mathematics

  • deepen teachers’ knowledge

  • explore evidence-based mathematical pedagogies and research

  • highlight opportunities for making and using connections within and across syllabuses through exploring big ideas and core concepts

  • provide opportunities to work collaboratively within and across school communities

  • support teachers in enacting what is learnt and refined inside classrooms.

Curriculum Reform and syllabus implementation

This course supports schools in Curriculum Reform by providing opportunities to deeply explore some important big ideas and core concepts that are embedded throughout the NSW Mathematics syllabuses. Additionally, the NSW Curriculum Review outlined the importance of building professional knowledge to support student understanding of the key concepts, principles, and ways of working in mathematics, focussing on conceptual understanding and the big ideas that underpin mathematics. (NESA, 2021)

Course commitments

Becoming Mathematicians Big Ideas to Start Strong across K-6 is an online course for teachers to access as best suits them. The course involves 10 self-paced components with each one taking approximately 2 hours to complete. This includes:

  • one prerequisite introduction “course” providing some important background information for teachers who choose to participate in Big Ideas to Start Strong or Effective Teaching Practices. Once completed, you’ll receive an access code for the modules specifically for Big Ideas to Start Strong.

  • nine modules released throughout the year.

  • opportunities to play with mathematics, discuss ideas, reflect and respond throughout each module.

Release dates

Learning Availability, by Friday

Prerequisite: Introduction course

Term 1, Week 5

Module 1: Patterns are at the heart of mathematics

Term 1, Week 5

Module 2: Equals describes an important relationship

Term 1, Week 7

Module 3: We measure to learn about, navigate and describe the world around us.

Term 2, Week 1

Module 4: Mathematics is incredibly flexible

Term 2, Week 4

Module 5: Place value… Is it mathematics’ greatest invention?

Term 2, Week 7

Module 6: Multiplicative thinking is more than just times tables

Term 3, Week 1

Module 7: Fractions can be so divisive

Term 3, Week 4

Module 8: Geometry… keeping the world in shape

Term 3, Week 7

Module 9: Data helps us to navigate and describe our world

Term 4, Week 1

Participants may like to access each new part:

  • on the date it is released

  • after the release date

  • over a few days, spending an hour one day and an hour another

  • by ‘saving up’ several modules to explore a few of them together as part of a professional learning day.


Registration for Cohort 2 of Becoming Mathematicians: – Big ideas to Start Strong is open for department teachers and school leaders until the end of Term 4, 2023. You will have access to the same course content as Cohort 1 and will join others as part of a new learning community.

You will need to consider the time commitment and discuss this learning opportunity with your principal to get their approval to participate. There is no cost associated with this professional learning. However, if casual relief is used, that will need to be covered by the school.

Each person taking part in the learning must register. You can complete the registration individually or one colleague can register each participant in your school team. Allow up to 2 weeks to receive an email with access information for the professional learning. Once you commence your learning in Cohort 2, you will have access to the course until the end of Term 2, 2025.

Register now for cohort 2

If you are in a non-school-based teaching (NSBT) role, please register using the K–6 Maths strategy professional learning – NSBT form

Contact us

Contact the NSW Maths Strategy Professional Learning team for further information.

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