Behind-the-scenes-v2

When it comes to teamwork there aren’t many classes that come close to Daniel Clark’s Year 6 student group at Templestowe Park Primary School.

Last week a member of the Mathletics team noticed Mr Clark’s class had accrued a phenomenal points tally on the Mathletics Hall of Fame. When we checked on Friday afternoon the class’ average points sat at almost 25,000 – more than 20,000 points clear of the next closest Australian class (see image below).

Templestowe-Park-Primary-School-Scores

We contacted Mr Clark to see just how his students managed to work together to achieve such a remarkable points result:

This week has been Victorian Education Week and the theme of the week was ‘crack the code with maths’. As a school, we saw this a great opportunity to not only encourage the students to work on improving their maths skill, but to also improve their attitude towards maths in general. Basically, we want our students to be excited about facing the challenges presented in maths. We went about achieving this goal by implementing a number of initiatives throughout the school, one of which was encouraging the students to utilise their Mathletics subscription at home to help consolidate the learning that was taking place at school.

About my class; they are very sporty and love any new challenge or form of competition, therefore I saw the Mathletics leader boards as the ideal way to motivate my students to get on Mathletics and practise their skills. At the beginning of the week I set the class the challenge of reaching the top 10 classes in the world by Friday afternoon. I explained to them that the class score is the average score of all the students in the class, so if we wanted to be successful, we had to view our class as being a team and like any great team, if we wanted to be one of the best, we all had to contribute and put in the effort. As you can imagine, they well and truly exceeded my expectations.

Whilst the students were given some time to use Mathletics during class, it was very limited because we had such a busy week, so the majority of the work was done at home. The students spent hours on it, determined to not just to be in the top 5, but the number one class in the world. Throughout the week they were setting personal goals for themselves, saying how many points they would score or how many activities they would complete each night. When they weren’t busy doing other work, all they wanted to talk about was Mathletics. As a teacher, I was not only overcome with pride for my class, but also a real sense of excitement over how much enthusiasm the students were showing towards completing maths tasks.

It didn’t take long before the students had completed the majority of activities in the Australian grade 6 curriculum, so instead of moving them up to the year 7 curriculum or back down to grade 5, I thought it would be interesting for them to see what the grade 6 curriculum for was like for other countries around the world. I started them with the US curriculum which they found interesting and once they finished that I started moving them around to other, more unusual countries. Throughout the week, the students saw the Mexican, Guatemalan, Scottish, Nigerian and Pakistani curriculum. Whilst they all had their similarities, the students noticed how some areas were given more emphasis in different countries. They also noticed varying degrees of difficulty amongst the countries and took great pride in the fact that the Australian curriculum was, as they believed, to be more difficult than other countries. I was also getting emails from parents and students throughout the night, asking to be put on a different curriculum because after spending hours of time using it, they were running out of activities. As a teacher, I was more than happy to log on and switch them over in order to encourage their continuous use.

It has been a great talking point all week and a fantastic motivational tool. Some of the students spent up to 20 hours on Mathletics this week, which is time equivalent of 4 weeks worth of maths classes. But more importantly, the students were willing to do it and all of the talk about maths this week, throughout the entire school has been extremely positive.

That’s been our story this week. Thankyou for the program and all of the consideration you have clearly put into it.