News

19 September 2012

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

School principal Christie Schmid said the award acknowledged Vincent 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, Vincent 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 students and students from low socio-economic communities, 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."

Ms Schmid said students were engaging with activities in a way that allowed them to see the real life use of maths concepts.

"Year three students have grown their own vegetables and used them in measurement and cooking activities," she said.

"As well, number lines, using students, help teach number and measurement concepts, prep students are using their own bodies as counters to make simple equations and year three students use their hands, minds and bodies to estimate and then measure the distance they could throw a heavy rope."

Ms Schmid said the use of YuMi Deadly Maths strategies had enabled students to develop a clearer understanding of maths concepts and processes taught within the Australian Curriculum.

"Our teachers are very excited to share their teaching with colleagues and are regularly hosting collegial visits from other teachers," she said.

Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 rose.trapnell@qut.edu.au

YuMi Deadly Centre lead researcher Dr Bron Ewing says Vincent State School has become a YuMi Deadly Maths School for Excellence.