The School of Mathematics and Statistics is keen to develop links with teachers, to improve the quality of both secondary and tertiary mathematics education and ease students' transition between them.
The School operates a Visiting Teaching Fellow program,which allows teachers to spend a semester or a year in the School in a lecturer/tutor capacity. For information, contact the Director of First Year.
The School of Mathematics and Statistics endows maths prizes for local high schools. For information, please contact the Head of School.
Undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni of the School of Mathematics and Statistics are available to visit high schools to speak at careers fairs and similar events. For information on this, contact James Franklin.
The School appreciates the difficulties school students and teachers face. It is of course a trying time for students doing the HSC, and it is also difficult for teachers who are trying to prepare the students for the HSC - and not just prepare them to do well for the HSC, but also to adequately prepare students for their further tertiary studies. Mathematics, in particular, is somewhat special. Mathematics is an important subject that lies at the basis of many other subjects in Science, such as Engineering and Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and others. Mathematics is also one of the only fields where the knowledge is cumulative and somewhat hierarchical, so it is important to adequately prepare students.
Good mathematics skills and knowledge are essential for ensuring success in these other fields. How, then, can teachers help their students maximise their mathematics skills and knowledge?
First of all, it is important for students to know that they should take maths. Guidance for students who want to end up studying some of the Science subjects mentioned above should stress the importance of mathematics. Only through taking mathematics can an understanding of mathematics be fostered.
Even though first year University-level mathematics courses do not have any formal high school prerequisites, students may struggle without at least 3 units of HSC-level mathematics. Many of the first year subjects assume knowledge of this level of mathematics. For students who did not take this level of mathematics in high school, the School of Mathematics and Statistics offers bridging courses through January and February.
However, for especially talented students who have an interest in mathematics, a talented students program is available. Run by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, the Talented Students program is geared to a faster pace, and has an emphasis on harder problems. A guideline for entrance into this program is approximately 180 for 4 unit mathematics in the HSC level, or a high 80 mark in MATH1141. Entrance details are given in the first lecture.
There are other avenues to encourage students in Mathematics, such as the University of New South Wales Schools Mathematics Competition with the chance to win prizes and certificates of recognition for work in solving a set of problems designed to test mathematical ingenuity. If you need more information, Bruce Henry of the School of Mathematics and Statistics will be glad to answer any queries you may have.
Teachers can also encourage students by distributing our information on careers in mathematics. Some role models can be found among our alumni.
For information on the School and its programs, email: ug.MathsStats@unsw.edu.au
Some mathematical links
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) coordinated the TIMES project, targeting school mathematics education. Teacher content modules are available as well as a career pack based on the Maths: Make your Career Count campaign.
The Australian Mathematical Society jobs site has current job listings, while their career profiles page has interesting profiles of several mathematics graduates and their careers.
NOVA - Science in the News is an online magazine published by the Australian Academy of Science. Their mathematics page contains various articles about how mathematics is used in science.
This American Mathematical Society page has lots of links including various problem pages. One is to The Art of Problem Solving site.
The International Centre of Excellence for Education in Mathematics (ICE-EM) Mathematics Australian Curriculum series is now available from Cambridge University Press. Several members of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW were involved in the development of these textbooks, which span years 5 to 10.