The Importance of Mathematical Literacy

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The Importance of Mathematical Literacy

We can all agree that every student needs strong literacy skills to succeed both in school and in life. The ability to read, write, speak and listen effectively are all key aspects of essential communication.

The importance of mathematical literacy, also known as numeracy, is no different. It is much more than just understanding and using the specific terminology used in maths classes. It is the ability to problem-solve, the ability to apply logic and reason in order to analyse and explain. It is the ability to use numbers, information or data to help solve real-world problems.

By developing numeracy, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of the world we live in. They are able to budget, to strategise, to estimate and to predict many real-world situations through an embedded understanding of how fundamental mathematics works.

How can we help at home?

There are ways in which we can aid the development of numeracy outside of the classroom. The following examples are just some of the ways in which we can encourage our children to use numeracy in real-world situations:

  1. Money
    • Estimating costs when shopping.
    • Browsing catalogues and working to a budget.
    • Looking at utility bills and understanding how they are calculated.
  2. Time
    • Looking at travel timetables and planning trips.
    • Using world clocks and understanding time zones.
  3. Ratio and Proportion
    • Using recipes, and adjusting the quantity of ingredients for varying numbers of people.
  4. Patterns and Probability
    • Looking at weather reports worldwide. Looking for trends and patterns in weather.
    • Looking at past data, and using probability terminology to predict the weather.

Mathematics is everywhere, and by exposing our children to numeracy regularly, we will help foster a familiarity and confidence in our children with the numerical world around us.