08 November 2012

Mathematics teaching and learning at Beenleigh State School is so exceptional the school is being rewarded by becoming a Centre for Excellence in YuMi Deadly Maths.

Kim Alexander the YuMi Coordinator at the school, said the award acknowledged Beenleigh State School's involvement in the Queensland University of Technology's (QUT) YuMi Deadly Maths program.

"Being a YuMi Deadly Maths Centre for Excellence not only acknowledges our educational achievements but enables our school to share its knowledge with others," she said.

The maths program was developed by QUT's YuMi Deadly Centre (YDC) in the Faculty of Education.

YDC lead researcher Dr Bron Ewing said as a Centre for Excellence, Beenleigh State School would showcase the revolutionary maths education over three years to other schools, help other teachers develop their YuMi Deadly maths teaching skills and receive professional support from QUT.

The Centre of Excellence program is supported by the Division of Indigenous Education and Training Futures within the Department of Education, Training and Employment.

Dr Ewing said the YuMi Deadly maths program took maths learning beyond the classroom, incorporating hands-on experiences that were improving students' numeracy education.

Designed for Indigenous and low socio-economic students the program has been bringing maths into the real world and making it more relevant to students.

"YuMi Deadly Maths takes students out of the classroom and uses common objects and experiences to teach them about maths, for example, learning about angles by doing a 360° turn on a skateboard," Dr Ewing said.

"It puts maths into an everyday context for students - we teach maths in ways that make connections with the real-life experiences of students.

"For example, equivalent fractions can be introduced by cutting an apple into pieces. An apple can be cut into two halves. One half is cut into two quarters. The two quarters can then be compared with the half and the same can be done with pizzas, pies and cakes.

"Students find this more engaging, they are more attentive and the results speak for themselves."

She said the program had made students much more motivated.

"By taking them out of the classroom and teaching them to do things like make a clinometer to measure the heights of trees, bridges and flagpoles and then relating the maths concepts to this experience, they're learning the mathematics knowledge and skills they need."

Kim Alexander said students were connecting to maths in real and meaningful ways.

"They now see maths, not just as something you do in the classroom, but something that is all around them," she said.

"They come to us every day with real-life examples of the things they are covering in their maths classes.

"The teachers are finding that not only are the students enjoying the lessons, but that they are seeing the practical applications for them.

"Just the other day we had an evaluator assessor at the site measuring our buildings, the teacher of a class studying area and perimeter took the opportunity to let her class interview this person and find out how he uses maths in his work. The students were fascinated and it made their lessons much more relevant to them.

"We live in a maths filled world and Yumi has helped our students to understand this and engage in it in a meaningful way."

Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901

Beenleigh State School year two student Cardell Jones throwing the dice that forms the basis of a maths activity in the QUT developed YuMi Deadly Maths program.


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