Glossary of Terms

The list below explains the meaning of some of the key terms used in the Numeracy Project:

Term

Meaning

Additive Additive is a term used to describe a range of strategies for solving problems which involve using addition and subtraction to split up and rejoin numbers.
Advanced Counting Advanced Counting is a stage of the Number Framework. It describes children who are able to solve problems by 'counting on' from a number other than 1. For example, to solve 5 + 3 they would start at 5, and count on 6, 7, 8 to find the answer. These children are also likely to be able to skip count (2, 4, 6, 8...) to solve multiplication problems such as 2 x 4.
Algorithm A series of steps that can be followed mechanically to find a solution. For example, there are standard algorithms that are used for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Basic facts The sums (additions) and products (multiplications) of all pairs of whole numbers from 0 to 9.
Common factor A whole number that divides exactly into two or more other numbers
Counting from one A strategy for adding or subtracting groups of objects by counting each object, one at a time.
Counting on Counting on is a strategy used to solve addition problems. It involves counting from a number other than 1. For example, to solve 5 + 3 they would start at 5, and count on 6, 7, 8 to find the answer.
Denominator The denominator is the bottom number in a fraction. For example in the fraction three quarters. the denominator is 4. The top number is called the numerator.
Equivalent fractions Fractions that represent the same value, such as one quarter. and two eighths. .
Knowledge Knowledge describes information that a child should be able to recall without needing to work it out. The addition and multiplication basic facts are examples of knowledge that children should learn. Knowing which numbers are smaller or larger than others is also an example of knowledge.
Mental strategy An in-the-head process that the learner chooses to use to solve a problem.
Multiplicative Multiplicative is a term used to describe a range of strategies for solving problems which involve using multiplication and division to split up and rejoin numbers.
Number Facts Number facts are items of knowledge that children should be able to recall instantly, such as the addition and subtraction basic facts.
Number Framework The Number Framework is a model describing the various knowledge and strategies that children learn in the development of numeracy. Click for more information about the Number Framework.
Number line A number line is a way of recording information. It is a line which represents the all the numbers between one number and another. Sometimes it may be labelled with the numbers, and sometimes those that are not involved in the recording are not shown.
Number Sequence Number sequence refers to the order of numbers from smallest to largest. The activities grouped under number sequence in this part of the site also include activities related to identifying numbers - reading and writing them.
Numeracy Numeracy refers to an ability to handle numbers and other mathematical concepts. The Numeracy Project aims to help children become beter at understanding and solving problems involving numbers.
Numerator The numerator is the top number in a fraction. For example in the fraction three quarters. the numerator is 3. The bottom number is called the denominator.
Partitioning Partitioning means 'breaking up'. Partitioning strategies for maths involve using either subtraction or division to break numbers up into smaller numbers to help solve problems. For example, to solve 18 + 5, a child might split the 5 into 2 and 3, because they know 18 + 2 = 20. They can then add the 3 on to find the answer, 23.
Place Value Place value describes the value of the place of a digit in a number. For example, the 4 in 47 is in the tens place, giving it a total value of 4 x 10, or 40.
Problem A problem in maths refers to a question to be answered. This could be as simple as 3 + 2, or a complicated word problem, which requires several steps to solve.
Proportional Proportional is a term used to describe a range of strategies for solving problems which involve using a range of operations to solve problems, often involving fractions, percentages, decimals, or ratios.
Reasonableness A judgment about an answer based on the learner asking: “Keeping in mind everything I know about the problem, does the answer make sense?”
Repeated addition Adding the same number multiple times in order to find the answer to a multiplication problem, for example, finding the answer to 3 x 4 by saying 4 + 4 + 4 = 12
Ratio A ratio describes the relationship between quantities. The ratio of 2:3 means the whole is made up of 2 parts of one thing and 3 parts of another. For example, if there were four apples and three bananas in the fruit bowl the fruit could be described as apples and bananas in the ratio 4:3.
Skip counting Skip counting is counting in amounts other than ones. The most common amounts to skip count in are 2 (2, 4, 6…), 5 (5, 10, 15…), or 10 (10, 20, 30…). Skip counting is often an efficient strategy to solve problems.
Strategy A strategy is a way of working out the answer to a problem, or part of a problem. There are many different strategies that can be learned, and often more than one is suitable for solving a given problem.
Teen numbers The numbers from 13 to 19 are often referred to as teen numbers. Some children confuse them with the ty numbers (20, 30, 40…).
Ty numbers The multiples of ten up to 90 (20, 30, 40…) are often called the ty numbers. Some children confuse them with the teen numbers (13, 14, 15...).
Unit fraction Any fraction that has a numerator of 1, for example, one halve. , one quarter. , one eighth. .
Whole numbers All numbers in the set {0, 1, 2, 3 ...}. This set excludes all negative and all fractional numbers.