Introducing a Task Centre

Joe Marsiglio & Team
St. Francis Xavier College
Beaconsfield & Berwick, Victoria
Berwick Campus

Kristina Wallin & Jan Ekelöf, Karlstad University, Sweden, visit the task centre at St. Francis Xavier College, Berwick, where Joe Marsiglio, team leader introduces them to the objectives of this Working Mathematically component of the curriculum.

Green Line

Joe has the support of the hands-on learning (craft) centre at the school. For example they made this compartmentalised box that holds various bits and pieces...

...including this little bottle of (not-so-) secret recipe card cleaner.

Every week Joe checks the tasks and cleans and replaces as necessary from this bits and pieces cupboard.

He is about to organise a student team to keep this work going.

Students and teachers from the hands-on learning centre also made this rack designed to hang 100 tasks by bulldog clipping the bag in which they are despatched.

St. Francis Xavier also works with its feeder schools to encourage using tasks in the curriculum. Wherever it is possible to fit into the secondary timetable, primary teachers bring their classes, or particular groups, to learn in the centre.

Joe has also prepared a suitcase of additional tasks that teachers can borrow to use with their primary students.

The posters around the room reflect the daily routine for using tasks and the process of learning to work like a mathematician.

These have come from the Task Centre web site...

...and this one is based on ideas from the site. See the Working Mathematically link.

This group had to go outside to work on Task 126, Planets, because they needed to use a 6m scale representation of the solar system.

Equally spacing the planets is a common first response. Reading the card through more thoroughly leads to a far more surprising distribution.

Student journals are housed in the Task Centre. One class to a box indicates just how many classes and staff make use of the centre.

Each journal begins with a record of tasks tackled and a reminder of the procedures to follow when working on them.

The students keep records of their solutions and thoughts.

The teachers have their own dossier of information about the tasks which is printed from the Task Cameos.

Each month the new task cameos are checked to see if they match tasks in the school's collection. If so, they are printed and added to the dossier.

Teachers then have a ready reference to questions and approaches that encourage students to dig beyond the task card and into the task iceberg.

They also have ideas for using tasks as the source of whole class investigations in other mathematics periods, a practice which is just beginning to evolve at St. Francis Xavier.

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