Developing Critical Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Teaching Activity

How fast is that?

Grade: 9 Stage: 11
with emphasis on:

Maths Concepts: Number
Context: Science
Critical Numeracy: De-coding, Meaning-making, Using
Date of Article:24/10/08, pg 17
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Student Worksheet

Teacher Guidelines:

This article reports that a new rocket propelled car has been designed to go faster than a speeding bullet. It contains five different uses for numbers and hence provides opportunities to help students see numbers in context and talk about the part they play in telling the story.


The worksheet starts with students asked to list and describe the numbers in the story.


Students are given the opportunity to make sense of the speed numbers by putting them into more manageable terms using a scale diagram. They will need to know the formula:

speed = distance / time


What is the significance of making a car go this fast? Students are asked to do a de Bono’s PMI (Plus, minus, interesting). The interesting category is often a very useful one in encouraging lateral thinking and obtaining a sense of how students are connecting their new knowledge with prior knowledge. A group discussion on this could reveal students’ interesting concepts about speed and distance.

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