Developing Critical Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Teaching Activities


Below are examples of teaching activities designed to develop critical numeracy that are based on newspaper articles. These activities provide the article, teacher guidelines, student worksheets and answers as well as related links.

These activities can be used as one-off lessons or part of larger teaching sequences. The student worksheets have a high level of scaffolding that becomes less necessary as students develop more generic critical numeracy thinking skills. Some activities may take students deep into critical thinking whereas others build confidence in making sense of the numeracy in the news.

We suggest getting started by getting students used to looking at newspaper articles without having to go too deep into critical thinking. Give them time to become familiar with the use of numbers and mathematical concepts and to make sense of the context. Later they can begin to ask questions such as what significant information is missing, the validity of the study, the implications of the study, or the motivation of the reporter.

Activities are categorised by the key mathematical concept or the Learning Area context:

Mathematical Concept



Learning Sequences

Teachers have found a benefit in creating units of work or learning sequences that aim to develop critical thinking over time. This can be achieved through exploration of a context or through developing a maths concept. We share an example of a unit on average providing comments by teachers on what they did and what they learnt in running the activities.

  Some guiding questions to help you create great  activities from the news  

Numeracy in the News Archives

Over 150 teaching activities are to be found in the Numeracy in The News Archives. These are based on news articles from the Hobart Mercury from 1995 to 2001. Many are on timeless themes and can be made current by comparing to more recent information. They are categorised according to the mathematical concept or context. Each has the article, student questions and teacher discussion.