28th October 2013
Teachers from around Queensland and some from Victoria are converging on QUT this week to share their experiences in teaching what could be the world's most deadly maths program.
YuMi Deadly Maths was developed by QUT for Indigenous and low socio-economic students to make maths more practical and understandable to students.
QUT's YuMi Deadly Centre (YDC) sits within the Faculty of Education.
YDC Director, Professor Tom Cooper, said teaching YuMi Deadly Maths required a creative focus and a commitment from principals and teachers for a whole-of-school change towards teaching and learning.
"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, learning about fractions by cutting oranges or pizza," Professor Cooper said.
"YuMi Deadly Maths puts maths into an everyday context for students - we teach maths in ways that make connections with the real-life experiences of students.
"It's being taught in more than 80 primary and secondary schools and TAFEs across Queensland, as well as 12 schools in Victoria, and is achieving solid results, with student grades improving.
"It breaks the big mathematical concepts into small pieces, providing students with bite-sized blocks of knowledge that they can use in other learning situations."
Professor Cooper said the YuMi Deadly program opened teachers' minds to a wide variety of ways of teaching maths.
"It's all about finding the best way to get through to students and sometimes that will be taking them outdoors so they measure trees or bushes or even their own height, or use their bodies and elastic to make shapes like squares or rectangles or even through song," he said.
"The possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher."
Professor Cooper said presentations from 17 schools would take attendees through a smorgasbord of teaching methods that had all achieved a common outcome - raising the numeracy levels of students.
He said one particular YuMi Deadly Maths project, Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics (AIM), had met with particular success.
"AIM helps teachers of Indigenous Year 8-10 students who have Year 2-3 maths levels to develop their knowledge to the point where they can access maths subjects in Years 11-12," he said.
"Of the 39 teachers involved in the program only three were qualified maths specialists yet with professional training they were equipped with the skills that enabled them to make real progress with students and help to reduce the achievement gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous students."
The YuMi Deadly Sharing Summit will be held on 28-29 October at QUT Kelvin Grove, A Block and S Block.
Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 email@example.com