Numeracy across the curriculum

In the Western Australian Curriculum, much of the explicit teaching of numeracy skills occurs in Mathematics. Being numerate involves more than the application of routine procedures within the mathematics classroom. Students need to recognise that mathematics is constantly used outside the mathematics classroom and that numerate people apply general mathematical skills in a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar situations.

Using mathematical skills across the curriculum both enriches the study of other learning areas and contributes to the development of a broader and deeper understanding of numeracy. Therefore, a commitment to numeracy development is an essential component of learning areas across the curriculum and a responsibility for all teachers. This requires that teachers:

  • identify the specific numeracy demands of their learning area
  • provide learning experiences and opportunities that support the application of students' general mathematical knowledge and skills
  • use the language of numeracy in their teaching as appropriate.

Teachers should be aware of the correct use of mathematical language in their own learning areas. Understanding mathematical terminology and the specific uses of language in mathematics is essential for numeracy.

It is essential that the mathematical ideas with which students interact are relevant and meaningful in the context of their lives. The Numeracy learning continuum enables teachers to identify and plan for the teaching of targeted numeracy skills and concepts across the curriculum and school day. The Numeracy continuum at Level 1 includes an additional level that represent early numeracy skills with a focus on the language of numeracy in everyday contexts as the starting point. For more detailed advice on using the Numeracy continuum to personalise learning go to Student Diversity.

The Numeracy capability is addressed through the learning areas and is identified wherever it is developed or applied in content descriptions. It is also identified where it offers opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations. An icon indicates where Numeracy has been identified in learning area content descriptions and elaborations. A filter function on the Western Australian Curriculum website assists users to find where Numeracy has been identified in P–10 curriculum content. Teachers may find further opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of Numeracy depending on their choice of activities and the individual learning needs of their students. Students can also be encouraged to develop capability through personally relevant initiatives of their own design.