Maths Fiesta

Kylie Wall
Clontarf Beach State School, Queensland

Hi Doug,

I have attached a program I have developed and thought it may be of some use to other teachers in some way. 'Maths Fiesta' is a concept I developed in an attempt to

  • build student confidence in mathematics,
  • make explicit kinaesthetic links,
  • connect activities to the real world and
  • promote the fact that maths can be fun!
So far, I have implemented 8 Maths Fiestas and the feedback has been really positive. Behaviour problems are nil to none and students have a blast with maths on the day!

Read more about Kylie's exciting work below. If it catches your interest you could also explore these related articles:

Green Line

Background

Maths Fiesta is a P - 7 program which I developed for Clontarf Beach S.S. In order to attain strength in numeracy, we have invested a considerable amount time and effort into training staff, resourcing classrooms and implementing a variety of new initiatives / programs.

Maths Fiesta (has) facilitated mathematical growth and deepened levels of knowledge and understanding ... we strongly believe that all students, despite economic status or background, are capable of achieving success.   These elements have combined effectively to empower teaching, maximise learning, build student confidence and ensure maths is viewed more positively through the eyes of both the teacher and the student. I have placed particular importance on the need to ensure maths is not represented as a stand alone subject. It is vital that students make real world connections with concepts and understand why these mathematical skills can assist them at school, beyond the classroom and throughout their future.

Primarily, the intent behind Maths Fiesta was aimed at transforming the way numeracy was currently being taught and also providing teachers with activities which could effectively utilise the wonderful resources our school had on offer. It began as a small activity session with rotational activities and grew into a highly interactive experience based around investigation and kinaesthetic learning. Through the use of NAPLAN, PAT - M, First Steps in Maths data and teacher feedback, I began to strategically pinpoint the maths concepts with which most students were experiencing difficulty. Subsequently, I created a range of activities to reinforce the fundamental skills and strategies required in order to understand these specific concepts more clearly.

Prior to establishing the Fiesta, I also took a very close look at what factors were contributing to minimising learning. Low confidence levels and student perception towards numeracy were preventing many students from developing mathematically. To ensure that students would flourish at the Fiesta, stay on task and deepen their knowledge, I combined the following elements:

  • Maths Passport
    Each student received a Maths Fiesta Passport. The passport had each activity listed on it with a brief description of what it entailed. As the activity was completed, the student received a star sticker to recognise their effort with the task. Instant recognition had incredible effects. Intrinsic motivation was definitely an incentive to achieve at the fiesta and it was evident that students felt proud of their efforts.
  • Activities
    Activities were not given a time limit. Students could commence working at any of the 30 activities and progress onto the next work station when they felt ready. Students could also choose to work independently, with a partner or with their peers. Each activity had clear directions to follow in order to effectively complete the task. Students could also choose an activity which was suitable for their ability level. There were a range of activities to suit all interests and numerous opportunities for students to challenge their aptitude.
Parents and community members are warmly welcomed to these events. A comfortable learning environment, active learning and enthusiasm are the core ingredients to making our Maths Fiesta success.

Outcomes

Educational research has found that kinaesthetic based learning works effectively with Indigenous and low SES students and this has definitely proven to be true time and time again at each Fiesta we have held. The level of engagement has been so high that behaviour problems are non existent. Apart from the noise of brains at work, laughter and mathematical discussion, we have experienced positive feedback every time from students, teachers, parents and the wider school community.

Through a combined analysis of student data, we are certain that initiatives such as the Maths Fiesta have facilitated mathematical growth and deepened levels of knowledge and understanding. The Fiesta in conjunction with various other elements & programs have become a fundamental foundation of our whole school maths program and we strongly believe that all students, despite economic status or background, are capable of achieving success.

  Click the image above to view a Maths Passport and descriptions of several sample activities.
(PDF file)

More Classroom Stories