New thinking about mathematics

31 May 2017

Level Up is an online mathematics challenge for Year 9 and 10 students, designed to develop their problem solving, creative thinking and communication skills.

Every week, College mathematics tutor Andrew Macarthur devises a mathematics problem that needs a creative solution and posts it online for the boys to discuss and submit their response. “Level Up questions are about finding creative strategies to solve unfamiliar problems that boys won’t necessarily have been shown how to approach before,” says Andrew. “It is for those boys who are doing well in mathematics, who like a challenge, and want to extend their skills.”

Level Up is a new initiative, formulated by HoD Mathematics Lars Thomsen and Andrew, to encourage self-directed learning and get boys thinking about mathematics in a way that goes beyond their classroom work. It is open to all junior students, but will particularly benefit mathematically able students in mixed ability classes, and is designed to develop students’ communication and higher-level thinking skills needed to achieve the highest grades in NCEA.

Boys who take part in Level Up can only see other people’s comments when they have made a comment themselves. Results are published on a leader board and students earn points based on their contribution to the discussion and solution to the problem. There is plenty of interest in seeing who has made it to the top of the leader board each week.

“Mathematics is as much about problem solving, creative thinking and communication, as it is about technique,” says Andrew. “Level Up gives students the opportunity to develop these skills in a practical and fun way.”

Lars and Andrew hope parents will encourage their sons to participate, as Level Up adds value to College mathematics and builds skills for future success.

Maths LevelUp 1Maths LevelUp 2