NSW Mathematics Strategy progress report

Announcing a new numeracy course | Eddie Woo on the road | More role models join our Mathematics Ambassador program | Listen in as the experts chat maths | The Everyday Maths Hub meets NSW Libraries | Primary mathematics specialist teachers receive personalised coaching

Welcome to our latest progress report. With such a wide range of activities to deliver on – we have been very busy. Here are some of the highlights from Term 2.

Announcing a new numeracy course

In May, Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the rollout of a new Numeracy course for Year 11 and 12 students. Available to all NSW schools, the new course will help students build practical numeracy and mathematics skills for everyday life and work in the 21st century.

After piloting the course across 3,000 students over three years, an evaluation by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) found the course increased student participation in Stage 6 mathematics, especially among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students in rural and remote areas and students studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses. Course syllabus and materials will be available via the NESA website from Term 3, 2021.

Marsden High School students Jasmine Ballard and Syrenity Wulf, trialled the new course this year and said it helped make maths more relevant. “I found the project pretty interesting, “Syrenity said. “I didn’t realise the money, time and effort that goes into buying a car. It was very different to what we’d done in maths before, I wasn’t a fan of maths, and now I like it. I never thought in a billion years I would like maths.” Jasmine said: “I now feel more confident in making financial decisions.”

Eddie Woo on the road

During Term 2, 2021, our Mathematics Growth Team (MGT) leader Eddie Woo toured MGT schools across the state to run workshops for the schools’ mathematics teachers, while showing students how mathematics lessons can be fun. “Mathematics is a subject that is deeply playful; the instinct to play never goes away,” Eddie explained using statistics from popular teenage games such as Fortnite to explain the use of mathematics and to make it fun.

'There was palpable excitement in the air from the moment Eddie arrived and headed out to the playground,” said Nat Ryan, teacher at Coolamon Central School (CCS). This local TV news story proves her point! “His staff training was inspiring and confidence building. It was clear that for him, it's all about the kids. Our only complaint was that we couldn't keep him at CCS!” Ms Ryan said.

More role models join our Mathematics Ambassador program

We’re truly excited to have three more esteemed community role models join our Mathematics Ambassador program. Last month we welcomed University of Sydney’s first female Professor of Mathematics, Professor Nalini Joshi, astrophysicist, engineer and author, Dr Matt Agnew and AFL legend and GO Foundation cofounder Michael O’Loughlin as Mathematics Ambassadors. Watch our video as Minister Mitchell welcomes them to the team.

“In the same way that learning to read as a child shapes how we communicate in our adult lives, learning how to do mathematics leads to rhythms in the way we think,” said Professor Joshi.

Michael O’Loughlin said education and a strong mathematics understanding is crucial for young people. “I’m a parent and advocate for empowering young Indigenous students through education. Mathematics open doorways to success for students,”

Dr Agnew has been involved in teaching students mathematics for several years, and is passionate about helping to reverse the falling interest in mathematics by students. “Mathematics is everywhere and mastering it will help our students succeed in anything they choose to do.” Dr Agnew said.

Listen in as the experts chat maths

Tune in to our Professional Learning teams’ ‘In Conversation’ series. Designed for all teachers of mathematics K – 12, this is the place to hear about current and established educational from leading academics in education.

Check out the past sessions:

  • In conversation with Dr Kristen Tripet - exploring the importance of developing and assessing mathematical reasoning.
  • In conversation with Associate Professor Catherine Attard - exploring a framework for engagement in mathematics and the role technologies can play in supporting student learning in mathematics.
  • In conversation with Eddie Woo - exploring all things mathematics.

The next session is scheduled for Week 7, Term 3.

The Everyday Maths Hub meets NSW Libraries

Library spaces are increasingly being used for more than simply book borrowing. We know that parents, carers, and students are using public libraries to access the internet. This is why we are inviting NSW Libraries to share the Everyday Maths Hub with students, parents, and carers, so that we can break down the barriers between learning mathematics at school and putting it into practice at home.

Primary mathematics specialist teachers receive personalised coaching

Our Primary Mathematics Specialist Teachers (PMST) have been kept busy during Term 2 with; personalised coaching sessions, formal professional learning sessions with PMSTs and their school teams, testing practices and tasks out in classrooms and engaging with professional readings.

From Kelly Russell, PMST at Kieraville PS: “The framework that this initiative sits on promotes mentors and coaches as co-problem solvers who are on this journey with us and who will celebrate every win and every ‘fail’ as a 1% gain towards achieving better for our students.”

Join the conversation

Join the NSW Mathematics Strategy Yammer group to track the NSW Mathematics Strategy’s progress and share insights with your colleagues.

Updates in your inbox

Look out for this newsletter every quarter to stay up to date with the progress we are making on each of the strategy initiatives or email nswms@det.nsw.edu.au for more information.

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