Year 9 and 10 students from a Melbourne girls’ secondary school had the opportunity to discover how to use maths to solve real world problems through the RMIT University’s project, Making Something out of Maths.
The project introduced the students to advanced design technology at the Advanced Manufacturing precinct at RMIT University in Melbourne. Over 10 weeks, they participated in a series of workshops where they were challenged to solve a real world problem, such as designing an artificial limb or a mobile phone. The emphasis was on enjoyment, problem-solving, introduction to advanced manufacturing technology, and shared solutions. Under the guidance of tertiary staff and university students, the secondary students learnt how to use computer aided design (CAD) to prepare their models.
They created a CAD prototype and worked on their designs from the ideas stage through to considering manufacturing, production and usage.
Feedback suggested that problem-based hands on learning design, using high tech equipment, successfully engages students and improves skills. Importantly, the project engaged female secondary school students in the middle school years, where it is most likely to positively influence their perceptions of engineering and mathematics as options for further study.
RMIT University’s Making Something out of Maths is one of 22 university-led projects supported under the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program (AMSPP).
More information on AMSPP is available.