Mathematics

Our mathematics workshops have been developed by La Trobe mathematicians to showcase:

  • how mathematics is used in vital research
  • how mathematics relates to everyday life
  • mathematics as a bridge between abstract problems and real world solutions
  • how to use mathematics to think outside the square

We offer workshops at our Melbourne and Bendigo campuses and are happy to take selected workshops to schools in the greater Bendigo region.

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Middle years

The beauty of mathematics

Curriculum: Years 9 and 10, Mathematics

Location: Melbourne

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: $7.50 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

In this workshop students use a numerical computing environment (MATLAB) and explore mathematical processes such as absolute value, the floor function and inversion, in a visual way. They gain an understanding of how an image can be turned inside out and viewed with infinitely many copies of itself. Students may download images from the Internet or upload pictures from their phones, then cleverly transform them into something surprisingly different.

The mystery of mathematics

Curriculum: Years 9 and 10, Mathematics

Location: Melbourne

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: $5 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

Through games, imagery, words, graphs, mathematical art, and even a cartoon, in this workshop students encounter number sequences which are easy to create but which behave in unexpected ways. They are led to wonder what is going on when a simple process is iterated, and are exposed to the idea of an unsolved problem in mathematics through meeting the famous Collatz conjecture. This workshop challenges the perception that maths is all about equations and right answers.

The rhythm of mathematics

Curriculum: Years 9 and 10, Mathematics

Location: Melbourne

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: $7.50 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

  • Hosted by Dr Marcel Jackson, Associate Professor in Mathematics, from Rhythm in the Numbers, La Trobe University’s Big Fat Ideas.

In this workshop students investigate the mathematics of rhythm via a journey through various musical genres from classical to rock and metal. In addition to participating in a lot of rhythmic tapping and clapping, students engage in mathematical exercises involving basic geometry and number theory, which arise naturally with a new understanding of the structure of rhythms in music and other fields. They do the maths, tap out the rhythms, and acquire a new perspective on mathematics and an informed musical understanding of some of the patterns arising naturally in geometry and number theory.

Made by maths - self-guided walk

Curriculum: Years 7–10, Mathematics

Location: Melbourne, through the made by maths booking system

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus is home to the third walk in the ‘Made by Maths’ app of The Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV).

The walk takes in buildings and sculptures and includes mathematical ‘things to do’ to earn trophies within the app. In preparation, students should download both the free app and the associated free La Trobe walk content onto their own device. Once on the walk, they can access the content, take videos and photos, and record their answers to open and multiple-choice questions.

Game theory

Curriculum: Years 7-8 or 9-10, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

Mathematical patterns and ways of thinking revealed through pen and paper games like Chomp, Hackenbush, Semaphore, and Sprouts. Students’ competitive urges are harnessed to develop optimal strategies to defeat their friends. Students practise their algorithmic thinking to learn what strategies really are and how one strategy might be better than another.

Kirigami

Curriculum: Years 7-8 or 9-10, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

Origami + scissors = kirigami. Students play with techniques enabling them to answer: How can you get a 20-metre by 30-metre solar panel array into the space inside the much smaller cargo hold of a rocket? Other uses of kirigami range from nano-manufacturing to flat-pack reconfigurable buildings.

Symmetry

Curriculum: Years 7-8 or 9-10, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

When nature has a good idea, it repeats it again and again. How the patterns fit together is called ‘symmetry’. Students take apart repeating patterns to find their essential features. We may even discover why there are only seventeen different kinds of wallpaper.

Mathematical colouring

Curriculum: Years 7-8 or 9-10, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

Suppose you want to colour the countries on a map so that neighbouring countries have different colours. How many colours do you need? This famous problem took over 100 years to solve and led to a vast number of other mathematical colouring problems, some of which students explore in this workshop, coloured pencils in hand. We will even look at a problem that has never been solved.

Fractals

Curriculum: Years 9-10, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

“I’d like the same again, but smaller please.” Fractals are shapes which repeat at different sizes, with beautiful and counterintuitive properties – such as the need for an infinite amount of ink to draw the border of a 1 square cm shape. The results can be deduced using mathematics students already know.

Careers in mathematics

Curriculum: Years 7-12, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

You rarely see a job advertisement for a mathematician, yet mathematical skills are in huge demand in the workplace. Here we answer the eternal question “will this ever be useful?” in the affirmative with direct relevance to students’ job prospects.

VCE

Proofs

Curriculum: Years 11-12, Mathematics

Location: Your school in the greater Bendigo region

Cost: Free

Class capacity: 25 students

It’s not true just because your teacher tells you so ... for example why is a negative times a negative a positive? It’s all to do with what we mean by “zero”, “one”, ”multiply” and “add”. In this session, we explore what a “proof” is and why proofs are the building blocks of mathematics.

For enquiries please contact SHE outreach (+61 03 9479 6516), join our mailing list or download our brochure [PDF 2.3MB]