Maths students work in teams to apply their skills

Published 18 May 2009

mathsdayAbout 200 students from more than 30 schools throughout northern NSW visited the University of New England last Friday to indulge their interest in mathematics in a full day of maths-based activities.

Now in its 15th year, the annual Year 8 Mathematics Day at UNE allows keen mathematics students to meet their peers from other schools, and to compete with them in a range of interesting and enjoyable activities. Working in teams of four, the students develop skills in cooperative problem solving while applying their classroom mathematics to the solution of practical, real-life problems.

The students, accompanied by their mathematics teachers, came from as far away as Inverell, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Wee Waa. A team from Bishop Druitt College in Coffs Harbour won the trophy in the Secondary Schools Division, and a team from Bowraville Central School was the winner in the Central Schools Division. Each of the members of the two winning teams received a certificate and a medallion, and their schools will hold the perpetual trophies throughout the coming year. Both Bishop Druitt College and Bowraville Central School are first-time trophy winners at the Year 8 Mathematics Day.

The event is sponsored each year by the UNE-based National Centre of Science, ICT and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR), UNE’s School of Education, and the New England Mathematical Association. More than 20 people from these organisations were involved in the preparation and presentation of this year’s event.

“After 15 years, the day is still meeting the needs of students and schools, and is receiving high praise from both the participants and their parents,” said Professor John Pegg, the Director of SiMERR. “Most significantly, it helps to highlight the important role that mathematics plays across the educational spectrum, and how mathematics underpins so many of the trades and professions in today’s society.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows a student from Guyra Central School intent on solving a problem during the Year 8 Mathematics Day at UNE.