UNSW Mathematics Teachers Professional Development Day

The information below refers to the PD Day held on 10 November 2016. Please return to this page for information on our 2017 workshop.

The School of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW is pleased to offer a professional development day on Thursday 10th November for high school mathematics teachers covering a selection of new topics in the current draft of the proposed HSC syllabi for HSC Mathematics and HSC Mathematics Extensions 1 and 2.

The day will begin with an overview of the proposed changes with an emphasis on the practicalities of teaching the new syllabus. The day will include three 90 minute workshops on topics selected
from the following list:

  1. Learning statistics by doing a study
  2. Simulations of random variables including the Binomial Distribution
  3. Vectors and geometry
  4. An introduction to matrices with applications
  5. Differential equations and modelling 
  6. Networks
  7. Proof

The actual topics offered will depend on demand. You can indicate you preferred topics on the booking form (see below). Registration on the day will begin at 8:30am with the main program running from 9am to 3:30pm. This event will cost $50 to cover lunch and morning and afternoon tea which will be provided. BOSTES accreditation is planned for this event.  The day covers the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers 2.2.2, 2.3.2, 2.6.2, 3.4.2 and 6.2.2.

Following the workshops, teachers are invited to a presentation by this year’s UNSW Mathematics and Statistics Visiting Teaching Fellow, Paul Hancock, on his reflections of a year spent teaching Maths and Stats to first year students at UNSW.

For further information, contact Dr Jonathan Kress (j.kress@unsw.edu.au).

Signing up for the day

Registrations for this event are now closed.  If you are interested in future similar events, please email Dr Jonathan Kress (j.kress@unsw.edu.au).

Information for the day

Below you will find the schedule for the day, a map showing the location of the registration desk where you will sign-in and some links for transport information.


  Red-Centre Foyer Rex-Vowels Theatre Red-Centre 4082 Red-Centre M032
8:30am -- 9:00am Registration      
9:00am -- 9:30am   Welcome and overview    
9:30am -- 11:00am   Vectors Differential equations Stats: Simulations
11:00am -- 11:30am Morning Tea      
11:30am -- 1:00pm   Matrices Stats: Doing a study Networks
1:00pm -- 2:00pm Lunch      
2:00pm -- 3:30pm   Proof Stats: Doing a study Stats: Simulations
3:30pm -- 4:00pm Afternoon Tea      
End of Professional Development Day --- Teachers are invited to stay for the Visiting Teaching Fellow's talk.
4:00pm -- 5:00pm   Visiting Teach Fellow's talk    

Location of Registration desk

Registration will be in the School of Mathematics and Statistics Foyer in the Central Wing of the Red-Centre, UNSW Kensington Campus which can be found on the University Mall just below the large steps heading up to the Scientia Building.  You will find the foyer at the end of the Red-Centre that looks like the image below.

The location is also indicated on the Google map below.  Alternative see H15 on the UNSW Campus map.

Public Transport

Many buses service UNSW but please be aware that the main UNSW Express services from Eddy Ave will be operating on a special Exams schedule and route so may take a little longer.  For Public Transport information, please see the UNSW Public Transport Page.


Parking is restricted on campus and in many nearby streets.  If you plan to find a park on a nearby street you should arrive early and expect a long walk.  Paid parking can be found close to the Red-Centre on the top floor of the Barker St carpark accessed via Gate 14 on Barker St.  A pay and display parking permit obtained from a parking permit machine must be displayed and costs $6 for the first 2 hours and $3 per hour thereafter.

Moodle page and facebook group

Workshop descriptions

Learning statistics by doing a study

An effective way to teach statistics is to contextualise it in a research study - start with a research question, work out how to collect data, actually collect it, analyse it, and interpret it.  Some examples and the impact they have had will be presented before participants do some research of their own!

Simulations of random variables

This workshop will involve hands on experiments and technology to explore the concept of randomness and to help develop an understanding of and familiarity with binomial and other random variables.  Participants will be introduced to RStudio, a free and open source software package that can be used in the classroom.  They will learn about its capabilities through a series of practical exercises including simulations of random processes with particular emphasis on the statistics topics that are new in the current draft of the stage 6 HSC syllabuses.

Vectors and geometry

This workshop will introduce vectors and the operations of addition and scalar multiplication both in abstract geometric terms and as coordinate vectors in both two and three dimensions.  The scalar product will be defined and its relationship to the angle between two vectors will be explored.  Participants will learn how to give a vector description of a straight line and use this to find the point of intersection, when it exists, and angle between two lines.  Some simple orthogonality proofs using abstract vectors will also be covered.

An introduction to matrices with applications

This workshop will introduce matrices and matrix multiplication as a way of encoding linear simultaneous equations and linear discrete evolution processes, eg Markov models, Leslie models, Leontief models.  Solving 2x2 linear systems using a matrix inverse will presented along with the use of the determinant to detect when the solution is not unique.  Finding successive states in the linear evolution processes by matrix multiplication will be explored.

Differential equations and modelling

Applications of separable differential equations in areas such as chemistry and population models will be presented.  Gradient fields will be introduced as a way of understanding the solutions of these models with different initial conditions and their long time behaviour.


The rise of online social networks has put networks and graph theory in a bright spotlight, not only for the general public but also for researchers across a wide range of research fields, from biology to psychology to computer science and beyond. This workshop will present a useful glimpse into graph theory, first providing the basic definitions and properties of networks, paths, cycles, and trees, and then presenting and practicing algorithms for finding shortest paths (as in Google Maps, for instance) and minimal spanning trees more generally.


This workshop will introduce “The Nature of Proof” topic from the draft extension 2 syllabus.  This is designed to provide students with a solid basis on which to build their understanding of what constitutes a proof in mathematics.  Precise notation will be established for implications and the quantifiers “for all” and “there exists”.  Then various forms of proof will be introduced by example, including direct proof, induction, proof by cases, proof by contradiction and the contrapositive.  The use of counterexamples will be emphasised for disproving a statement.