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Big Picture

Our work is 100% professional development:

Across the nation
Around the world

Support for:

Systems
Districts
Schools
Teachers

This page is a summary of our philosophy, background, services and resources.

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Charter

To collect and retell stories of success to support the concept that:

All students can learn to work like a mathematician
in happy, healthy, cheerful, productive, inspiring classrooms.

Curriculum Vision

A curriculum which balances:
  • modelling how to work like a mathematician
    - Working Mathematically
  • inviting students to apply the model for themselves
  • developing a toolbox of mathematical skills
Curriculum Vision

The starting point for a professional mathematician is an:

interesting, meaningful, worthwhile problem
Catch the vision of Working Like A Mathematician at Cube Tube.

Green Line

Sections

Background
Mathematics Task Centre
Calculating Changes
Maths300
Professional Development
Off-the-shelf Programs
Tailored Programs
Research Evidence
Formal Research
Teacher Stories
Resources
Tasks
Maths With Attitude
Poly Plug
Working Mathematically with Infants
Menu Maths Packs
Picture Puzzles
Calculating Changes Membership
Maths300 Membership
Support Resources & Documents

Green Line

Background

  • Our stories are collected and retold through:
    Mathematics Task Centre ... Calculating Changes ... Maths300.
  • Each division has its own focus but operates as a companion to the others.
  • The practical, hands-on nature of each is intended to encourage debate about best teaching practice.
  • Teachers are invited to enter more deeply into the debate by trying ideas and resources in their classroom.
  • Services and resources are designed to integrate with all official curriculum documents.
  • Our inclusive teaching practices and resources have brought particular success to Indigenous students in a broad range of circumstances.

Mathematics Task Centre

  • Built on the experiences of the Task Centre Network from 1974.
  • Wisdom of practice collected and expanded as the Mathematics Task Centre Project from 1992 by Curriculum Corporation.
  • Extended, redesigned and refreshed within Mathematics Centre 2010-11.
  • Source of 241 hands-on problem solving tasks for Years 2-10 with answers and extensions provided as Task Cameos.
  • Classroom wisdom related to using tasks in structured, integrated ways.
  • Each task is an invitation to work like a mathematician.
  • Each task has a second life when converted to a whole class investigation which models the work of a mathematician.
  • Each task has a third life in which the teacher uses the Task Cameo to prepare an investigation guide which extends the task in either the invitation or modelling situation.
  • Many tasks have been adapted for infant or senior years.

Calculating Changes

  • Established 1998, following trial networking from 1996.
  • Built on the work of projects such as the Calculator Aware Number (CAN) Project (UK 1985-89) and abundant research on using concrete materials.
  • Poly Plug and calculators are assumed resources in network schools.
  • By engineering 'aha' moments in number the network aims to enhance children's number sense beyond what is normally expected for their age.
  • Teachers have developed Threaded Activities as a powerful teaching technique. These are rich, motivating activities which are used for small amounts of time over an extended period to help children construct their own learning.
  • 110 activities on site, 75 for members.
  • Concept and skill development in a problem solving context to strengthen the toolbox of mathematicians in primary years.
  • Working Mathematically with Infants combines Calculating Changes and whole class investigations into 60 weeks of programmed number learning from K - 2.

Maths300

  • Established 2000 as a partnership with Curriculum Corporation and continuing under Education Services Australia.
  • Since July 2015 refreshed, redeveloped and continued by its creators through The Task Centre Collective Pty. Ltd.
  • Built on the work of the Mathematics Curriculum & Teaching Program (MCTP) and a range of other historic initiatives.
  • Whole class investigations as lesson plans which model the work of a mathematician.
  • Each lesson presented in the context of best teaching practice.
  • Strong emphasis on multiple intelligences, higher order thinking and literacy.
  • Over 190 lessons, working towards 300, for teachers in Years K-12.
  • About one half of the lessons are built on the content depth of hands-on tasks.
  • About one third of the lessons are supported by purpose-built software.

Professional Development

  • Support for all levels of education - System, District, Cluster, School, Pre-Service Education - anywhere in the world.
  • A multitude of options categorised in two sections: Off-the-shelf or Tailored programs.
  • We specialise in Discussion Lessons - we take the class, teachers observe learning features, we discuss, teachers are challenged to teach the same lesson to a different group.
  • Our recommended model for lasting curriculum shift is focused courses with the same teacher group, structured over time and requiring classroom-based experimentation, reflection, evaluation and on-going challenge.
  • For an overview of options visit Professional Development Partnerships

Off-the-shelf Programs

PD from MC
  • A library of tried and proven one day workshops and two 6 day programs, one primary and one secondary.
  • One day programs can be presented individually or as a linked collection.
  • Designed to service remote as well as central locations.
  • Resources for each program are drawn from the projects above.
  • Each session provides time to explore, research and plan.
  • Teachers are invited to take their resource and re-enact its story in their classroom.
  • Programs can be delivered by our leaders or by professional officers from a system who have been prepared and resourced by us.
  • PD from MC programs have been the basis of partnerships with schools, clusters, professional associations and systems.
Task Centre Workshop
  • Only available with the purchase of 100 tasks.
  • Discounted consultant's fee.
  • Designed to support the integration of the tasks into the curriculum.
  • Can be adapted to a cluster of schools with a similar purpose.
  • Can be delivered by our leaders or by professional officers from a system who have been prepared and resourced by us.
Calculating Changes Workshop
  • One day workshop to establish the principles and practice of Calculating Changes, including Working Mathematically with Infants.
  • Calculating Changes supports the development of a firmly founded, creative number sense through Infant years, then develops into a rich resource of ideas, activities and approaches for all primary teachers.
  • Poly Plug and calculators essential.
Short Courses
  • 1 - 2 hour courses to highlight the main principles of each of the projects.
  • Variations for primary and secondary audiences.

Tailored Programs

Discussion Lessons
  • We take a class to act out a lesson.
  • Your teachers observe.
  • We meet before for a short time to brief, and after for about an hour to debrief.
  • You arrange for your teachers to enact this lesson with their own class and report back to each other.
Your Choice
  • You identify your needs.
  • We draw on our stories, experience and resources in discussion with you about addressing your needs.
  • We tailor a program together.

Research Evidence

Formal Research

  • We have research which shows that long term courses focussing on the Working Mathematically approach to curriculum simultaneously improve problem solving ability, mathematical skills and literacy. See the INISSS research In the Research & Stories link at the top of the page.
  • We have research which shows that the achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous secondary students can be closed. See the INISSS research in the Research & Stories link at the top of the page.
  • We have research which shows that secondary students from disadvantaged areas can do better at system level tests and Year 12 examinations. See Cressy District High School and Marsden State High School in the Research & Stories link at the top of the page.
  • We have research which shows that parents can become integrated into the mathematics learning of gifted and talented Year 7 students through a home lending program based around tasks, and that this involvement has a high impact in terms of changing teaching and learning styles. See Thorne Grammar School in the Research & Stories link at the top of the page.
  • We have research which shows that a high percentage of teachers involved in 5-10 courses with considerable input from Calculating Changes develop significant changes in their teaching style and report noticing unexpected developments in their children's number sense. See evaluations of Calculating Changes.

Teacher Stories

  • This research evidence is also supported by teacher stories in the Research & Stories link above.
  • Further, a group of teachers involved in Working Mathematically professional development for up to 4 years offers reasons why tasks work.

Resources

Our key resources are:
  • Tasks
  • Maths With Attitude
  • Working Mathematically with Infants
    • Calculating Changes site membership (all primary years)
  • Poly Plug
  • Picture Puzzles
  • Menu Maths Packs
We also recommend
  • Maths300 site membership (Primary & Secondary)
Tasks can be purchased separately, in collections, or in kits designed for particular purposes. We also offer a significant number of specialised resources to support whole class investigations.
  • We have experience in constructing special kits to resource system-based initiatives.
  • Alternative assessment practices are built into all our materials.
  • For a full list of all our materials visit the Resources link above.

Tasks

A task is a problem written out on a card and packed with the materials students can use to explore the problem. Each task is a visual and concrete problem-solving context. You can see photos of all our tasks in our Task Library. Each photo is linked to its Task Cameo.
  • Key principles in selecting problems to become tasks are:
    • a task is the tip of an iceberg
    • a task has three lives: for pairs of students, a whole class or guided by an Investigation Sheet
    • a task can be used to illustrate the process of Working Mathematically
  • We have a collection of 241 tasks involving content from all curriculum strands and appropriate to all year levels from 2-10.
  • Infant teachers have told us they have successfully adapted many of these tasks.
  • All tasks are supported by additional Task Cameo information for teachers
  • Ordering is as simple as stating the number of tasks required and the year levels at which they will be used. You may also include special criteria.
  • We are clearing our current stock of Tasks. See Order Form.
Keep in touch with additions and changes to all parts of our work by subscribing to Mathematics Centre eNews.
Tip of an Iceberg

Maths With Attitude

  • We are clearing our current stock of Maths With Attitude. See Order Form.
  • Four kits at each pair of Year Levels: Years 3/4, Years 5/6, Years 7/8, Years 9/10
  • 16 kits which work together to support a Working Mathematically curriculum alternative across primary and secondary schools.
  • Excellent for resourcing cluster-wide curriculum shift.
  • Each kit contains 20 tasks and a manual with a week by week planner integrating its use through the two year levels of the kit.
  • The 4 kits at each level are in the strands Chance & Measurement, Number & Computation, Pattern & Algebra, Space & Logic.
  • The set of 4 kits at each level provides 25 weeks of curriculum integrating hands-on problem solving, whole class investigations, skill development in context and software support.
  • Encourages an additional 15 weeks of teacher and faculty 'personal best' curriculum.
  • Self-directed professional development is supported by the manual and the lesson plans.
  • Additional professional development is available.
  • Convenient, compact and complete.
  • Maths300 membership offers added value but is not essential.
  • More details

Poly Plug

  • Poly Plug is a set of 2 soft foam boards each with 5 rows of 5 removable plugs.
  • One board is a sandwich of blue and yellow and the other board is red.
  • The yellow/blue board is double the thickness of the red board.
  • Each board is 17.5 cm square.
  • Each Poly Plug set is supplied with a tough press-seal plastic bag.
  • Highly recommended by teachers as 'classroom friendly'.
  • Poly Plug can be used to establish and solve an enormous number of mathematical problems suitable for all year levels.
  • A set of Poly Plug can be used to convert dozens of different tasks into whole class investigations.
  • A free web site details all these ideas and encourages teachers to contribute more.

Working Mathematically with Infants

  • Only available to Calculating Changes members. (See below.)
  • WMI Kit includes threaded activities from Calculating Changes and investigations from Task Centre and Maths300 for Years K - 2.
  • 10 weeks of number work detailed in 6 scope and sequence planners - one per semester.
  • Each kit contains 20 Poly Plug, CD-ROM of activities extracted from Calculating Changes, manual with weekly planners.
  • Maths300 membership offers added value but is not essential.
  • Integrates with Maths With Attitude.
  • More details

Menu Maths Packs

Menu Maths is about choice.
  • Teachers choose which menu to use.
  • Learners choose which item to savour from Today's Specials.
Why? To enrich mathematics learning and teaching, encourage greater student participation and support the curriculum culture of learning to work like a mathematician.
  • At least five investigations on every menu.
  • Every investigation explored with Poly Plug.
  • Four menus available: Poly Plug Puzzles A, B, C, D.
  • Each menu focuses on a particular content strand.
  • Additional 'placemats' included when necessary as playing boards.
  • Menus suit a range of ages and abilities.
  • Web-based teachers' notes.

Picture Puzzles

  • One screen, two learners, concrete materials and a challenge.
  • An alternative use for i-screens (phones, tablets, notebooks, computers) of any type.
  • PDF slide shows which present an unfolding sequence of challenges with multiple levels of success.
  • Each Picture Puzzle combines technology with visual and kinaesthetic learning and encourages mathematical conversation and recording.
  • Picture Puzzles are provided in content-related menus offering choice for students and teachers.
  • At least 5 choices in each menu.
  • More details

Support Resources

Calculating Changes Membership

  • Poly Plug and calculators are the preferred resources of the network.
  • Teachers have developed a teaching strategy they call threading which challenges children and allows them time to construct their own learning.
  • Explore the generous Free Tour section of Calculating Changes to discover principles and over 30 sample activities.
  • Membership includes over 70 additional activities across all primary years.
  • Membership is essential for Working Mathematically with Infants.

Maths300 Membership

  • Membership must be purchased directly from: Maths300.
  • Membership is richer when used in conjunction with tasks. Maths300 supports modelling the work of a mathematician. Tasks offer an invitation to apply the model.

Support Documents

Rotagrams
  • Compare angles and discover relationships between angles without the confusion of a protractor scale.
  • Recommended in the Victorian Mathematics Developmental Curriculum P-10.
  • Relates to Task 214, Angle Estimation and Maths300 Lesson 133, Angle Estimation.
Professor Morris Puzzles
  • 50 poster puzzles with teaching notes.
  • All puzzles presented in rhyme
  • Original CARtoon drawings
  • Suitable for Years 2 - 8.
  • Links to the teaching problem solving through the Poster Problem Clinic.
Maths300 ETuTE
  • For the maths team at all levels who want to make better use of Maths300 membership.
  • A collection of one page self-directed tutorials exploring the many features and content connections of Maths300.
  • Every tutorial begins with a focus question.
  • Includes indexes for finding tutorials by content or year level.
Sphinx Shapes
  • Enough shapes for a whole class investigation of the Sphinx task.
  • The one task offers significant learning for all year levels from K-12 and is used as an example of the depth of all the tasks.
  • This problem is the source of the story of the Task Centre logo.
  • The Iceberg Information about this task is collected at its own web site.
3d Geoshapes & Mini Geofix
  • Linking 2D shapes - squares, triangles, pentagons and hexagons - which fold up into three dimensions.
  • Source of an immense amount of 2D and 3D spatial problem solving and pattern work.
  • See Cube Nets Task Cameo and Lesson 116 on Maths300.
Trisquares
  • Trisquares offer possibilities similar to Sphinx using a square as the core unit, rather than an equilateral triangle: Shape discrimination and other spatial experiences, perimeter, area, problem solving, square numbers, algebra.
  • Enough shapes for a whole class investigation guided by Tasks 237, Trisquares, and Task 238, Growing Trisquares.
Trisquares
  • Trisquares offer possibilities similar to Sphinx using a square as the core unit, rather than an equilateral triangle: Shape discrimination and other spatial experiences, perimeter, area, problem solving, square numbers, algebra.
  • Enough shapes for a whole class investigation guided by Tasks 237, Trisquares, and Task 238, Growing Trisquares.
Tricubes
  • Material for a whole class investigation involving perimeter, surface area, volume, 2D representation of 3D objects, linear, quadratic and cubic relationships.
  • Everything done with Sphinx in two dimensions can be recreated and extended in three dimensions.
Pentagon Triangles
  • Two types of foam triangles obtained by cutting a regular pentagon.
  • Content related to geometry and visual pattern, number patterns, Square Numbers, Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio.
  • See Pentagon Triangles Task Cameo and Lesson 134 on Maths300.
And there's more ... please explore the Resources link.

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