Tooborac school receives maths grant

TOOBORAC Primary School has received a $20,000 grant from education technology company Vivi to support the implementation of a new maths program aiming to increase students’ engagement and enjoyment.

The Top Ten Maths program was developed by Australian teachers and uses physical objects rather than worksheets or technology for a hands-on learning experience, and involves students reasoning with each other and thinking aloud.

Principal James Tenison-Woods said the grant was a boon for the school as it aimed to enhance student enjoyment and outcomes in maths.

“Our numeracy leader Cheryl Ward applied for the grant to support the implementation of the Top Ten maths program, purchase associated materials and technology and support teachers to collaborate within and outside the school,” he said.

“The theory is if students are not using materials in primary maths, they’re not doing mathematics. It’s not just number maths, it’s across all maths with measurements and angles.

“It’s also about students working in pairs and testing at the start of a topic to identify students understanding at the start and again at the end, so you can see how much they’ve progressed and see where to start when you revisit the topic.”

Through the grant, the school purchased the required materials and provided professional teaching about the program to staff.

The funding will also support the school in observing best practice outside of the school by visiting other schools who are implementing the program, learning from and collaborating with them.

Mr Tenison-Woods said while the school was yet to start the program, it had transformed the maths curriculum of a nearby school.

“Part of it is they match picture books to maths topics, so you’ve always got a hook to make it real life and interesting for students,” he said.

“For example, in one of the lessons for division students are given castle and have to defend it around 360 degrees but only have a limited number of bricks to build towers, so they have to work out how many towers they can have with their amount of bricks.

“It gives it a purpose rather than just asking how many groups of four are in a number and how many are left over.

“It’s evident from other schools that it will improve engagement, enjoyment and outcomes for students and improve teachers enjoyment and love of teaching maths.”