Proportional reasoning: an essential component of scientific reasoning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Teaching Science, 2016, 62 (4), pp. 31 - 41
Issue Date:
Filename Description Size
TS-62-4-Hilton (2).pdfAccepted Manuscript Version196.74 kB
Adobe PDF
Full metadata record
Numeracy is broadly defined as engagement with mathematics in a variety of contexts to meet an individual’s needs (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2009). Mathematical knowledge alone is not sufficient for numeracy. According to Goos (2007), a numerate person has strong mathematical knowledge, which they combine with the use of mathematical tools and representations to solve problems in multiple contexts. In many scientific contexts, students need to be able to use mathematical knowledge in order to engage in scientific reasoning and problem-solving, and their understanding of scientific concepts relies heavily on their ability to understand and use mathematics in often new or unfamiliar contexts. Not only do science students need high levels of numeracy, they may be at risk of limited success in many areas of science if they do not (Lenton & Stevens, 2001). It follows that it is important that we recognise the essential role that all teachers and, in the case of this paper, science teachers play in supporting students to develop their numeracy skills. Science teachers are in a powerful position to do this because of the close connections between many concepts in science and mathematics. Indeed, a focus on numeracy elements in science benefits both science teachers and students. Students experience the authentic use of mathematics in context, while teachers are able to address what, for many students, is a significant learning hurdle, which in turn assists teachers in the teaching of their science topics
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: