A Maths Challenge Day proved the perfect escape for gifted students from five Sydney Catholic Schools to sample higher levels of their favourite subject.
All Saints Catholic Senior College Casula hosted the ‘Escape Room’ themed event, with nine challenges that tested and developed the mathematical knowledge, teamwork and problem-solving skills of students in years 5 to 11.
The students from St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Holsworthy, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Moorebank, and All Saints’ Catholic Primary School and College in Liverpool, joined their hosts at mixed-grade tables to complete the challenges.
The challenge day is exciting. It deepens your understanding of Maths in a different context.
All Saint’s primary transition coordinator, Renee Anderson, said many of the Year 5 and 6 students who attended the challenge day were also part of extension classes run by All Saints Catholic College which allow students to learn beyond their grade level in STEM, Writing, Music, Visual Arts and Maths.
“Students sometimes have a mindset that if they are given concrete materials for a task it means they have difficulty answering on their own,” she said.
“The challenge day is good for collaboration and exposure [to different concepts], particularly to show them that students in Year 11 also do challenges that involve hands-on thinking and using materials,” she said. “They help them to show their thinking and give them evidence to reflect on.
Students in Year 11 also do challenges that involve hands-on thinking.
“It’s all about the working out and being able to review what you have done because everyone thinks so differently, and that’s what we need to embrace.
“There’s a right answer, but there are so many different processes to get to that answer, which is why it’s so important that today they are collaborating and coming back to agree on an answer. It exposes everyone to different ways of thinking.”
Students shared their thoughts on the Maths Challenge Day with About:
Esther Borges, Year 5, All Saints Catholic Primary School Liverpool:
“We have done algebra, which is my favourite subject, fractions, and decimals – work that challenges us. In my primary school class, we don’t really go into the same depth.
My favourite challenge was our second activity. There were six tasks and one of them was about finding missing angles. I really liked angles because I understand them, but there was also challenging parts where we had to see what was less than, or more than supplementary and complementary angles.”
Michelle Ta, Year 5, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Moorebank:
“It was fun because you get to learn lots of new things, even though the questions were a bit hard. One challenge was a time machine separated into six parts. You had to find the angles and crack the code to find a key message.”
Rushil Koratala, Year 5, St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Holsworthy:
“The challenge day is actually really exciting. It deepens your understanding of Maths in a different context. You can apply Maths to everyday life to solve problems. That’s what I really find interesting – how it can be applied to everything that you do, and everything you see.
Building the cube with different colours on each face was my favourite challenge because it was a bit more hands-on. You were given cubes of five different colours, and no face could have the same colour twice.”
Cameron Webster, Year 5, St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Holsworthy:
“It’s a really enjoyable, hands-on experience. You get to do a lot of projects, make new friends and co-operate with other people. I would definitely come again next year.
I really liked doing the range of tasks they gave us, like the circle task where we had to fill in different answers. Some would involve finding angles and some would involve looking back at the text and comprehension.”