Maths Inside: Improving maths engagement

In 2014 a UTS cross faculty team was awarded $1.9m in funding over 3 years, under the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program to research and develop learning resources. Working with CSIRO and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, the Maths Inside project will help teachers bring maths to life for high school students and address the dwindling numbers of students taking advanced maths and science in school and university.

The project addresses the urgent need for more engagement in mathematics (and science) by Australian students. Currently students are opting out of higher levels of mathematics. A major report has highlighted the importance of providing quality junior school experiences in maths, and raising awareness of career and personal relevance of mathematics. (McPhan et al., 2008, p iv).

Maths Inside has developed a series of case studies that promote the contributions of CSIRO mathematical scientists with links to the Australian Curriculum. The objective is to develop resources that make it easy for teachers to explain the purpose of school mathematics. The project will produce teaching and learning materials that are classroom ready, referenced to the Australian Curriculum, (Years 8-12), and pedagogically sound. Video interviews with scientists, the maths of a mobile phones and “real science” applications, like keeping track of whale numbers, are among resources being planned by the project team to help high school teachers around the country bring maths to life for their students.

Watch a video about CSIRO’s Zebedee project that has devloped a hand held scanner to create 3D maps of difficult environments using sophisticated mathematical applications.

Opportunity for partnerships
The involvement of industry partners opens the possibility for a wider choice of case studies. A website is also in development, and videos with curriculum material are now being made available to school participants. In the coming months workshops will be held around the country to promote Maths Inside materials and other items for teacher professional learning. For more information about this project and to register interest in attending a workshop contact Dr Mary Coupland at the UTS School of Mathematical Sciences:

About the author
Dr. Marco Angelini is the Project Manager for Maths Inside at UTS in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.