Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your current role.
A: I’m a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where I’ve been for 25 years. I teach first year mathematics, mainly to science and engineering students and I run the Mathematics Study Support Centre (MSSC) at UTS. Before that I taught maths to high school students at Narrabeen High School and Ascham School, both in NSW.
Q: It sounds like MSSC provides therapy for mathematicians?
A: [Laughs] Good one! Many universities have a centre like this. It’s a collection of people – not all of who are academic mathematicians – that provide help to students transitioning from high school to university. We’ve found over the last few years, that students are arriving at university to study engineering or science courses and they haven’t done a lot of maths at high school. So we run things like bridging courses and a drop-in centre where students can talk to a tutor one-on-one and get help.
Q: Why did you become involved in the ‘Maths Inside’ project?
A: It was because of my work with the centre and my interest in high school teaching of mathematics that I got together with Dr Anne Prescott, who’s an Associate Professor in Education here at UTS, to explore how we could help students with their maths studies.
Q: Could you explain what the Maths Inside project is and how it operates?
A: The project is funded by the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program, and aims to enhance the teaching of high school maths by making students and teachers aware of the role maths plays in many careers. The project will provide resources and materials for Years 8–12 to make the link between the maths they study in school and the maths used in real world problem solving. We’re also trying to help teachers answer the perennial question put to them by maths students: ‘When am I going to need this?’
The UTS ‘Maths Inside’ project is developing video and class resources to help teachers bring maths to life for high school students. Topics include the Zebedee hand held virtual imaging and mapping device and the Square Kilometre Array.
Schools interested in collaborating and delivering this material in classes should contact Dr Marco Angelini:
(02) 9514 3858