Students learn better when they are having fun, so learning how to make maths fun is a serious business. Mentors from The University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University attended a professional development workshop provided by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) that provided practical methods for increasing the fun of maths in the classroom.
The day provided mentors with some great examples of language use and activities from everyday life to make maths more engaging and accessible for everyone in the classroom.
“This was a fresh perspective instead of the usual focus on content,” said Abhi Gupta, a mentor from The University of Melbourne who is working with students at Mercy College.
“Dave Tout engaged us on how maths can be better taught, especially for students who have a challenged background: by using mathematical concepts from day to day experiences, getting them to solve logic problems cooperatively, playing competitive games which rely on maths and digging deep into their understanding bottlenecks. Thanks to the In2science program for the opportunity!”
Swinburne mentor Margaret Ngugi, who mentors at Bayswater Secondary College said it changed her perspective on how maths can be taught. “It was really great and an eye opener into how the teaching system can be much more engaging and enjoyable.”
Activities included written and numerical logic problems to be completed cooperatively as well as ideas for games and resources. For example, did you know a smartie weighs exactly 1 gram with huge variation in the number and type found in a packet?
Not only did the workshop arm mentors with skills, ideas and tools for the classroom but it also provided further maths-specific conversation points and tips to be covered in the training provided to all mentors before placements.
Thanks to Dave Tout from ACER for providing the training, and the Selby Scientific Foundation for financially supporting the professional development of our mentors.