Abstract:
Mathscraft is a workshop for junior high school students that aims to give them the experience of doing maths the way research mathematicians do. It is coordinated and sponsored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS), and sessions are conducted by Anthony Harradine, (Prince Alfred College, Adelaide).
In a Mathscraft session there are up to 10 groups, each comprising three students (years 7-10), one teacher and one mathematician. The teams are given mathematical problems and are guided through a problem-solving process. The problems and the process are designed to mimic the mathematics that is done by research mathematicians - exploring, noticing patterns, making conjectures, proving them, figuring out why, and thinking of ways to extend the problem.
In this talk I'll describe the design of the problems and process (with examples), and explain the motivations behind them. I'll also talk about a Professional Development workshop that we ran for teachers in November last year, which had the aim of training them to run Mathscraft sessions in their own local areas. This workshop was sponsored by ACEMS and MATRIX.