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A Social and Holistic Approach to Numeracy
Home The Project Approach Activities Reflections Resources
Shahina and Faduma explain what they did together in math class as they create a mural to share with others at the forum.

As part of the numeracy project, practitioners along with their learners were invited to develop and try activities, keeping in mind the key elements of a social and holistic approach.

Similarly, at the two practitioner workshops as well as at the project’s summative forum, activities were designed to model and demonstrate this approach.

Below, you’ll find a collection of these activities.

Here are one practitioner’s insights on developing and facilitating activities using a social and holistic approach:

I used a newspaper subscription ad to develop an activity.
This is something I do often – use a text as a starting point for a math class. It might be an ad, an article in a newspaper (once I used a story about girls/boys ice time at rinks around Toronto – we did all kinds of stuff on ratios).
For this activity, this is what I find valuable in the social and holistic approach:

  • it helps you identify where a learner’s skills are at because the learner tends to develop questions that are just right for her/him
  • it helps learners become aware that math is embedded in things around them all the time and encourages them to pose mathematical questions in their everyday activities
  • it helps learners develop the language skills needed to pose/understand mathematical problems (an underlying problem since language is commonly one of the things holding learners back in math)
  • once learners have developed the questions, I would have learners work in pairs or groups (of matched levels) to solve the problems they’ve posed. This underscores the fact, for the learners, that they can pose questions and also tackle the problem-solving and calculations too.
  • since the learners have developed the questions, practitioners can be assured that the problems are probably around the right skill level for them to solve
  • working in groups/pairs supports shared learning (too often we ask learners to work in isolation in math)

Karin Meinzer, PTP West, Toronto


Click on the links below to see the activities developed for and during this project.
The links will open in a new window. This page will stay open as a reference.