Maths Talent Quest
What is the Maths Talent Quest?
First held in 1982, the Maths Talent Quest (MTQ) is an annual activity organised by the Student Activities Committee of The Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV). Open to all primary and secondary students of Victoria, the Maths Talent Quest aims to promote interest in mathematics and foster positive attitudes amongst students, teachers and parents.
The focus of the Maths Talent Quest is on the process of mathematical investigations.
Looking at real life situations and finding that mathematics is everywhere helps capture the imagination of both teachers and students alike. The Maths Talent Quest allows students to investigate mathematics on an individual, group or class basis with the opportunity to have fun exploring mathematics in real life situations.
Why participate in the Maths Talent Quest?
The Maths Talent Quest:
- Promotes an interest in and increases the awareness of mathematics.
- Facilitates the integration of learning outcomes across the mathematics strands and across other curriculum areas within relevant contexts.
- Develops student research and communication skills.
- Encourages students to verify and justify the results of an investigation.
- Equips students with problem solving strategies.
- Provides students with the opportunity to discover the practical applications of mathematics.
- Supports independent and collaborative learning.
- Creates avenues for extension for the more able students.
- Allows all students to achieve some measure of success.
- Caters for mixed ability teaching and a variety of learning styles and preferences.
Projects and investigations address all three Australian Curriculum content strands:
- Number and Algebra
- Measurement and Geometry
- Statistics and Probability
As well as ensures students work with the four Australian Curriculum proficiency strands:
- Problem Solving
Students are typically required to research, design, explore, create, question, articulate, communicate, think, solve problems, collaborate and communicate whilst completing their MTQ projects. Digital technology is frequently used as a tool during MTQ for both mathematics and communication. Real-world applications, historical research and working models completed either individually, in groups or as a class are all part of the MTQ process.
Projects and investigations cater for student diversity. They not only provide gifted and talented students with the opportunity to show their ability and to follow interests; they also allow students from diverse backgrounds (particularly those from different cultures and rural centres) to demonstrate how mathematics relates to their lives.
The Maths Talent Quest engages students in mathematics project work and investigations, as well as providing them with an opportunity to use ICT and communicate to their peers, and a state-wide and national audience. In addition, participating in the MTQ rewards student’s efforts and acknowledges their mathematical skills.
What is involved in a mathematics investigation?
A mathematics investigation allows students to examine a situation originating in mathematics or the real world which lends itself to inquiry. It involves a series of steps:
- getting to know the situation and formulating questions
- exploring systematically
- making and testing conjectures
- explaining or justifying results
- extending the situation by formulating further questions
- summarising the findings
Investigations require students to use mathematical processes to understand the problem or situation. The types of processes developed by work on investigations include:
- data collection
- following and extending patterns
- justifying and proving
- generalising and hypothesising
The important difference between a mathematics investigation and a mathematics problem-solving task is that students need to formulate their own questions from a given situation. By formulating their own questions, students give their teachers a clear indication of their level of knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic.