Numeracy–Fundamental Questions


The only picture I could think of to post with this concept, is the Hello Numbers Discovery Pack.  Not that numeracy discussions are for early learners and their teachers and parents.  In fact numeracy is the center of the future of mathematics.  I created the plush numbers with magnets to create multi-digit numbers in response to teachers asking for tools to assist children with numeracy and understanding place value.  Putting 10 on the board or on a worksheet does NOT have the same impact as constructing 10 with 1 and 0 using magnets in your small hands.  Numbers become Friends You Can Count On! and friendly.  They want to engage you in stories of their relevance and how you will interact with them throughout life.

Stories will be coming as to how they came to be and how arithmetic came to where it is today.  Geometry is a critical aspect of the history of math and should be integrated from the beginning rather than left to proving logical relationships visually.  Why did the Greeks use geometry to prove relationships?  This is a great history lesson related to the 3rd question below.


When I meet with teachers, parents and students, I open with some of these questions for them to ponder:

What is math (maths)?  Where did it come from?  If you were to invent a numbering system, what would it look like/what characteristics would it have?

These three questions are fundamental to understanding numeracy.  I have never had folks ask me these questions, but I began asking them when I was a top math/statistics student.  Although I could “do” the work I complained that I did not understand what math was about.  Numeracy is fundamental to understanding math, yet we avoid discussing these three and other similar questions because they demand we are more comfortable returning to preparing folks to answer test questions without concern as to they understanding of what and why they are doing the work.

If anyone has ideas as to responses to these questions, please send them to me:  I am collecting ideas and passing them on to others.  We must address these issues to ensure that what we pass on is relevant to the future.  Even math will move on the respond to the new questions we will face.

When writing, please also discuss what aspects of math you use on a daily basis.  Using does not mean what you teach, but what you use for daily living.  Please also note your profession and how that influences the aspects of math you use.

To fundamental numeracy and math for today and tomorrow!