The key idea of equations and expressions at level 1 is that counting, grouping and equal sharing strategies can be recorded using words, numbers and pictures.

Mathematical relationships can be represented in a variety of ways. Each representation provides a different view of the same relationship, and different representations serve different purposes.

At level one, students need to have plenty of opportunities to explain and represent their number strategies using a combination of words, numbers and pictures. Recording their ideas in ways that make sense to them will support students to develop their both mathematical understandings and ways they can communicate these to others. At level one this includes:

- Using diagrams or pictures to represent sets. For example the equation “2 apples and 3 apples makes 5 apples” can be shown as
- Using number lines to represent equations. For example, “7-3=4” can be shown as

As students develop their own ways of expressing their mathematical thinking they need to be introduced to the formal language of mathematics. At level one this will include simple equations such as:

- 4 + 3 = 7, which can be read as “4 plus three equals seven” or “four and three is the same as 7.”
- 10 - 6 = 4, read as “10 minus 6 equals 4”

This key idea develops from the informal use of materials to represent numbers during the pre-school years.

This key idea is extended to the key idea of equations and expressions at level 2 where number operations and strategies to solve number operations are recorded using words, numbers, diagrams and symbols.