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Study finds cash and coins help engage primary maths students

Phys.Org – Nancy Szokan

“Primary school students are more likely to understand and engage with maths if classes use real money and real-life projects, according to a Western Sydney University pilot study. The findings come as Australian students lag behind other countries in maths, with Year 4 students dropping from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 maths in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science study. The project leader, Associate Professor Catherine Attard from the School of Education, says the pilot study aimed to tackle one of the most common complaints about maths classes- that they lack relevance outside school. “Students expect to be taught information that is meaningful and makes sense to them,” says Dr Attard. “This can present a problem when teaching mathematics, because some content and approaches in school are often radically different to everyday maths students use in real life.” “To remedy this, we worked with teachers to provide new and purposeful learning activities and projects based on financial topics such as value for money, profit and loss, loans and credit cards.” Funded by Financial Literacy Australia, the study investigated whether children would be more involved with mathematics if lessons focussed on financial literacy through hands-on activities dealing with real money.”(more)

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