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What is Numeracy?

Have you ever wondered what exactly is meant by the term "Numeracy"?

Numeracy refers to the ability to understand and work with numbers, mathematical concepts, and their practical applications.


In the Victorian curriculum, numeracy is organized into four major strands:

  1. Number and Algebra:  It involves concepts such as counting, place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.

  2. Measurement and Geometry:  It covers concepts such as length, area, volume, time, angles, and geometric properties, as well as developing skills in measurement, estimation, and spatial reasoning.

  3. Statistics and Probability: This strand introduces students to collecting, organising, analysing, and interpreting data, for example creating and interpreting graphs


In addition to the strands, the Victorian curriculum also emphasises four proficiencies:

  1. Understanding: Developing a conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas and principles.

  2. Fluency: Building fluency and proficiency in performing mathematical operations and procedures accurately and efficiently.

  3. Problem-Solving: Applying mathematical knowledge and strategies to solve a wide range of problems, including real-life and abstract scenarios.

  4. Reasoning: Engaging in mathematical reasoning, logical thinking, and making connections between different mathematical concepts and situations.


Westalls Numeracy Program

At Westall students study numeracy daily for about an hour.

All areas of numeracy are covered, with an emphasis on Number and Algebra skills, which are then applied to the other strands to make the math applicable in the real world and relevant to the students.


As a school we are strengthening this approach so that students are always exposed to the different strands of mathematics on a regular basis, rather than approaching a concept in a topic during one term, and then 

Maths Rich Task Initiative

In 2023 all staff are undertaking professional development with he Mathematical Association of Victoria around the development of Maths Rich Tasks - to engage and meet the needs of diverse learners in their classroom.

Maths rich task, according to the Mathematics Association of Victoria, is an engaging and open-ended mathematical activity that encourages students to think deeply, explore multiple strategies, and make connections between different mathematical concepts. It goes beyond simple calculations or rote procedures, allowing students to engage in meaningful problem-solving and critical thinking.

A maths rich task typically presents a real-world or authentic mathematical scenario that requires students to apply their mathematical knowledge and skills in a creative and flexible manner. It often involves open-ended questions, investigations, or complex problem-solving situations where there may be multiple paths to a solution

Scaffolding Numeracy Initiative

At Westall, once per week all students in years 3-6 are assigned to one of 8 zoned ability level groups to develop their skills.

The learning and assessment framework for multiplicative thinking is based on the work of Professor Di Siemens from Monash University consists of eight zones that help children develop their understanding of multiplication and division. Here's a simple and parent-friendly description of these zones:

  1. Primitive Modelling 

  2. Intuitive Modelling

  3. Sensing

  4. Strategy Exploring

  5. Strategy Refining

  6. Strategy Extending

  7. Connecting

  8. Reflective Knowing

These zones provide a progression of understanding and skills in multiplicative thinking. By exploring and practicing concepts within each zone, children develop a solid foundation in multiplication and division, preparing them for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.


Number and Algebra

Number skills are the building blocks of mathematical competency in children. They provide the foundation for understanding and working with more complex mathematical concepts, because of this, NAPLAN numeracy tests focus a lot on this strand.


At Westall we spend a lot of time on number skills. Here's why number skills are so important:

  1. Fundamental Understanding: Number skills help children develop a deep understanding of how numbers work, including concepts like counting, place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 

  2. Problem-Solving Abilities: Number skills equip children with the ability to solve problems and apply mathematical strategies effectively. 

  3. Practical Applications: Number skills have practical applications in everyday life. Children use number skills to manage money, make measurements, understand time, calculate quantities, and interpret data. 

  4. Future Success: Number skills are essential for success in future mathematics education and careers. Proficiency in numbers opens doors to various fields, including science, technology, engineering, and finance. 


How you can help at home

Here are some effective ways we use to foster these skills that you can also do at home all the time:

  1. Counting: Engage in counting activities with your child. Count objects, steps, or even claps together. Use counting rhymes or songs to make it fun and interactive.

  2. Number Recognition: Introduce numbers to your child through books, toys, and everyday objects. Point out numbers in the environment, such as on street signs or household items. Encourage your child to identify and name numbers.

  3. One-to-One Correspondence: Help your child understand the concept of one-to-one correspondence by matching objects to numbers. For example, have them place one object for each number they count.

  4. Number Games and Toys: Utilize number games, puzzles, and toys that engage your child's interest. This could include counting blocks, number puzzles, or board games that involve numbers and counting.

  5. Math-related Books and Apps: Read math-related books that introduce concepts like counting, shapes, or numbers. Explore educational apps or online resources that offer age-appropriate math activities and games.

  6. Math Talk: Engage in conversations that involve math concepts. Ask questions like "How many toys do you have?" or "What shape is that block?" Encourage your child to explain their thinking and reasoning


Measurement and Geometry

Measurement and geometry at the primary level in Victoria, Australia, covers a range of concepts related to measurement and spatial understanding. Here's a parent-friendly explanation of what children learn in measurement and geometry:


Measurement: Children develop skills in measuring and comparing quantities. They learn about units of measurement, such as centimeters, meters, grams, and kilograms. They practice measuring length, mass, capacity, and time. They also learn to estimate and compare measurements, understand concepts like area and perimeter, and use tools like rulers and timers.

Geometry: In geometry, children explore shapes, space, and spatial relationships. They learn to identify and name two-dimensional shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. They investigate the properties of shapes, such as sides, angles, and symmetry. They also explore three-dimensional shapes like cubes, cones, and cylinders. Children learn to describe and classify shapes, understand positional language, and solve problems involving spatial relationships.

How you can help at home

As parents, you can support your child's learning in measurement and geometry by providing opportunities for hands-on exploration and discussion.

Encourage them to:

1. Measure objects around the house

2. Compare lengths or weights 

3. Identify shapes in their environment

4. Engage in conversations about measurements and shapes



Statistics and Data

Later Stages 

In Victoria, Australia, statistics and data at the primary level refers to the fundamental concepts and skills that students learn related to gathering, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data. This subject aims to develop students' ability to make sense of numerical information and use it to make informed decisions.

Statistics and data help students understand numbers and information better.

  • Students learn how to collect data by asking questions and observing things around them. Example: Asking classmates about their favorite colors and recording the results.

  • They learn to organize data using tables, graphs, and charts. Example: Creating a bar graph to show the number of books read by each student in the class.

  • Students analyze data to find patterns and make sense of it. Example: Noticing that most students prefer pizza as their favorite food based on a survey.

  • They learn basic math concepts like mean, median, and mode to describe data. Example: Calculating the average height of plants in a garden to see how they are growing.

  • Students explore probability, which is about the likelihood of something happening. Example: Predicting the chance of flipping heads or tails in a coin toss.

How you can help at home

  1. Encourage data collection: Encourage your child to collect data in their daily life. For example, they can survey family members or friends about their favorite foods or keep track of the weather conditions each day.

  2. Discuss data representations: Engage in conversations about different types of graphs and charts. Look at examples in newspapers, magazines, or online and discuss what they represent and how they can be interpreted.

  3. Analyze real-life scenarios: Encourage your child to analyze data in real-life situations. For instance, discuss the data on product labels while grocery shopping or analyze sports statistics while watching a game together.

  4. Make it practical: Help your child apply statistics and data skills in practical ways. For example, involve them in measuring ingredients while cooking or creating a budget for a family outing.

  5. Play math games: Engage in math-related games or activities that involve data and statistics. Board games like "Guess Who?" or "Snakes and Ladders" can provide opportunities to think strategically and use probability concepts.

  6. Explore online resources: Use online educational resources and websites that offer interactive games and activities related to statistics and data. These resources can make learning engaging and enjoyable.

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