Maths challenge makes most of school spaceMost primary school students end maths lessons with a firmer grasp of theory and materials they need to return to storage.  Year 4 students at Marion Catholic Primary School Horsley Park will have a new education space to show for their efforts, equipped with the features and materials they decide are the most useful to learn with.

The students have worked in small groups to complete the project to optimise unused space next to a Year 6 classroom as part of the Mathematical Association of NSW 2019 Investigating with Mathematics Competition.

We needed to think about if the things we chose were going to be effective.

– Emily Sedgwick

The challenge is open to NSW students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and asks them to explore a real-life situation or problem that requires mathematics to solve.

Though they will submit their entries in August, the outcome is not dependent on the competition. Staff and students will vote for one of a handful of finalists to determine which space or features from each will be built at the end of the year.

Students have drawn on math skills including measurement while considering the cost, strength and dimensions of materials for their designs.

‘Our teacher said to think about what we want and go above what our school has, so we’re planning to make it a learning space we’ve never had,’ said Year 4 student James Montone.

‘It’s going to have a chess board for chess club and blinds so the sun doesn’t always shine in. We might also put a tap there for art. It’s going to be for a lot of people to use.’

We made a timeline to design a learning space for all our classes to use.

– Conor McHale

Emily Sedgwick said she and her classmates measured the space during the design process before mapping their ideas on paper, working to scale.

‘We needed to think about if the things we chose were going to be effective or if we need them there,’ she said. ‘Also if it’s too expensive, because we need to do it on a smaller budget.’

Conor McHale said his group’s design include things to facilitate messy activities including science experiments and art.

‘We made a timeline of the things we needed to do and how long it was going to take to design a learning space for all our classes to use as a way to fit activities together,’ he said.

‘Also things that the classrooms need. If it’s not going to be used, what’s the point of it existing?’