Numeracy in the NSW Syllabuses for the Australian curriculum

Numeracy encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that students need to use mathematics in different contexts. Numeracy is one of the general capabilities explicitly addressed in the content of the learning areas for all NSW syllabuses.

Opportunities for teachers to explicitly teach numeracy in their subject area exist throughout the curriculum. Through identification of numeracy skills associated with curriculum content, teachers plan lessons which incorporate teaching of skills before applying the skill to content specific areas.

Numeracy in the nsw syllabuses


Numeracy within English

Numeracy skills can be developed and applied in English through sequencing and identifying the order of events in narratives, considering the metaphorical and metaphysical concepts of temporal and spatial time and composing and responding to arguments and persuasive texts that include the representation of data to shape audience response.

The content of English is not linear. The syllabus is founded on the belief that language learning is recursive and develops through ever- widening contexts. Incorporating opportunities for the development of numeracy skills occurs when teachers design units of learning that incorporate a range of multimodal and real world texts.

Numeracy within Geography

In Geography, students apply numeracy skills in geographical analysis, effects of location and distance, through counting and measuring, constructing and interpreting tables, graphs, maps and interpreting statistics. Students apply numeracy skills when reading grids, understanding scales, applying distance and area concepts as well as finding relationships between variables through statistical analysis.

Numeracy within History

In history, students require numeracy skills for construction and interpretation of timelines, graphs, maps and tables. Students interpret, represent and analyse statistics and quantitative data to make meaning of the past. Students in History use scaled timelines, calendars and dates to recall historical events and information as well as the passing of time.

Numeracy within Languages

Learning languages affords opportunities for learners to use the target language to develop skills in numeracy, to understand, analyse, categorise, critically respond to and use mathematics in different contexts. This includes processes such as using and understanding patterns, order and relationships to reinforce concepts such as number, time or space in their own and in others’ cultural and linguistic systems.

Numeracy within Mathematics

Mathematics makes a special contribution to the development of numeracy in a manner that is more explicit and foregrounded than other learning areas. The Mathematics curriculum provides students with opportunities to use numerical, spatial, graphical, statistical and algebraic concepts and skills in a variety of contexts and involves the critical evaluation, interpretation, application and communication of mathematical information in a range of practical situations. The role that teachers of mathematics play in the development of numeracy includes teaching students specific skills and providing them with opportunities to select, use, evaluate and communicate mathematical ideas in a range of situations. Students’ numeracy and underlying mathematical understanding is enhanced through engagement with a variety of applications of mathematics to real-world situations and problems in other learning areas.

Numeracy within PDHPE

In PDHPE, Students use calculation, estimation and measurement to collect and make sense of information related to, nutrition, fitness and navigation in the outdoors or various skill performances. They use spatial reasoning in movement activities and in developing concepts and strategies for individual and team sports or recreational pursuits. Students interpret and analyse health and physical activity information using statistical reasoning, identifying patterns and relationships in data to consider trends, draw conclusions, make predictions and inform health behaviour and practices.

Numeracy within Science

In Science, students measure, collect, organise and analyse data from practical investigations. Students work with qualitative and quantitative data. Through practical measurements and the collection, representation and interpretation of data from first hand investigations and secondary sources. Students consider uncertainty and reliability in measurements, data analysis, identifying trends and patterns in numerical graphs and data.

Numeracy within TAS

Students use number to calculate, measure and estimate; interpret and draw conclusions from statistics; measure and record throughout the process of generating ideas; develop, refine and test concepts; and cost and sequence when making products

and managing projects. In using software, materials, tools and equipment, students work with the concepts of number, geometry, scale, proportion, measurement and volume. They use three- dimensional models, create accurate technical drawings, work with digital models and use computational thinking in decision-making processes when designing and creating best-fit solutions.

Numeracy within Creative Arts

In Creative Arts, numeracy skills are involved in all four arts strands as are identified in the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus (2006). This includes an understanding of the relationships of time and space, symbol systems, codes and conventions across visual arts, music, drama and dance.

In visual arts students are interpreting subject matter and forms through exploring lines, shapes (2D and 3D), patterns, estimation, measurement, view and perspective. Music involves students engaging in duration through patterns of beat, rhythm and metre, structure and layers of sound, graduation of dynamics, and changes in pitch degrees. In drama students explore the elements of contrast, representative symbols, time relationships, duration, size and shape through space and groupings. Dance allows students to experiment with shapes, lines, and structure as well as spatial awareness, time including patterns, rhythm, metre and speed, and levels through space and location.