Mathematics

The study of mathematics, including a recognition and understanding of the delightful patterns upon which the world is based, should be an ever-fascinating activity.

There are four main ways in which mathematics vitally affects and underpins our lives.

Firstly, it helps find meaning among chaos. Although as humans we still have only a limited understanding of the structure of the universe, and although we face the daily frustration of being unable to comprehend many abstract concepts, including large numbers, we can recognise in such discoveries as the golden mean, Fibonacci sequences, the double helix structure of DNA, and the concept of infinity, hints of a wonderful organisation that promises great rewards as we pursue and explore these concepts more fully.

Secondly, in the day to day management of our lives, an understanding of measurement, probability, money, statistics, fractions, percentages and decimals, and the basic algorithms of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and an ability to use the tools associated with these understandings, makes us more efficient, more productive, and gives satisfaction in assisting everyday achievements.

Thirdly, the study of mathematics offers the opportunity for a kind of intellectual enhancement that is of benefit in a much wider, even more nebulous sense. By stimulating and developing the paths of the brain that lend themselves to mathematical activity, and by challenging and stretching these aspects of our thinking to the greatest degree possible, we are helped to become more powerful and successful thinkers.

To this end, chess will be important part of the school’s program, with all students learning the basics of chess, and developing their skills in it. The powerful effects of chess in organising and developing the human mind have been well demonstrated over the years, as has its benefits for primary and high school students.

Finally, there is a special place for mathematics in the lives of those who will make it their career. Engineers, statisticians, surveyors, economists and architects are among those for whom mathematics is more than a useful tool or an aid to mental development. For them, it is vital and powerful, and to a considerable extent skill in mathematics determines their success or failure as professional people. We as a school have a responsibility to teach mathematics in such a way that children who wish to go on to careers in this area will be given strong foundations on which to build their tertiary studies.