It’s no secret that one of the keys to unlocking long-term success in school and work and across multiple domains is by developing a child’s skills in literacy early and often. However, part of being a 21st-century citizen entails being surrounded by big data, new technology, and a wealth of information. Advertisers and politicians constantly cite statistics. Stores inundate you with subscriptions and sales. In addition to literacy in reading and writing, we must also pay attention to our children’s mathematical literacy.
In developing our new core K–12 mathematics solutions, we considered how to empower students to think critically about the world around them and to become fearless problem solvers. We want learners to see the role that mathematics plays in life and encourage them to engage with mathematics in ways that promote being a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen—all features of good mathematical literacy.
There is plenty of evidence that being mathematically literate leads to greater success across many disciplines. Mathematical literacy:
- is independent of any one culture and provides tools for solving individual and social problems;
- can be applied to large-scale social problems, such as effecting social change, building a cultural identity, and improving the environment;
- allows us to internalize numerical competencies that technology has allowed us to stop focusing on.
One way to build mathematical literacy is to make math fun. Worksheet drills, while arguably necessary, do not build the big-picture lens on mathematics in the same way that games, puzzles, and open-ended problems can offer. Into Math and Into AGA connect math content not just to specific standards, but also to broad ideas in math and standards for mathematical processes and practices.
Try your hand with a little math fun and test your mathematical literacy with our Real Number Trivia quiz!
(Note: A five-minute online quiz does not actually measure your math literacy. Knowing how many dwarves accompanied Snow White is not correlated to long-term success in math class. Probably.)