Activities

How the outcomes were achieved

Maths videos

Monash University’s education and science faculties produced a series of videos about Mathematics, designed to inspire and support classroom activities.

Contact

Dr Rebecca Cooper, Monash University.

Responds to ReMSTEP innovation(s):

1

Contemporary science and mathematics integrated in initial teacher education (ITE) units of study.

Key points

  • Three short videos about mathematics for pre-service and in-service teachers were produced
  • A teacher educator and Mathematics lecturer work together to introduce the maths content, with links to real life examples
  • Test audience agreed that they had learned interesting mathematical concepts and current mathematical practices

In a collaborative project between the Faculties of Education and Science at Monash University, a series of 3 short videos about mathematics for pre-service (PSTs) and in-service teachers (ISTs) was produced, accompanied by educational tasks to challenge the viewer’s notions about mathematics in the classroom. The videos are designed to inspire PSTs and ISTs to think of mathematics as a beautiful, creative and relevant discipline, and provide them with ideas and activities for use in the classroom.

The vast majority of resources currently available for mathematics teachers are aimed at the mechanics of teaching or the mechanics of mathematics. The primary goal of this project was to produce content that showcases the nature and beauty of mathematics. The resources are aimed for teachers looking to appreciate the concepts, philosophy, and attitudes of mathematics. More concretely, they will provide them with inspiration for classroom activities that deal with the ideas, rather than the technical aspects, of mathematics.

I think one thing that this does is it expands what students think mathematics is about. Somehow people can get lost thinking it’s only about this much when really there’s a lot more going on. No one can ever say they know all mathematics that’s for sure.

Surveyed pre-service teacher

Each video begins with an introduction by a teacher educator, Dr Rebecca Cooper, describing the educational purpose of the videos. Mathematics lecturer Dr Norman Do then introduces the maths content, with links to real life examples to be considered by the audience. The accompanying questions are designed to stimulate and challenge the PSTs’ and ISTs’ thinking about current practices in maths education.

Still from ReMSTEP Maths – Fractals video featuring Dr Norman Do

These videos were made by a highly regarded mathematician who has a strong focus on student engagement and learning of mathematics. They intentionally shift the focus of learning mathematics from being firmly centred on completing problems using algorithms and formulae to being strongly focused on capturing the nature of mathematics and the possibilities it unveils.

After watching the videos, PSTs and ISTs agreed that they had learned some interesting mathematical concepts; they felt they had learned about current mathematical practices. They also gained ideas for how to bring contemporary mathematical practices into the curriculum. Both groups were intrigued by how ideas presented in the videos could be linked to the Australian Curriculum and this is where the educational activities associated with the videos were important; they promoted discussion and an opportunity to explore and extend educators’ views about incorporating real contexts into school mathematics.

The videos and questions can be found at Monash Science Education Research Group website: http://monash.edu/science-education/category/resources/

Learn more

For more analysis download the Activity Evaluation report.

Download report - 150kb pdf

Footnotes:

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