Developing mathematical literacy in primary schools Mara Cotič
Summary: Mathematical literacy is based on the knowledge of mathematics and prospers in the natural and social environment. An individual continues developing such knowledge throughout his/her entire life. Mathematical literacy is developed while solving realistic problems by using school knowledge and wider competences in a less structured context than a school situation. People solving problems have to make decisions about what information and what knowledge in a given problem situation is important and how it can be reasonably used. One could say that the problems of the initially formed mathematical context, which influences the solution and its interpretation, are of key importance for the assessment of mathematical literacy. Mathematical literacy is developed by a holistic approach to learning and teaching: through research work, by solving problems of everyday life, by including up-to-date content, and by applying modern technologies. The theoretical part of the present research presents a model of teaching and learning realistic problems, which the authors of this contribution established for research purposes. The model includes four different types of realistic problems taken from everyday life, which pupils will solve at the beginning of their schooling. They include: realistic problems that do not contain sufficient data to solve them; realistic problems that contain more data than is required to solve them; realistic problems with more solutions than necessary; and realistic problems in which all the data are contradictory and do not have a solution. The empirical section presents research results, i.e., that by applying adequate teaching and learning we develop children’s capabilities for solving realistic problems and with it mathematical literacy.