Bayswater Secondary College aspires to produce mathematics learners who are resilient, approaching tasks with confidence and persistence, have the fluency to apply efficient mathematical strategies and effectively communicate their thinking to others. It is also important that learners of mathematics connection learning experiences with prior knowledge as well as with the world beyond the classroom walls.
From the content areas Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability, Year 7 students begin to delve deeper into foundational concepts laid in primary school. They build connections between the concepts of fractions, decimals and percentages, create algebraic expressions, and apply appropriate computation strategies. Students apply their understanding to work out ‘best buy’ scenarios. The formulas for the area of various shapes are established, shape and angle properties investigated and combinations of prisms and shapes are introduced. Students build on their experience of chance and data by creating sample spaces, assigning probability, constructing a range of data displays and analysing characteristics of data sets. Students are encouraged to use estimation to test their solutions are reasonable and build the skills necessary to participate in meaningful, positive learning conversations with their classmates.
In Number and Algebra, Year 8 students solve problems with fractions, simplify and evaluate algebraic expressions and investigate the links between linear equations and linear graphs. Students deepen their understanding of Statistics and Probability by solving chance problems involving complementary events, and comparing various data displays by interpreting characteristics such as mean, median and range. Technology is used where appropriate to help with constructing various graphs. For Measurement and Geometry, students extend their knowledge to involve the relationship between circumference and area with radius and diameter. Students are encouraged to use their problem solving skills to investigate new concepts and work in teams to support each others’ learning. Individual approaches to problem solving are varied and the value that all reasonable strategies are valid continues to be developed.
Students in Year 9 apply various computational concepts in order to factorise and expand algebraic expressions. They learn to express numbers using scientific notation and use index laws with algebraic and numerical values. Financial mathematics applies percentage and algebraic concepts to investigate and solve problems using simple interest. Angle and shape properties are used in geometric reasoning to provide evidence of congruent shapes. Pythagoras’ Theorem and trigonometric ratios in right-angled triangles are investigated. Formulas for area are used to develop volume formulas for various prisms.
Students extend their understanding of probability to involve two-step chance experiments both with and without replacement. The language used to describe data sets is developed to include terms such as ‘skewed’, ‘symmetric’ and ‘bi modal’ and students compare data sets in terms of centre and spread. The usefulness of mathematics as a tool is highlighted, as students are able to investigate some of the more complex ideas that may be faced in various industry settings.
Year 10 students are challenged to apply the formulas and concepts learned previously to make predictions and solve problems. Algebraic concepts such as factorising, expansion and simplifying are applied to quadratic equations and simultaneous linear equations. Links between quadratic and exponential equations and graphical representations are investigated using appropriate technology such as ICT and graphics calculators. Students use the properties of congruence and similarity to solve various problems. Formulas used for regular shapes and prisms are applied to composite 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes. More complex probability experiment problems are solved and, theoretical and experimental probability are used to show the links between statistics and probability.
Sets of data are analysed using measures of centre and quartiles with boxplots added to types of graphical representations. Scatter plots are used to identify and form and strength of relationships between variables. Statistical reports and surveys are analysed and evaluated, especially the use of statistics by the media. Students also apply their understanding of statistics and probability in a range of financial situations and develop their ability to make decisions based on the data available.
Extension and Support
The mathematics teaching team believe that open-ended, collaborative, student-led course with a low enough entrance point and high possibility for challenge is an ongoing source of support and extension for all students in the classroom. Students are able to challenge themselves by creating in-depth solutions to problems and communicate their thinking strategies and justify their solutions to their peers. Hands on materials and other problem solving techniques allow students to access tasks, even when those tasks initially seem difficult. When students understand that their input is valued and mistakes are opportunities to learn, each student is able to engage in meaningful learning experiences and grow in their understanding and skill in mathematics.
Students requiring additional support in foundational mathematical concepts including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can benefit from the QuickSmart program. The QuickSmart program is a responsive small-group intervention that aims to develop fluent (Quick) and efficient (Smart) strategy use. QuickSmart uses research-based instructional strategies to support the learning of persistently low-achieving middle school students so that they are more actively and successfully engaged in inclusive classroom settings.
Students from year 7 through to 10 also have the online Mathletics program available to them both in the classroom and at home. Activities and conceptual information from the entire Victorian Curriculum is available on this website and students can access these tasks at their own pace. Many students find this a valuable study tool and resource to help with home learning tasks.
Home learning tasks are based out of the Maths Mate program. This allows students to work on all concepts each week, rather than waiting for a particular skill to be covered again in class. These are available at various levels and can be tailored to suit individual students. The accompanying Skill Builder sheets can allow specific skills to be targeted for each student in support of the weekly home learning tasks.
In preparation for the new programming additions to the Victorian Curriculum, Year 7 students are also working through a program that introduces them to the basic concepts of programming and coding. This links in with many of the algebraic functions concepts already in the mathematics curriculum and the Digital Technologies curriculum, and will better prepare students for VCE Computing courses. More programming will be introduced into mathematics classes and electives from year 8 through to 10 in coming terms. Students with a particular interest in programming can also attend the Code Club run fortnightly during lunchtime.