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Maths Craft in Class

  • University of Canterbury Christchurch New Zealand (map)

In response to requests from school teachers around New Zealand, in October this year, Maths Craft New Zealand ran a free professional development workshop for school teachers, dedicated to bringing Maths Craft to maths class. The workshop was run in collaboration with the School of Teacher Education (University of Canterbury) and the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities. Thirteen enthusiastic maths teachers joined us for a two-day workshop during the October school holidays, including one teacher who flew in specially from Melbourne, Australia!

The aim of the workshop was to help teachers improve their mathematical thinking and self-efficacy in mathematics, and to give them concrete techniques for engaging their students with mathematics in the classroom. We focused on ways to decrease student fear of mathematics and increase mathematical confidence, with the ultimate aim of instilling a higher appreciation of its importance as a subject to continue studying.

Over the two days participants learned four Maths Craft activities under the guidance of mathematicians Drs Jeanette McLeod and Phil Wilson, and created draft lesson plans based on each of the activities under the supervision of mathematics education lecturer Dr David Pomeroy. We made and manipulated Möbius strips, built fractal sculptures, folded origami octahedrons, and went on a field trip to the Teece Museum to explore the mathematics of meanders and repeating patterns in Greek and Roman art.

Participants left the workshop with a portfolio of Maths Craft lesson plans with ties to the New Zealand curriculum, detailed instructional handouts on each of the four activities, and a swag of craft material to use in their own classrooms. Best of all, they left buzzing with enthusiasm and full of ideas for their own Maths Craft lessons!


The feedback from the workshop was overwhelmingly positive! Some quotes from our participants:

I wanted to reiterate how useful, educational and relevant I found the Maths Craft workshops. Thank you all for your passion and dedication!

I like the theoretical foundation + scaffolding, then leaping into the unknown. Loved the field trip!

Thank you to both [Jeanette] and Phil (and team) for such a rich mathematical two days. The enormous amount of effort to develop, write and deliver maths with such a generous spirit is very impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed learning.

Best PD in years!

After the workshop, we held a feedback session on the afternoon of Saturday November 10 to catch up with all of our workshop participants and hear about their experiences of implementing Maths Craft activities in the classroom. We were pleased to hear that all of them have used Maths Craft in their classrooms and that their students are really engaging with the activities and with the mathematics.

We were especially excited to learn that some of our participants have undertaken quite ambitious projects. For instance, Warwick Werder and Juliet Buenaventura from Hornby High School had almost 40 students ranging from Years 7-10 opt to do Maths Craft as their passion project. Those students spent seven hours a week for five weeks working with Juliet and Warwick on developing and extending Maths Craft projects. You can see the results of their fantastic projects on the website they created. As if this isn’t impressive enough, they aim to run their own mini Maths Craft Day in 2019 where the High School students will demonstrate Maths Craft to Hornby Primary School students.

We were also pleased to hear that teachers are already training other teachers in how to use Maths Craft in class. Workshop participant Melody McCombe from Christchurch South Intermediate School has created and run her own Maths Craft PD workshop for teachers based on our workshop.

The workshop was so mutually beneficial (and inspiring!) that we (the teachers and the Maths Craft Team) have decided to stay in touch and meet up periodically throughout 2019. We’ll keep you posted!

Earlier Event: July 1
Christchurch Maths Craft Day
Later Event: April 11
IDEAS Festival