Maths program has more pluses than negatives

Simon Pryor of the Mathematical Association of Victoria awards Lumen Christi’s mathematics pupils’ leadership team. Picture: Mathew Lynn

Lumen Christi Catholic Primary School pupils hope a bit of flair added to their dose of maths may lift the subject’s bad reputation.

The school recently became one of 19 ‘maths-active schools’, part of a statewide initiative by the Mathematics Association of Victoria to bring more effective teaching and learning practices into classrooms.

Maths-focused teachers, called maths leaders, have been appointed to help enliven the mathematical mindset at each year level.

Prep to year 3 maths leader Cassandra Lowry said the aim was to change children’s perspectives of the subject.

“We promote the idea that all students are good mathematicians,” she said.

“We want them to see maths as interesting and exciting. When I went to school, maths was about getting the correct answer, and that was it.

“Now we want to focus on how the children worked it out and how they can apply it again in a different situation.

“People say they never liked maths and they don’t need it. They don’t realise that we use maths every day in almost everything we do.”

The school will host a maths games day on September 11, posing puzzles and strategic problems in a relay-style, problem-solving competition.

About 70 parents also went to night classes to bring themselves up to speed with the new teaching methods.

“Maths is taught very differently these days. The language is different and the strategies used to solve problems are not the same,” Ms Lowry said. “We hope that other schools will see what we are doing and get on board.”