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**Numeracy Across the Curriculum**

What is it? What does it look like?

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**Numeracy is everywhere . . .**

Numeracy has been identified as the 3rd core component of literacy with reading and writing. Numeracy for ordinary citizens is primarily a new expectation of the late 20th century. Late in the 20th century “mathematics” still meant “school mathematics,” with very few connections to the real world.

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**Numeracy is still largely invisible to the public**

“Innumeracy” can be profoundly disabling in private life and at work. Numeracy skills are required for full, intelligent participation in today’s society.

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**Numeracy: Part of decision making in our data-driven society**

Future journalists, policy advocates, lawyers, opinion-makers and political leaders: Are majoring in non-quantitative degrees Will use quantitative data to make decisions or to affect decision-makers about what data reveals! Most of us are part of this group.

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What Is Numeracy? Defining numeracy is like trying to describe a moving target. We will have to continually look at the definition and how it relates to our continually changing and increasingly more technologically-driven society.

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**Alberta Education Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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confidence . . . Reflects importance of metacognition Trust your math rather than an opinion

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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habits of mind . . . Motivation, responsibility, resourcefulness “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” (Aristotle )

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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engage with . . . Active, engaged learner vs. passive learner

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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critically assess Used in “Inspiring Education” instead of critique

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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reflect upon Part of being an engaged student and ethical citizen

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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apply Must be an application since there is always a context Requires using, not just knowing

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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**quantitative and spatial information . . .**

More than just working with numbers (quantitative) Many connections between spatial sense and number sense

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

Part of being an engaged student and ethical citizen Purposeful activity; seeking and then using information making judgments and decisions or taking action

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**Alberta Learning Definition**

“The confidence and habits of mind to: engage with . . . critically assess . . . reflect upon . . . apply . . . quantitative and spatial information . . . when: making judgments and decisions or taking action in all aspects of daily living.”

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**Purposeful use of math; not just doing math**

“Numeracy is a type of literacy used to communicate effectively about quantitative and spatial topics. . . It empowers people by giving them tools to think for themselves, to ask intelligent questions of experts and confront authority confidently.” (Steen) in all aspects of daily living.”

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Numeracy is . . . Simple math strategies that are readily accessible as tools along with other tools to solve life’s problems as they arise.

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**Numeracy is . . . driven by issues that are important to people**

inseparable from its context starting with the initial discussion through to application driven by issues that are important to people mathematics acting in the world requires mostly elementary mathematics involves: real data uncertain procedures messy problems

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Numeracy is . . . The same number in different contexts may bring very different meaning - may even require different actions. A different unit (25 cm, 25 m, 25 ml, $25) What kind of preparation is involved when feeding Birds Dogs People at a shelter People at a formal dinner Plants Tigers Elephants Do your priorities change? Safety, time, space? Consider

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**The Elements of Numeracy . . .**

Confidence in math and number sense Comfort, fluency, flexibility, as natural as using language Intuitive confidence in estimation, number sense and common sense Number sense relies heavily on seeing relationships between numbers We can develop all of these in a math classroom Mathematics in Context Using math in meaningful ways as the need arises

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**The Elements of Numeracy . . .**

Interpreting Data and Logical / Critical Thinking important for comprehending public issues accept little at face value, constantly look beneath the surface demand appropriate information to get at the essence of issues able to see how data or a solution impact future decisions Making Decisions develop a mindset where numeracy is a tool for living, just like reading, writing & speaking

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**Numeracy has no special content of its own**

It inherits its content from its context is inseparable from its context from initial discussion through to application It is driven by issues that are important to people.

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The test of numeracy, as of any literacy, is whether a person naturally uses appropriate skills in many different contexts. A key part of this is understanding and application of math knowledge.

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**Compared to math, numeracy is:**

less formal & more intuitive You can just do math, but you can’t just do numeracy. You have to notice an opportunity as it occurs in the natural flow of life. However, you can plan to use it (eg. grocery shopping, restaurant bill).

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**As students move forward in math, its purpose becomes somewhat narrowed and self serving.**

Prepares them for more complex math Prepares a minority for their future profession Numeracy never becomes irrelevant.

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**Numeracy involves basic math**

Understanding the math must come first. Without the math and related number sense, students don’t have numeracy tools to use and draw upon. If they can’t solve a problem efficiently, they will not use math as a tool in their lives.

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**Numeracy involves math “experiences”**

Students must come to: understand the math appreciate what it can do for them recognize when it can be used choose to use it as a tool in their world. Then they can reason about what an answer means and decide if/how to move forward.

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Context is Key ! Numeracy is asking us to focus more on the conversations that go on AFTER the calculations. In order to support numeracy, we must see context and number sense as the focus of math classrooms.

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Context is Key ! Good pedagogy: help kids to learn math and to use numeracy when they see a context. We want them to naturally apply their math. We want it to become a “habit of mind”. Math requires teachers to orchestrate experiences where students can construct personal meaning and develop number sense in meaningful contexts. It does not require a real life problem to be looming. However even contrived contexts make the problem more meaningful.

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**What does this mean for teachers?**

In order to teach numeracy, teachers need: A competent level of personal number sense A deep understanding of content A deep understanding of pedagogy. How teachers teach matters. Most of the adults who possess strong numeracy skills learned them outside the classroom. Traditionally, even though it is considered the focal point of elementary math, there is very little formal number sense training Personal interest outside the math classroom led them to numeracy to help them dig deeper into their area of interest!

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**What does this mean for teachers?**

As situations arise across various curricula, numeracy requires teachers to: Encourage students to incorporate and use simple math and number sense as an additional lens from which to look at any situation Facilitate the use numeracy as tool along with other tools. Simple Math 4 Big Ideas Commutative, associative and distributive properties Doubling and halving Estimation Data Analysis

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**What does this mean for teachers?**

Teachers must try to connect to backgrounds and interests of kids. Both are fertile places for numeracy and number sense to grow.

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**What does this mean for teachers?**

Numeracy is not a new or additional set of outcomes. Numeracy is about choosing from what has been learned “. . . flexibly draw on the subset of mathematics that is most useful in dealing with life’s diverse contexts and situations” (Peter Liljedahl) The subset is not the same for every person; only mastered skills are accessible.

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