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Hands-on Mathematics

Junior School students were put to the test in a series of problem-solving mathematics activities.

Students from Year 1 – 8 took part in World of Maths, an educational roadshow which encourages students to apply mathematics to the physical world.

The young mathematicians were tasked with a number of challenges, designed to test a range of Mathematical skills from the strands of Number, Space, Measurement, Chance and Data, and Logical Thinking and Sequencing.

Working in small groups, the girls moved through different interactive stations solving a variety of problems.

A popular station amongst students was entitled Through the Forest, where students had to guide a ball through a series of obstacles.

Student Jaskiran Rahi managed to solve a tricky puzzle called Which Block? by using different sized shapes to work out the total area without knowledge of the length or width.

She says the problems were hard but fun, and some of the stations were more difficult than others.

Daisy Carter’s group were faced with a particularly difficult problem called Farmer Joe but the group persevered and got the answer in the end after much trial and error.

HOD Mathematics and Commerce Paul Sherris says the World of Maths visit allowed students to engage with genuine mathematical problems in a kinaesthetic way.

“Worksheets, books and digital resources are fine, but being able to touch and physically interact with a problem is an important experience. This is especially true of younger students, who were the main focus for the visit recently,” Paul comments.

He explains that the ability to solve problems is a major part of learning mathematics and there can be a tendency to focus too much on exercises.

“An exercise is an opportunity to practice a specific skill: the student is aware of the method needed, and the aim is just to practise its application. A problem is something where neither the answer nor the method needed to find an answer are obvious at the outset.”

Paul organised World of Maths to visit the College in the hope the girls would enjoy interacting with genuine mathematics problems in a physical, collaborative and fun way.

“I saw many girls doing just that, and we are very happy with the way it went overall.”