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This assignment assesses the following unit learning outcomes:
- Define and describe the similarities and differences between mathematics and numeracy.
- Recognise numeracy skills used in the real world.
- Recognise and develop opportunities for numeracy- and mathematics-related experiences in play, and everyday experiences in early childhood settings.
- Describe the nature and development of mathematical thinking and numeracy processes in children.
- Describe how the Australian curriculum for maths encourages understanding in mathematics and numeracy for children.
- Use ICT to develop children's engagement with numeracy and mathematics.
The portfolio shall endeavour to review the manner in which the concept of numeracy and mathematics are currently perceived under the Australian Curriculum. An objective analysis of the two concepts is essential so that an educationalist does not educate upon his previously constructed knowledge but also employs new methods and techniques for the purposes of holistically educating the children. (Paul 1994) Firstly, the terms Mathematics and Numeracy often in common parlance are used interchangeably. However, it is essential to understand that each has a separate and distinct meaning. 'Mathematics' is indentified as a study involving problem-solving, communicating ideas and identifying patterns. A clear inference from this definition would be that it shall be divided into two aspects, pure and applied mathematics. (Wright R. 2006) The term 'Numeracy' as defined by Sullivan describes it as not only arithmetical parts of the mathematics curriculum but emphasises on estimation, problem solving and reasoning. (Peter 2011) This interpretation is similarly outlined by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers while describing the concept of numeracy. They expounded that, 'the disposition to use, in context, a combination of: underpinning mathematical concepts and skills from across the discipline (numerical, spatial, graphical, statistical and algebraic); mathematical thinking and strategies; general thinking skills; and grounded appreciation of context'. (Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers 1997)
From a perusal of the aforementioned definitions, we may summarize the differences between the two terms as herein after explained. Firstly, numeracy is the ability to draw a nexus between mathematical concepts and daily activities, whereas mathematics is a study pertaining to logical reasoning to solve a abstract problem or a puzzle. Secondly, Mathematics has a wider ambit than that of Numeracy, it may be said that the latter and the former shall overlap in certain circumstances. The field of Mathematics is not merely numbers and quantities but also embodies algebra, calculus and trigonometry whereas Numeracy is to be comfortable with logic and application of concepts of mathematics in daily life. An illustration of this could that, when statistics are complied, the act of application of laws learnt within the study of Mathematics shall be used in real life situations which falls within the ambit of numeracy. In respect to the similarities between the two concepts, it can be inferred that both the concepts overlap since they both depend upon the application of logic to ultimately resolve a problem or identify a pattern. (Peter 2011)
The purpose for this portfolio can be summarized to be to 'educate students to be active, thinking citizens, interpreting the world mathematically, and using mathematics to help form their predictions and decisions about personal and financial priorities'. (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authorit 2009)
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