What is the Numeracy Project?

The Numeracy Project is a New Zealand-wide professional development initiative which introduces teachers to a new approach to the teaching of mathematics.

The Numeracy Project is focused on developing children's understanding of numbers, and their ability to use numbers to solve problems. Children may solve number problems by counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, or combinations of these.

As part of the Numeracy Project your child should be learning to:

  • enjoy working with numbers
  • make sense of numbers - how big they are, how they relate to other numbers, and how they behave
  • solve mathematical problems - whether real life or imaginary
  • calculate in their heads whenever possible, rather than using a calculator or pen and paper
  • show that they understand maths, using equipment, diagrams and pictures
  • explain and record the methods they use to work out problems
  • accept challenges and work at levels that stretch them
  • work with others and by themselves
  • discuss how they tackle mathematical problems - with other students, their teacher and you!

The biggest difference in schools involved in the Numeracy Project is that children are encouraged to learn a range of different ways to solve problems and to choose the most appropriate one for each problem. You may be familiar with certain 'rules' for doing maths. While these will still work, your child may learn different ways to solve problems. Often these methods involve mental strategies, or working things out in your head, rather than written methods.

This change in approach to maths education reflects changes in the world that impact on the maths that people need to know. Employers are increasingly looking for staff that have problem solving skills and an understanding of concepts, rather than just the ability to follow rules for calculating. The increasing use of technology has also meant that a calculator or computer is almost always available in the workplace for larger calculations.

The Numeracy Project uses a framework, called the Number Framework, to describe children's level of ability and to ensure that the activities they are doing are suitable. Click for more information about the Number Framework .