2. Getting Started

2.1 Introduction

This section contains a collection of activities for 'getting started' in two senses. 'Getting started' at the beginning of your numeracy course, for example, at the beginning of the year or semester; and 'getting started' at the beginning of your individual numeracy sessions, in other words on a daily or weekly basis.

2.2 Building Positive Attitudes to Numeracy

We recommend that any new numeracy course starts with an opportunity for students to share their past feelings about mathematics and their current feelings about learning it again. This activity is one way of achieving this sharing. It also suggests methods to find out about students’ numeracy strengths and weaknesses as well as the skills they want to learn.

2.3 Sharing Attitudes to Maths

Many students are very anxious about returning to study of a maths related subject. It is important that they have an opportunity to share some of these feelings with you, the teacher, and with other students before the course starts. This way they will probably find they have a lot in common and can relax about learning with the group.

This activity should be conducted at the beginning of a new course.

For students it provides an opportunity to:

  • Share their feelings and attitudes about maths with each other

  • Compare their experiences about learning maths in the past

  • Express their opinions of their numeracy strengths and weaknesses

  • Establish numeracy learning goals

For teachers it provides an opportunity to:

  • Explain that 'maths anxiety' is experienced by a lot of people

  • Discuss prior maths' teaching methods as a possible cause of negative feelings about the subject

  • Discuss alternative methods that will be used in this class

  • Pinpoint areas of numeracy that students' see as learning priorities.

2.4 Multi Digit

This activity is a game which students at all numeracy levels enjoy. It highlights the significance of place value in determining the size of whole numbers.

It encourages students to speak, listen to and write whole numbers in English. It also provides opportunity for practising addition.

2.5 Introducing Cooperative Logic

This activity introduces students to a useful structure of problem solving activity.

It encourages students to:

  • Work co-operatively

  • Apply problem solving strategies:

  • Guess and check

  • The use of diagrams and moveable pieces.

2.6 Moving Numbers

Moving numbers is comprised of a series of non-threatening number puzzles and tasks which:

  • Provide practice in addition skills

  • Encourage strategic thinking or problem solving strategies

  • Can be used individually as warm up activities for sessions

  • Can be used to change the pace or mood in a session

  • Can be given as a challenge task for students waiting while others complete practice exercises.

2.7 Quick Questions

'Quick Questions' describes a simple activity type that can be used for students to practise and revise a wide range of 'in the head' skills. 'Quick Questions' are short sets of questions, displayed in large print on pieces of paper or card. They are shown one by one to students to encourage them to use short 'in the head' calculations rather than formal pen and paper methods.

2.8 10 Questions

'10 Questions' describes a simple activity type that can be used for students to practise a range of essential skills and 'in the head' calculation techniques.

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VALBEC (Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council) was established in 1978 and is managed by an elected volunteer committee of management.

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