Mathematics is simply amazing.

For many, this statement can be difficult to believe. But almost everyone who has ever studied or been taught Mathematics will have encountered that special and unique moment when a concept or idea just made sense. Now whether that moment was brief or whether it lingered on, nevertheless in that instant each person will have seen a glimpse of the wonderful thing this is Mathematics.

Daily life relevance

The trouble for most students, past and present, is that the all-important “correct answer” has been their major (and sometimes only) objective when answering a mathematical question. Certainly finding the correct solution to a problem is important, but the study of Mathematics is so much more than this limited, one-dimensional approach. It is so important for students to see the relevance and significance of mathematics in their daily lives. As the introduction to the television program Numb3rs says “We all use Mathematics every day!”

Developing mathematical minds

In the Mathematics Department at Barker College, our aim is to encourage our students to explore, search and question. We seek to develop each student’s ability to communicate mathematically. We want them to be able to explain why their solution is true and justify the steps they took to arrive at their answer(s). Building up a student’s problem-solving skills, showing them how to use mathematical equipment to investigate and encouraging each student to discuss or write about Mathematics in their own words are just some of the methods which can be used to open up a student’s mathematical horizons.

Using technology to teach Maths

In the past, the explanation of an abstract concept on a blackboard followed by the practising of such processes was really the only method of teaching available in most Mathematics classrooms. While the rigorous nature of the subject still requires students to develop and practise skills in this manner, the introduction of technology has opened up new opportunities for improving each student’s understanding. For the first time, students can truly see the dynamic and variable nature of such areas of Mathematics as geometry, trigonometry, statistics and calculus. By using tangible and visual demonstrations via a data projector or on their own computer screen, students can see a clearer connection between the concrete or 'hands-on' and the abstract or 'algebraic'.

Hands on resources

In each Mathematics classroom at Barker College, our aim is to use such technological aids appropriately to improve the understanding of concepts as well as developing the basic numeracy skills of each student.  Recent research into how students learn Mathematics has emphasised the importance of using hands-on material, practical ideas and appropriate language in the development of their mathematical understanding.

In all years at Barker College, the Mathematics classes are structured to cater for all levels of ability and interest.  This structure is designed to foster excellence and independent learning, to cater for different learning styles and to provide additional assistance for those students with special needs. Both extension and remediation programs are usually provided in each year, depending on timetable constraints.

Maths Support

Also known to many as “Maths Help”, this is an additional service provided to the students of Barker College by the Mathematics staff of the school.  Four afternoons per week, an experienced member of the Mathematics staff is available to help any student who requires extra assistance with their Mathematics. Attendance is purely voluntary, but many students from Years 7 to 12 regularly turn up to improve their mathematical knowledge.

Graham Hanlon
Head of Mathematics

Ros Hamblyn
Assistant Coordinator of Mathematics