Head of Mathematics
We are always trying to instil in our students the awe and wonder that the knowledge of mathematics in itself brings but we also explore the real-life applications of that understanding and build practical activities into our lessons.
Covid-19 has brought the discussion of mathematics into everyday conversations as few events have before. I cannot remember a time when the ideas of mathematics modelling, talk of exponential growth and viewing logarithmic curves has been more prevalent! The amount of data being generated and analysed has been extraordinary.
Developing our students’ skills in modelling and functions is vital but just as important is teaching them how to read, interpret and analyse the vast amounts of data being produced. Indeed, data analytics is a career that is experiencing a huge increase in demand. This increased demand for the understanding of statistics has led to its inclusion into the syllabi of our highest levels of senior study. Alongside differential and integral calculus, the girls now also learn about descriptive statistics, bivariate data analysis and investigate continuous random variables. This data literacy is something that our Numeracy Taskforce is addressing across the curriculum. We have numeracy experts working with team members from other faculties on how to build this statistics knowledge within their content areas.
This term has also seen collaboration between mathematics teachers and the Year 10 Integrated Learning Team. A unit of work on financial literacy was developed and embedded into the Integrated Learning’s sequence of lessons. The girls choose a virtual job and car. They calculated the costs of financing, insuring and running the car and whether their salary would cover these added expenses. The girls were really engaged in this task and there were some excellent life lessons learned about being realistic in our choices!
The remote learning circumstances we found ourselves in meant that we had to think about different ways of engaging and assessing the girls’ learning. We built in more practical tasks that were possible to do at home. You may have had daughters checking the nutrition labels of items in the pantry, measuring and calculating the surface area of various packets or measuring the diameter of the wheel of your car to calculate the distance travelled in 100 revolutions of the wheel. Some Year 8 girls have been looking for the different mathematics contained in bags of lolly snakes or boxes of smarties! You might like to know that blue smarties are the year groups favourite and a snake can be stretched to be more than double its original length.
You might like to have a discussion with your daughter about the mathematics you use in your job and home. Discuss the latest Covid-19 data, share with them some of your financial decision-making processes, let them work out how much paint is needed to repaint their bedroom or construct a column graph of the different coloured smarties before you eat them!
I would like to thank the mathematics staff for their adaptability, ongoing good humour and efforts during this semester. They have worked so hard to ensure that your daughters’ learning has continued seamlessly in the challenging circumstances we found ourselves.
Mrs Sally Brimfield
Head of Mathematics