From the Head of Junior School

Maths Talent Quest – Mathematics in the real world
As many students across the school engage in the Maths Talent Quest it is important to remember that there is mathematics in just about everything! The Maths Talent Quest is all about exposing, investigating and using maths in a realistic context. Approximately 80% of all the mathematics we use as adults is based on estimation or mental calculation. In fact, we often use our maths skills in an unconscious way. A classic example is the way we naturally compare objects and distances by length and height.

Young children can do this without using units and then move to using informal units (like blocks or paces). When ready, they move on to learn about metres, centimetres and kilometres. Chances to talk about measurement occur regularly and naturally. Make the most of the opportunities that arise spontaneously in everyday living to involve children in estimating and measuring.

According to the Mathematics Association of Victoria (MAV) the focus of the Maths Talent Quest is on the process of mathematical investigations. Open to all primary and secondary students, the Maths Talent Quest aims to promote interest in mathematics and foster positive attitudes amongst students, teachers and parents. First held in 1982, the Maths Talent Quest (MTQ) is an annual activity organised by the Student Activities Committee of The Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV).

Looking at real life situations and finding that mathematics is everywhere helps capture the imagination of both teachers and students alike. The MTQ allows students to investigate mathematics on an individual, group or class basis with the opportunity to have fun exploring mathematics.

The Maths Talent Quest:

  • promotes an interest in and increases the awareness of mathematics
  • develops student research and communication skills
  • encourages students to verify and justify the results of an investigation
  • equips students with problem solving strategies
  • provides students with the opportunity to discover the practical applications of mathematics
  • supports independent and collaborative learning
  • allows all students to achieve some measure of success.

Students are typically required to research, design, explore, create, question, articulate, communicate, think, solve problems, collaborate, and communicate whilst completing their MTQ projects. Audiences range from classmates and teachers, to parents and broader communities. Real-world applications, historical research and working models are completed either individually, in groups or as a class.

Projects and investigations cater for student diversity. They not only provide gifted and talented students with the opportunity to show their ability and to follow interests; they also allow students from diverse backgrounds (particularly those from different cultures and rural centres) to demonstrate how mathematics relates to their lives.

Have fun sharing mathematics with your children and we look forward to seeing all the 2016 Maths Talent Quest projects when they are completed next term.

Steve Wilson
Head of Junior School Donvale