Mathematicians in Schools

Information for teachers

The Mathematicians in Schools program allows you and your students to work with a mathematician in a flexible, professional partnership.

The mathematician can act as mentor, role model or inspiration for your students, providing you and them with access to new ideas and fresh perspectives in contemporary maths. In turn, you and your students will help mathematicians see their work from a new angle and stay engaged with the public perception of their work.

The program is open to schools anywhere in Australia, and to all levels of schooling. The 'mathematicians' involved will come from a wide range of disciplines and will include financiers, pure and applied mathematicians, research scientists and engineers.

What's involved?

Your involvement with the mathematician can be tailored to suit your availability, interests and classroom situation, and will also depend on the mathematician's availability.

For example, you could:

  • ask the mathematician to give a presentation about their career or area of work
  • work with the mathematician to develop a project or unit of work related to their field
  • email students' maths questions to the mathematician
  • collaborate with the mathematician to run maths activities for your students
  • undertake professional development with the mathematician.

You can read about successful partnerships in our showcases.

The most beneficial partnerships (for all involved) are those that are longer-term rather than one-off.

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What’s in it for me and my students?

Students can benefit by:

  • having access to a maths role model for career inspiration
  • learning more about the role of maths in society
  • understanding the links between maths and other curriculum areas
  • exploring the maths being used in their community
  • discovering the ‘real’ maths behind their curriculum.

Teachers have the opportunity to learn about different areas of contemporary maths, and to create links with mathematicians and their organisations for teaching and learning inspiration.

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Police checks and security

Mathematicians who undertake any type of interaction with students are required by State and Federal governments to undergo security screening.

The Mathematicians in Schools team will work with your school and your mathematician partner to ensure that all security requirements are met before you commence your partnership.

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Support for your partnership

The Mathematicians in Schools team provides support materials to all teachers who are partnered with a mathematician through the program. This support material includes:

  • information and tips about working with mathematicians and their business or organisation
  • ideas for establishing and maintaining a partnership with a mathematician
  • teaching and learning materials that can be used with students.

Resources and ideas are also available on the website.

We will maintain contact with you throughout the life of the Mathematicians in Schools program or for the duration of your partnership, to provide any advice and assistance required.

We will periodically offer free professional development workshops for participants, in which you will share ideas with other participants and learn new skills in making the most of your partnership with a mathematician. Invitations will be sent by email to local participants.

Partnered mathematicians and teachers are also invited to join the Scientists in Schools email list, which allows them to contact participants across the country to ask questions, share ideas and discuss topics relating to their partnerships.

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The registration process

You can register for Mathematicians in Schools online. On the registration form we will ask you for your contact information, as well as:

  • your preferences about the style of partnership you undertake
  • the year levels you’d like to have involved
  • your principal’s contact details.

All teachers who participate are required to have the support of their principal.

If you like, you can nominate a type of mathematician that you would like to work with. You can request a specific mathematician who you might know or nominate a field of research that would suit you and your school.

Once you have registered, we will match you with a mathematician according to your stated partnership preferences. If there is no mathematician already registered who matches your preferences, we will endeavour to recruit a suitable mathematician for your partnership.

We will then send you the mathematician’s contact details and your support materials; at the same time we will send your contact details to the mathematician. You can initiate the partnership at any time after this. We will contact you to ensure that you have received all the material and to check that you and the mathematician have made contact. You and the mathematician can then develop the partnership in a way that suits you both.

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Frequently asked questions

How is Mathematicians in Schools connected to Scientists in Schools?
Mathematicians in Schools is a sub-program of Scientists in Schools. Some aspects are common between the two programs, and some material has been developed specifically for Mathematicians in Schools. Find out more about Scientists in Schools.

I'm already in a Scientists in Schools partnership. Can I also join Mathematicians in Schools?
Yes, please do. You can register online, or contact us to discuss your situation.

How much time will the partnership take?
That’s entirely up to you and your partner. You can choose to spend a few hours per term together, or have a visit from your partner every week. You and your partner can choose a style of partnership to suit your circumstances.

What sort of activities can I do in the partnership?
Let your imagination guide you! You and your partner can decide on activities that interest you and the students. For inspiration you can read about what others have done and use the resources page.

What if our circumstances change after we partner with a mathematician?
At any time you can negotiate with your partner to change the style of partnership to fit with your new circumstances. If you are no longer able to participate, you can ask us to close your partnership and we will endeavour to find another teacher to work with the mathematician. Please contact us at any time to discuss changes to your partnership.

I’m in a remote or regional school with no suitable mathematicians nearby. Can I participate?
Absolutely. If we can’t find a local mathematician, we will consider other options such as email or teleconference partnerships, or finding a mathematician willing to travel to your school.

I’m already working with a mathematician – should I register anyway?
Yes, please do. We are keen to find out about successful partnerships that have been developed through other programs or directly between schools and mathematicians. There’s room on the form to describe your existing partnership(s). If you don't want another partnership, please tell us; in this case we will simply record your existing partnership in our database and provide you with access to all the Mathematicians in Schools support and resources.

What about money?
There is no charge to register for Mathematicians in Schools or to be partnered with a mathematician. Please note that we’re unable to pay for teacher release time or any costs incurred through the partnership.

Will my details remain private?
Please read the legal notice for details of our privacy policy.

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