Bundy maths excursion deemed ‘good enough to bottle’

Published:05 December 2018

In partnership with Andrew Duncan, HOD Mathematics at Bundaberg North State High School, CQUniversity academics Dr Ben Taylor, Dr Aruna Jayasuriya, Dr Claire-Marie Mclean and Dr Roland Dodd delivered a PD demonstration for mathematics teachers sharing results from the first phase of their 2018 HEPPP funded pilot initiative: A 5-Year STEM Tertiary Education Transition and Success Plan for Low SES Students.

A pilot initiative designed to boost maths engagement across a region under-represented in higher education participation had such good outcomes that it could be offered in other regions.

That’s according to Dr Benjamin Taylor, Dr Claire-Marie McLean and other CQUniversity staff involved in delivering the pilot as part of an Australian Government Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) funded initiative.

The intervention focused on real-world applications of maths and involved more than 100 Year 9 students from Bundaberg North State High School.

A total of 90 per cent of the school’s Year 9 maths students took part in a practical maths excursion to CQUniversity Bundaberg.

“The Year 9s perceptions of maths changed after the excursion and after using HOTMaths (textbook and interactive online maths learning, teaching and assessment resources) deployed at the school,” Dr Taylor says.

“A total of 93 per cent thought the excursion was worthwhile and 64 per cent requested more activities like it at their school.

“Meanwhile, 59 per cent said it improved their understanding of the link between mathematics skills and career opportunities.

“Participating students reported that learning mathematics this way was more enjoyable, less challenging and helped them to comprehend why maths is important for their future.”

As the Project’s Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Claire-Marie McLean says participating students reported greater improvements in self-assessing their maths capabilities prior to selecting their subjects for senior school.

“They also reported higher satisfaction using learning resources which the initiative funded for their school,” she says.

“These students claimed they learnt more with these resources than they usually would.

“Both the excursion and learning resources assisted students with low mathematics aptitude but high motivation to learn.”

Head of Mathematics at Bundaberg North State High School, Andrew Duncan says that Wide Bay teachers are now being invited to learn how their students can use tertiary-level laboratory gear to experiment and gather data for their mathematics assignment.

“They can learn how to work with CQUniversity Engineering staff and students to make connections between current academic study and tertiary study,” Mr Duncan says.