Consumer and financial literacy: Mathematics

Mathematics

The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics has a significant role in developing consumer and financial literacy in young people. The Mathematics curriculum supports the development of the dimensions of consumer and financial literacy as shown in the diagram below.

Approximate proportion of dimensions addressed in Mathematics

Key aspects of financial mathematics are included in the money and financial mathematics sub-strand of the Mathematics curriculum. Here, students learn about the nature, forms and value of money. They learn to solve problems involving money, such as counting change; to manage money by creating budgets and financial plans; to explore and calculate percentage discounts; to work out ‘best value’ when purchasing a range of goods and services; to choose financial products and to solve problems involving profit and loss, and simple and compound interest.

Consumer and financial literacy provides a real-world context for students to learn other mathematics in the curriculum. Using authentic learning experiences engages students in mathematics, enables them to gain an understanding of a whole range of mathematical concepts and allows them to appreciate the relevance and usefulness of mathematics. The use of real-world contexts as a platform for learning mathematics also develops students’ ability to make informed judgements and effective consumer and financial decisions.

The content descriptions relevant to consumer and financial literacy are drawn from the strands number and algebra, and statistics and probability. These strands give students opportunities to ‘think and do’ mathematics in contexts that are real and engaging. For example, students might be asked to calculate the money they save by purchasing an item on sale (number and algebra); conduct an investigation into people’s purchasing preferences (statistics and probability); calculate monetary risks through the construction and use of mathematical models (number and algebra); or evaluate the benefits of insurance given the probability of an event occurring (statistics and probability).

The strand of measurement and geometry has not been included in this mapping. However, there are opportunities to include aspects of this strand in the teaching and learning of consumer and financial literacy. For example, students might compare the volume or capacity of different products to calculate best buy, or do some costings for materials, based on measurements. An example is provided in the Moneysmart for teachers unit ‘It’s raining cats and dogs ... and chickens?’, in which students explore different pet enclosures in terms of area and perimeter, using correct units.

Moneysmart for teachers and Tax, Super and You provide a number of interdisciplinary units and interactive activities that either focus on or include aspects of the Mathematics curriculum. Access a list of relevant resources that link to the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics using the right-hand menu.

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Fractions and decimals

Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages (ACMNA131)

Number and place value

Select and apply efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies to solve problems involving all four operations with whole numbers (ACMNA123)

Fractions and decimals

Add and subtract decimals, with and without digital technologies, and use estimation and rounding to check the reasonableness of answers (ACMNA128)

Multiply decimals by whole numbers and perform divisions by non-zero whole numbers where the results are terminating decimals, with and without digital technologies (ACMNA129)

Money and financial mathematics

Investigate and calculate percentage discounts of 10%, 25% and 50% on sale items, with and without digital technologies (ACMNA132)

Data representation and interpretation

Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere (ACMSP148)

Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages (ACMNA131)