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Mathematical thinking in schools

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This module develops your knowledge and understanding of mathematics teaching. It suits any Key Stage and broadens your ideas about how people learn and use mathematics.

What you will study

This module is designed to:

  • develop your mathematical thinking
  • raise your awareness to some ways in which people learn mathematics
  • provide you with experience of different teaching approaches and the learning opportunities they afford
  • develop your awareness of, and facility with, ICT in the learning and teaching of mathematics
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of some important mathematical ideas.

Successful study of this module should enhance your skills in communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly and explaining mathematical ideas to others

You can find the full content list on the Open mathematics and statistics website.

You will learn

The module starts from the assumption that mathematics education is an intrinsically worthwhile enterprise; it is therefore worth striving to understand its processes in order to do it better. The module aims arise from the nature of mathematics education as a process of human interaction, which means that certain aspects of the module can only be engaged with through practice. You will be expected to work on mathematics tasks yourself and consider the process you have worked through in terms of your thinking. From this perspective, the module offers ways of working that contribute to your own mathematical development and, by enhancing your work with other learners, can enrich learning and confidence.

Professional recognition

This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.

Entry requirements

There is no formal pre-requisite study. However,

  • you should be over 18
  • your own level of mathematics should be at least GCSE Grade 4 (or equivalent)
  • you do need to have a reasonable standard of spoken and written English
  • to complete the assessment, you’ll need to work with a learner or learners who will be pleasantly challenged by secondary school-level mathematics. It is possible for friends or family members to act as your learners, but it is preferable if you can work with some secondary age children.

You can find out more about our mathematics education modules here.

Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure if you’re ready.

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video resources
  • GeoGebra computer software and associated guidance
  • assessment details, instructions and guidance
  • online tutorial access

The study materials are available via the module website or as downloadable (non-interactive) pdfs.

There are no printed materials in this module.

You will need

  • A device to make digital images of your evidence (e.g. phone camera, scanner).

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying ME620 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Mathematical thinking in schools (ME620) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

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