At Phoenix Collegiate we believe Numeracy is a vital skill that is important in everyday life. It is about being confident when solving problems, making decisions and analysing situations that involve numbers. Numeracy is key to lifelong learning, it enables a young person to understand scientific concepts, interpret figures, understand cause and effect etc.
Numeracy is a proficiency that involves confidence and competence with numbers and measures. Numeracy also demands practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered by counting and measuring, and is presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.
All curriculum areas endeavour to ensure that materials presented to students will match their capability both in subject content and in numerical demands. They will liaise with the Special Educational Needs and mathematics departments when appropriate in order to support their teaching of numeracy. All teachers consider students' ability to cope with the numerical demands of everyday life and provide opportunities for students to:
- Handle number and measurement competently, mentally, orally and in writing;
- Use calculators accurately and appropriately;
- Interpret and use numerical and statistical data represented in a variety of forms.
Establishing links between Numeracy and other Subject Areas
Art and Design & Technology
Measurements are often needed in art and in design & technology. Many patterns and constructions in our own and other cultures are based on spatial ideas and properties of shapes, including symmetry. Designs may need enlarging or reducing, introducing ideas of multiplication, scale and ratio. The preparation of food involves measurement, working out times and calculating cost, frequently extending into calculations involving ratio and proportion.
Business Studies and Economics
Numeracy is an important part of all Business Studies and Economics courses. Learners use numeracy in both the creation and interpretation of graphs, charts and tables. Percentages are widely used in data comparisons. Learners need to be able to calculate using mental calculations but they also need to be confident in the use of a calculator. Skills of analysis are involved when looking at primary and secondary data and in the scrutiny of questionnaire results. Learners also use Excel spread sheets.
Numeracy lessons help to develop literacy skills by teaching mathematical vocabulary and technical terms and by requiring learners to read and interpret problems and identify the numeracy necessary to solve the problem. It also requires learners to explain their methods and strategies to others and present their findings and conclusions. English lessons may provide non-fiction texts in which mathematical information in the form of graphs, tables or charts may need to be interpreted and explained. In sessions in the LRC, Dewey classification is an excellent application of decimal ordering.
In history and geography students will collect data by counting and measuring and make use of measurements of many kinds. The study of maps includes the use of co-ordinates and ideas of angle, direction, position, scale and ratio. Discussing evidence in history or geography may involve measurement, estimation and approximation skills, and making inferences.
Students will make statistical enquiries, for example, in analysing population data to explore and compare lifestyles. They will also use a wide range of measurements and rates of change. The study of maps includes the use of coordinates and ideas of angle, direction, position, scale and ratio. Historical ideas require understanding of the passage of time, which can be illustrated on a time line, similar to the number line that they already know.
In ICT lessons, students will collect and classify data, enter them into data-handling software, produce graphs and tables, and interpret and explain their results. Their work in control will include the measurement of distance and angle. Spreadsheet skills, used in modelling and simulations, rely on the numeric, algebraic and graphical skills involved in constructing formulae and generating sequences, functions and graphs.
Students use numeracy in MFL when learning to tell the time, calculating café bills, handling money, working on days and dates and doing simple arithmetic calculations involving addition, subtraction and multiplication. Work in MFL offers some learners the additional opportunity they need to grasp the fundamentals of number work.
Physical Education and Music
Athletic activities use measurement of height, distance and time and data-logging devices to quantify, explore, and improve performance. Ideas of counting, time, symmetry, movement, position and direction are used extensively in music, dance, gymnastics, athletics and competitive games.
Religious Education, PSHE and Citizenship
Belief and likelihood in religious education, or risk assessment in PSHE, relate well to work in mathematics. The discussion of moral and social issues is likely to lead to the use of primary and secondary data and the interpretation of graphs, charts and tables, helping students to make reasoned and informed decisions and to recognise biased data and misleading representations. By applying mathematics to problems set in financial and other real-life contexts students will develop their financial capability and awareness of the applications of mathematics in the workplace.
Almost every scientific investigation or experiment is likely to require one or more of the mathematical skills of classifying, counting, measuring, calculating, estimating, and recording in tables and graphs. Students will, for example, order numbers, including decimals, calculate means and percentages, use negative numbers when taking temperatures, decide whether it is more appropriate to use a line graph or bar chart, and plot, interpret and predict from graphs. They will explore rates of change in cooling curves and distance-time graphs, apply formulae and solve equations, for example, in problems on moments.
Numeracy through Darts
Darts is a fun game, which helps enormously with the development of mental maths and numeracy. English darts player Bobby George believes the game is also an ideal way to help children understand maths. He said: "I've been going into schools for 20 years. And they love it. They pick it up so fast. On a blackboard they don't pick it up so quickly. The game of darts is 33 per cent maths, if you cannot count you cannot win."
In order to enjoy the game, each student is able to learn the safety rules of the game and develop their understanding of possible checkouts.
The club is run by members of the Maths team. Darts are supplied, although should students wish to bring darts into school, they must be deposited safely in a Maths member of staff’s locked store cupboard before morning registration. If any student is found to have darts on them during the day, they will be confiscated and the student may lose their place in the club. Watching the darts on tv shows that professionals display amazing agility with numbers.
A member of staff explained: "Some 14.9 million adults in England lack the maths skills expected of 11-year-olds, but the mental arithmetic darts required was a "great leveler". Darts is a fun way to sharpen up your number skills and offers many simple, enjoyable opportunities to improve multiplying, subtracting and adding. Seven million people describe themselves as regular darts players. They have to subtract large scores - often multiplied because of hitting "doubles" or "trebles" - from a starting level of 501 points."
Another colleague added: "I would encourage any student out there who didn't feel very confident with maths in other contexts to find more out about the Numeracy through Darts initiative, to build on what they can already do."