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Fun numeracy activities to share with your child at home
The following are ideas to inspire parents and learners to make the most of the opportunities around us and build numeracy skills and resilience having fun.
Look at energy consumption and waste production. Investigate ways of minimising, which will involve understanding units of measurement, costs per unit, peak periods of energy consumption.
Questions might include, for example, the viability of solar energy from a cost and efficiency perspective.
Others might be:
How is waste produced; e.g. from packaging?
Expiry dates compared with “best-by-dates”?
How far is this piece of produce/product from where it was grown or produced?
Recycling, from a cost analysis perspective; for example transporting and storage, energy used to recycle?
How much can we save on our electricity bill if everyone had 3 minute showers?
Investigate food labels and what they mean.
Compare the nutrition information panels of products and consider, for example, recommended daily intake of sugar and carbohydrates.
Have a discussion with your child about their favourite breakfast cereal.
The food value of a breakfast cereal is hidden within the many numbers on the side of the packet.
Food labels suggest serving sizes for different foods.
You might explore with your child how much of some foods make up this serving size. You can easily find percentages of sugar or salt (pure salt is sodium chloride) by reading the number of grams per 100 grams of the food.
The supermarket provides a context for money related discussions for young people as well.
Many foods and other products in supermarkets include the unit price on the price tag. This will normally be a price for 1 litre, or 100g, or similar amount, even if those amounts cannot be purchased.
The purpose of displaying the unit price is to help consumers to compare values, assuming that the products are of equal quality.
Discuss with your child which option represents the best value for money. Also see this resource on grocery unit pricing.
Exploring natural phenomena provides a great context for engaging young people in numeracy-based conversations.
For example, in a storm lightning is seen virtually as it happens, but the sound of the thunder it generates takes longer to reach you.
At 343 m/s it will take about 3 seconds to travel 1 kilometre, so every 3 seconds delay in hearing the thunder shows 1 kilometre of distance to the storm.
You could also explore cyclone categories and earthquake intensity scales.
When we travel abroad it provides a great opportunity to discus currency exchange rates.
The rates for exchange of foreign currencies are available on the internet (e.g., banks, post office, and other sites).
Notice that if you start with one amount in one currency, convert it to another, and then convert back again you will have lost money.
This is because the companies that deal in currencies take a percentage from each transaction. Exploring and comparing the commission rates between different companies is an interesting exercise.
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