Over the years I have surreptitiously found that my colleagues, with a single exception, have attributed their mathematical or statistical interest to at least one inspirational school teacher. Yet we lose touch with that early experience, except perhaps through our children’s schooling which may not always be mathematical or happy.
The annual Choose Maths Awards gala recaptures this experience for me and it continues to be my favourite day of the year. It has a lot going for it at a strategic level – with governments, schools, universities and not least the media, but the big plus for me is the fantastic vibe.
It really is a day for students and teachers with ten awards for teachers for their innovative work and ten for students for their videos on the theme of “Our World Needs Maths”. The awards have a total value of $60k, funded as part of the BHP Billiton Foundation’s $22m support for this AMSI program. As a gala event, the prize giving to surprised and often tearful recipients certainly raises the excitement level. Having been to the award galas of some other disciplines, I wonder why the mathematical sciences hasn’t embraced the concept more comprehensively.
Here are some excerpts from our media release and, by the way, this story received 39 media mentions with an estimated reach of over 10 million around Australia!
“A passion for technology and girl power has seen NSW teacher Corrine Vingerhoed, named the nation’s top maths teacher at today’s Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Choose Maths Awards in Melbourne.
The Hunter School of The Performing Arts teacher received the 2018 Mentoring Girls in Maths award for her inspirational approach to fostering mathematics learning and engagement of girls. The prize, including $20,000 to be shared with her school, recognises her leadership of a program that has used technology, robots, industry mentors and extra support over a hot milo to empower girls across the school.
With 70 per cent of the school’s students female, Vingerhoed’s innovative approach is fuelled by the limitations of her own high-school experience and lack of female maths role models. Wanting more for her students, she is rewriting how maths is taught to unleash their maths and STEM superpowers with extraordinary results.”
“Three best video prizes were presented at today’s ceremony in Melbourne, with St Matthew’s Catholic School (NSW) receiving top junior honours, Ferny Grove State High School (QLD) taking intermediate team and Geelong Grammar School (VIC) best senior team. As well as a grant to help with travel to Melbourne to attend the ceremony, the teams also received $2000.
An additional seven school teams were presented with $1000 Excellence Awards with a further 20 Highly Commended Awards to be presented at school assemblies.
BHP Billiton Foundation Chief Executive, James Ensor, said the awards exemplified the Foundation’s commitment to providing opportunities for students to build these skills.
“The BHP Billiton Foundation congratulates the 2018 teacher and student winners for their outstanding achievements. The calibre of this year’s entries bodes well for Australia’s mathematical capability into the future,” he said.”
You can see all the awardees and watch the fantastic student videos at https://choosemathsawards.org.au/2018-award-winners/
October 17, 2018