Numeracy might scare some but it will soon be getting its fair fraction of the pie at the Discovery Centre Bendigo.
The centre is working to build four new exhibits to help its visitors understand mathematical concepts.
Science communicator Alissa Van Soest said the centre aimed create exhibits to give children an understanding of important mathematical concepts.
It’s part of a fight to break down the preconception among many that mathematics is hard and scary.
Former mathematics teacher Ian McArthur spent three years travelling around northern and central Victoria helping primary teachers learn to teach numeracy better.
What he saw was “worrying”.
Mr McArthur regularly encountered primary teachers who were not confident in mathematics.
He attributed it to systematic failure of teacher training to equip education students with the necessary knowledge to teach numeracy well.
This meant students were left with a fragile or incomplete grasp of concepts.
Teachers were doing an “amazing” job, but many were limited by what they knew.
“A lot of them are very unsure of their mathematics,” Mr McArthur said.
“They’re teaching blind. They come from a poor base, they’re teaching stuff that they don’t fully understand.”
The 2017 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy National Report showed by Year 9, 95.8 percent of Australian students were at or above the national minimum standard.
In inner regional Victoria, taking in central Victoria, 94.6 percent matched the NMS by Year 9.
Ms Van Soest said the new activities were developed to balance “wow” factor with relevance, to help kids and teachers reach curriculum goals.
“Maths is often considered intimidating. A lot of people say I’m no good at maths, I’m scared of maths, but they don’t realise they’re using it all the time,” Ms Van Soest said.
“We want to demonstrate how much fun maths is...and how essential it is.”
Discovery after dark
Discovery Centre, Gate 2 (opposite the train station), 7pm, January 19. Cost: $25, bookings essential.
Take an intimate after-dark walk through the Discovery Centre – Bendigo’s Railway Goods Shed – with local tour guide Shane Steve and then take in a presentation in the planetarium The tour – which takes about 1.5 hours – is strictly for ages 18 and over, and a complimentary glass of local wine is provided with your ticket.
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