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Task Centre News

September 2009

778 tasks placed in schools during September.
316,538 placed since the project began in July 1992.

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In this month's News you will find:

MOTM Reports

Additions to Task Cameos

Football Final Series

National Literacy & Numeracy Week

Tasks of the Month
Task 95, Reflections
Task 96, Networks

Note Paper
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  • MOTM Reports
    Maths on the Move is our principal professional development vehicle. A suite of tried and true workshops with a range of content for primary and secondary teachers. Their common thread is that all students can learn to work like a mathematician in healthy, happy, cheerful, productive, inspiring classrooms. We will take these sessions anywhere you need them.

    Knox Network, Victoria, has used some of its AGQTP grant to run two Maths on the Move sessions in the past month. Their first day was Learning to Work Like a Mathematician and their second was Fractions in a Fraction of the Time. There were over 40 teachers present on each occasion.

    Judy Gray organised the events and after the first commented:

    All the feedback I have had has been glowing, for example:
    • Totally inspiring
    • Relevant, clear and very, very usable
    • Most awesome presenter I have ever seen
    • This is so good
    • That was cool
    Independently another participant wrote us saying: Your PD session was fantastic. Not just the activity but also your presentation. Read more evaluations in the Link List below.

    A special mention must be given to the primary staff at Lake Cargelligo Central School who have displayed what many would consider to be dedication beyond the call by booking the workshop Engineering 'aha' Moments in Number for the very last day of the school year - Friday December 18th.

    Professional development is our business so it's good to know we seem to do it well. But there are limited places in the diary, so consider now your needs for 2010.

  • Additions to Task Cameos

    • Task 18, Same or Different
      Damian Howison, MacKillop College Swan Hill, has been using this task with his VCE Year 12 Maths Methods class in its whole class investigation life. His students have been learning to work like mathematicians now for some years and he was delighted when they made a connection with Task 129, Farmyard Friends, which they investigated in Year 11. It led to a new tweak to the task which has been recorded in its Task Cameo. See Link List below. Damian comments:
      So as you can imagine, it was a wonderful little lesson of discovery - the best type where I the teacher learn just as much as the students.
      This is a must read addition for all Senior Secondary teachers. It touches on combinations, using a spreadsheet and limits (to name just a few) apart from the probability work that is the background of the task.

    • Task 86, Game of 31
      Simon Blake, Regency Park Primary School, was one of the teachers in the Knox Cluster MOTM sessions mentioned above. He writes:
      I look at Maths in a whole different light and as a result my students are enthused and can't wait for the next session!
      One of the experiences that brought about this change was trialing Task 86, Thirty-One, guided by its extensive Maths300 lesson plan. Simon has written an addition to the cameo (see Link List below) and included a photo of some wonderful journal work from Jess, one of his Year 5 students.

  • Football Final Series
    It's September and all over Australia attention is turning to Finals Fever. Both the AFL (Australian Football League) and the NRL (National Rugby League) are counting down to their respective Grand Final at the end of the month. May the best team win.
    Or are your chances of winning governed by your position in the final eight on the end of season ladder?
    Sure, the first round of finals is over, but there is still time to investigate. See the Task Cameo for Task 1, Sporting Finals, in the Link List below. It includes links to playing boards for both AFL and NRL.

  • National Literacy & Numeracy Week
    August 31 to September 6 were celebrated across Australia as National Literacy & Numeracy Week. Wherever you are in the world you can view the Core Activity for the week at:

    It's a fabulous activity about counting the letters in the first names of people in the class. And if you think that sounds like a 'baby' activity, THINK AGAIN:

We ran the activity with some classes this week and it turned out to be quite interesting. The activity is based on the lengths of the kids' names and the usage of letters of the alphabet. Comparing boys and girls' names in particular.

I used the activity at Year 7 to introduce the idea of mean and median (along with Estimating Averages, of course) and that went well.

But just today, I had a lesson about discrete random distributions with Year 12 Methods (same class as Same or Different) and I was on my way to class trying to figure what could I do to make this lesson keep me awake. I suddenly realised (smacking myself in the forehead) that we'd been doing discrete random distributions in Year 7 all week with their name lengths. So I threw my other lesson in the bin and pulled up slides of my Year 7's distributions and away we went in Year 12 - calculating expected values, standard deviations, comparing boys and girls - and it was quite amazing really.
I started wondering how cool it would be to compare distributions of names of kids from different countries (even different suburbs of Melbourne!). Just comparing boys and girls in one class there was a big difference in standard deviation even though the mean was close.
Here is a lesson that can have relevance and meaning for groups from Year 7 to Year 12.

Damian Howison
MacKillop College, Swan Hill

(Estimating Averages Lesson 145, Maths300)

  • Tasks of the Month
    Two new cameos this month.
    • Reflections is one of a number of tasks that help students experience the properties of reflection. The rubber bands allow the experience to be flexible and encourage What happens if..? questions.
    • Networks is attractive in the first instance because it is a game. It helps to develop spatial perception and logic reasoning. Beyond that it opens up explorations with tiling patterns and tessellations and introduces students to elements of design.
    Reflections      Networks
    Click a photo to access its cameo, or access all current cameos through the Link List below.

  • Did you miss the August News?
    If so you missed information about:
    1. Reports from Maths on the Move professional development sessions
    2. Additions to Task Cameos for Tasks 30, 31 & 32
    3. Addition of the Buddy System to the Models & Structures listed in the Integrating Tasks link
    4. Iceberg Information about two Tasks of the Month (Tasks 93, 94)
    5. ...and more...

Keep smiling,

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