QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT IS MATHS LITERACY?
Mathematical Literacy provides learners with an awareness and understanding of the role that mathematics has in the modern world. Mathematical Literacy is a subject driven by life-related applications of mathematics. It enables learners to develop the ability and confidence to think numerically and spatially in order to interpret and critically analyse everyday situations and solve problems.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MATHS LITERACY?
The inclusion of Mathematical Literacy as a fundamental subject in the F.E.T. curriculum will ensure that our citizens of the future are highly numerate consumers of mathematics. In the teaching and learning of Mathematical Literacy learners will be provided with opportunities to engage with real life problems in different contexts (i.e. real life situations) and so consolidate and extend basic mathematical skills. Mathematical literacy will thus result in the ability to understand mathematical terminology and make sense of numerical and spatial information communicated in tables, graphs, diagrams and texts.
Mathematical Literacy will develop the use of basic mathematical skills in critically analysing situations and creatively solving everyday problems. Mathematical Literacy will equip a learner with the skills to e.g.: budget, repay and understand loans, master interest and related concepts and manage money. The learners will be provided with real life problems in different contexts and so consolidate and extend basic mathematical skills. The learning outcomes of Mathematical Literacy are designed to enable learners to handle, with confidence, the mathematics that affects their lives and so be appropriately educated for the modern world. Students proceeding to Higher Education institutions will have acquired a mathematical literacy that will enable them to deal effectively with mathematical requirements in disciplines such as the social and life sciences. Mathematical Literacy should not be taken by those learners who intend to study disciplines which are mathematically based such as the natural sciences or engineering.
The F.E.T. subject, Mathematical Literacy, should enable the learner to become a self-managing person, a contributing worker and a participating citizen in a developing democracy. Mathematical Literacy will ensure a broadening of the educations of a learner that is suited to the modern world, by ensuring that learners are able to become:
A self-managing person
In everyday life a person is continually faced with mathematical demands, which the adolescent and adult should be in a position to handle with confidence. These demands frequently relate to financial issues such as hire purchase, mortgage bond and investments. There are however others, such as the ability to read a map, follow timetables, estimate and calculate areas and volumes, understand house plans and sewing patterns. Activities such as cooking and the use of medicine require efficient use of ratio and proportion and are encountered on a daily basis.
A contributing worker
The workplace requires the use of fundamental numerical and spatial skills with understanding. This often means that a flexible understanding of mathematical principles is necessary. This literacy must enable the person to, for example, deal with work-related formulas, read statistical charts, deal with schedules and understand instructions involving numerical components.
A participating citizen
In order to be a participating citizen in a developing democracy it is essential that the adolescent and adult have acquired a critical stance to mathematical arguments presented in the media and other platforms. The concerned citizen needs to be aware that statistics can often be used to support opposing arguments, say for and against the use of an ecologically sensitive stretch of land for mining purposes. In the information age the power of numbers and mathematical ways of thinking often shape policy. Unless the citizen appreciates this, the citizen will not be in a position to vote appropriately. The citizen must be able to engage responsibly in quantitative arguments relating to local, national and global issues.
Across the world there is evidence that the mathematics learnt at school is not transferred to other contexts. The pervasive presence of handheld calculators and computers makes it critical that people understand how to interpret the results of calculations and that they are able to decide logically what mathematics to use. Mathematical Literacy provides the context, the opportunities to analyse problems and devises ways to solve them.
WHAT WILL MATHS LITERACY LEARNERS LEARN?
Learners of Mathematical Literacy will learn how to:
- Use a basic calculator.
- Perform basic arithmetical operations.
- Work with relationships between arithmetical operations.
- Work with simple formulae, including formulae for perimeter, area and volume; and speed and time.
- Estimate and check estimates against the situation.
- Work with and apply the concepts of ratio/proportion, percentage and rate.
- Determine input and output values for formulae (solve equations).
- Determine and plot the points for different graphs.
- Interpret information and trends communicated through graphs.
- Measure lengths, distances, volumes and mass (weight).
- Convert between units of measurement.
- Draw and interpret scale drawings.
- Use grids, scales and maps.
- Collect information to answer questions.
- Organise data using tallies and tables.
- Summarise data using the measures of mean, median and mode.
- Represent data using various data graphs, including pie charts, histograms and bar graphs.
- List the possible outcomes of an event.
- Estimate the likelihood of different outcomes.
- Critique interpretations of data.
- Formulate questions.
- Round up, round down and round off.
- Describe trends.
- Work with linear and constant relationships.
- Distinguish between piecewise and continuous relationships.
- Read and interpret information presented in tables.
- Anticipate the impact of interest.
WHY DO THEY NEED TO KNOW ALL OF THE ABOVE?
So that they are able to:
- Plan personal finances including:
- Understanding income and expenditure to plan a basic budget
- Recognising the impact of interest rates.
- Calculate profit margins, loss and breakeven points in simple transactions.
- Plan for the repayment of a loan and anticipate associated bank costs.
- PConvert between currencies.
- Plan and schedule events to meet deadlines and demands.
- Make sense of utility costs such as water, electricity, sewerage and rates.
- Develop a business plan.
- Choose between different options based on their value for money.
- Critique articles and advertisements in the media based on data and illustrated through graphs.
- Make lifestyle choices, such as the food they should eat in relation to the energy they use in their day-to-day lives.
- Calculate and interpret health indicators, such as Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Sort and classify items according to criteria.
- Read maps to plan trips.
- Read and develop plans for simple structures.
- Understand the role and purpose of the gears on a bicycle.
- Calculate the time it takes to complete a journey.
- Anticipate which seats in the stadium will give the best view of the game.
- Predict all the possible outcomes of a sports tournament and anticipate the most likely winner.
- Understand that games of chance have no patterns.
- Develop arguments based on facts and the interpretations of facts.
- Use resources in economical and responsible ways.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MATHS AND MATHS LITERACY?
- Maths Literacy focuses on the role of mathematics in the real world, whereas Mathematics focuses on the discipline of mathematics.
- With maths literacy, relevant current contexts are used, whereas with maths, applications are important, but do not have to be only real life contexts.
- With Maths Literacy only basic mathematics is needed and a few new concepts are introduced in Grades 10 and 11. In Maths, content is expanded on as the learners progress from one year to another.
- In Maths Literacy the contexts become more complex from year to year whereas in Maths both the content and contexts become more complex and advanced each year.
CRITERIA AT FATIMA
The C.T.A. gives one a good idea about how the learner will cope with Maths Literacy, while their mark in the final grade 9 Maths exam gives a good idea of how they will cope with Maths. We use the following in the Maths exam as a guideline:
Less than 50%:
Definitely Maths Literacy.
Greater than 75%:
Between 50% and 60%:
Maths Literacy is strongly advised if you have worked hard to get this mark. If you are lazy or had a bad exam in the teacher’s opinion, let the teacher suggest which you do.
Between 60% and 75%:
You should manage with Maths, but will probably not manage the optional parts and by the time you go to matric, you must be prepared to spend a lot of extra time on your Maths.