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Numeracy is a fundamental life skill. It is developed in multiple ways right from the early years as young children learn about counting, measuring or estimating during play.

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In schools, learning about numeracy has 6 areas:

  • estimating, calculating and solving complex problems with numbers
  • identifying, describing and creating everyday patterns, and using patterns to identify trends
  • solving problems using fractions, decimals, percentages and rates
  • visualising shapes and objects, and interpreting maps and diagrams
  • collecting and interpreting data, and explaining likelihood of events
  • using measurement – including length, temperature, mass, volume, capacity, area and time.

Students develop numeracy as they apply their mathematical knowledge and skills in their everyday lives and in the learning areas. For example, year 1 students interpret data and information displayed in pictures and texts and on maps in geography, as they learn about different places, how places have changed over time, and how to care for them. They learn to understand maps and diagrams of familiar locations, and how to interpret data presented as lists, tables or picture graphs.


Another example is year 10 history, where students consider relationships between events and developments in different time periods and places. They learn to sequence these historical events on an extended time scale.

In science there are many opportunities to develop numeracy, including measurement and the collection and interpretation of data during investigations. Young students might interpret chance events as they make predictions in an inquiry about familiar objects and events, whereas early high school students will evaluate the quality of data collected in an inquiry and think about ways to improve the quality of the data.

Helping your child

You can help your child develop numeracy capability by:

  • involving your child in everyday activities that provide opportunities to talk about and use mathematics, such as cooking, shopping, watching a movie, travelling to school or on holidays
  • supporting your child to work out the costs of things they want to buy and manage money
  • including your child when using timetables, calendars and maps to plan family events.

Strategic Design

Phone: 8463 5941
Emaileducation.strategicdesign [at] sa.gov.au