Meaningful contexts matter!

For children to see maths and numeracy as relevant and part of their lives, rather than just something they do in school, it is vital that they experience problems in real-life, meaningful contexts.

Have a look at this previous post on the Scottish Government initiative, Making Maths Count for more information:

Transforming Scotland into a Maths Positive Nation

Maureen McKenna, Chair of the Making Maths Count Group:

“We believe that everyone, whatever their circumstances in life, has the ability to become proficient at maths. Our research and engagement work with teachers, pupils and the general public shows that the way to achieve this is to make maths more relevant to real life and work and more enjoyable. Our recommendations build upon the best work taking place within Scotland and elsewhere and aim to transform Scotland into a maths-positive nation.”

Thank you to Seonaid Cooke from Marybank Primary for this useful link, which shows how problems can be explored using a real-life context:


I also love this resource from NZ Maths, which makes the point that imaginative contexts as well as “real-life”can also be used to make problems interesting and relevant to children – the important thing is that we are providing problems which engage, stimulate and promote creative thinking.

Problems that are problematic

These resources are full of examples and ideas for teaching maths in rich and meaningful contexts:

NRich maths

NZ Maths Numeracy Projects

Bowland Maths

Have a look too at the Making Maths Count Blog, which shows how people from all kinds of areas use maths as part of their jobs:



Please get in touch by posting a comment or by email if you would like to share ways you have used meaningful contexts in your setting!

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One Response to Meaningful contexts matter!

  1. Mr Cook says:

    Thanks for sharing! Great to see the importance of adults being excited too about numeracy and maths.


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