# Ambassadors of the Challenge

# John Bament

## Mathematics Teacher, NT

Pythagoras said, "Number rules the universe". Numerical Acumen will give you the skills to develop a numerical mind and follow in his footsteps. Happy travels!

# Nigel Bean

## Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Adelaide, SA

So often, the tertiary students that I see are held back by their lack of strength in the basic algebraic operations. In my opinion, Numerical Acumen is a key first step in trying to address this problem. By strengthening a student's ability and comfort in handling numbers, the student can move the numerical calculations to an "automatic" mode. This then allows them to focus their cognitive effort on the more advanced concepts, instead of getting bogged down with the numbers. The impact of such an apparently minor change should not be underestimated.

# Dr Michael Evans

## Mathematics Teacher, Victoria

# Derek Holton

## Mathematician, Victoria

Numerical fluency is extremely important for mathematics and its learning. It leads to algebraic fluency from where the mathematical world is your oyster.

# Barry Kissane

## Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education, Murdoch University, WA

While mental arithmetic is important, it is hard to find time to teach it well in many busy classrooms. An accessible initiative that both helps children and supports the work of teachers is most welcome.

# Dr John Mack AM

## Honorary staff member, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Sydney University, NSW

I have found that my ability to do mental arithmetic quickly and accurately has been of good use, because it means that I can rapidly estimate the size of a computation to see if the answer looks reasonable, as well as exactly compute mentally answers to everyday arithmetical problems. I developed this ability through hours of practice in primary school, especially with computations in the old Imperial system of weights and measures. Now that the decimal system is used everywhere, some additional incentive is needed to develop good mental computational facility. NA is useful for this.

# Professor Cheryl E. Praeger

## Winthrop Professor, ARC Federation Fellow, and Director of the Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation, University of Western Australia, WA

I am happy to support this accessible mathematics program which will enable students to become proficient in arithmetic computations, allowing them to be more confident in their ability to understand mathematics and science.

# Professor Kaye Stacey

## Emeritus Professor (Mathematics Education), University of Melbourne

Being able to calculate mentally is a valuable skill for people in all walks of life. Numerical Acumen can help students achieve this. Mental calculation enables us to deal expeditiously with the short calculations that we often encounter through the day, and it also enables us to quickly get estimates to check the complicated calculations that are usually now done by technology. Inventing and practising strategies for mental calculation highlights the base ten and place value properties of numbers, as well as the fundamental properties of the operations involved, often in an intuitive way. In this way, it supports other mathematics learning.

# Professor Peter Taylor

## Emeritus Professor, University of Canberra

Numerical Acumen is a quality program which I recommend.

# Dr Jennifer Way

## Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education, The University of Sydney, NSW

There is no doubt that one of the most fundamental and essential responsibilities of teachers is to ensure that all children develop competence and confidence in basic computation. Educators also know that this must go beyond just memorisation of basic facts if we are to equip our students with the mathematical understanding and flexibility of thinking required for more complex mathematics. A major strength of the Numerical Acumen approach is the focus on establishing a range of reliable mental computation strategies. The website provides a unique and valuable resource for both teachers and students, that should prove to be effective in raising levels of both competence and confidence.

# Professor Martin Westwell

## Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century, SA

Proficient learners of mathematics wield their mental arithmetic speedily and automatically. I am sure that Numerical Acumen can help hone the mathematical weaponry that all students need.