# THE MATHEMATICAL JOURNEY

#### Why the idea of a ‘journey’?

Numeracy is a life skill – necessary to allow each of us to make informed choices and decisions in all aspects of everyday life. This can be at home, at work, as a consumer, as a parent. It touches activities not only such as choosing a mortgage or a utilities contract, checking invoices or wage slips, working out a monthly budget or helping with children’s homework, but also planning a journey, cooking a meal, reading a newspaper, or playing sport. Confidence and competence in numeracy affect all aspects of our lives, every day.

Numeracy is also a lifelong skill. As young children, we spend a lot of time learning about numbers, the number system and a range of other mathematical ideas, but throughout life, the numeracy demands on us change, as, for example, we start to run a home, have children, take up new leisure pursuits or change jobs, the life skills we need differ.

It may help therefore to consider your own use and learning of numeracy as an ongoing and lifelong journey, with new skills, new understanding and new uses necessary at various points in life. What is the issue?

#### The nature of the journey

Numeracy is for everyone – but everyone has a different background and different experience of numeracy. Everyone’s journey is personal to them and will depend on their specific needs. However it is useful to have an overall picture of the landscape – we call it the ‘Essentials of Numeracy’ - to help you to decide on your own personal starting point and pathway to develop life skills in numeracy.

#### The essentials of numeracy for all

A firm foundation in understanding numbers, the number system and the ways that numbers can be combined and used is essential to numeracy confidence and competence, but on its own it does not provide people with functional skills in their daily lives.

For everyone needs also to be able to apply the skills and knowledge in all the varied contexts of their daily lives. They need to be able to solve problems, interpret information and make informed choices.

When they are calculating, they need to use the most appropriate and efficient methods and know if the answer is reasonable. When trying to solve a problem in a particular context, they need to be logical and systematic, ready to persevere but also flexible. The following diagram illustrates these essential components - all important aspects of being numerate and having this life skill.

Click on one of the learning pathways illustrated below

Figure 1:
The essentials of numeracy for all

### Interactive Essentials

Use this model to explore the Essentials in more detail.

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