Math Modeling, Australia
A total of 20 students from Junior High and Senior High participated in the annual A.B. Paterson Mathematical Modelling Forum & Challenge held in Gold Coast, Australia from the 18th November to 25th November 2012. This challenge was jointly organised by A.B. Paterson College and Griffith University Gold Coast. Together with Ms Tan Kae Ling and Mdm Khoo Geok Hwa, our students gained a deeper insight of the application of Mathematics to real life situations through the various mathematical modelling tasks.
During the 3 days of the Forum, our students interacted with many others from 8 other schools in Singapore as well as students from A.B. Paterson College to learn more about Mathematical Modelling. On the first day of the Forum, our students were introduced to the vast and complex world of Mathematical Modelling and applied their knowledge in Mathematics, Science and technology to design an appropriate model to find the answer to a real-world problem. Apart from that, the forum included a day’s trip to Movie World, where students had to collect data, while enjoying themselves on the thrilling rides, using various tools and methods for their tasks, in lieu of a presentation of their findings as well as constructing their model. There was also time for fun and games, where students engaged in sporting activities, a Math Trivia as well as a barbeque dinner hosted by A.B. Paterson to close the interactive forum.
After the Forum came the actual Challenge, in which students are re-categorised into new groups based on their age and school. During the Challenge, students are posed with a real-world problem that they have to solve within 2 days with their new teammates from different Singapore and Australian schools. As our students are grouped under the tutelage of different mentors and professors, each of us had different tasks to accomplish. Some problems given were associated with “Hurricane Sandy” while others was about the melting of the arctic ice and the construction of an air glider that can stay in the air for the longest time. While working together with other students and consulting their mentors from time to time, our students sharpened their scientific thinking skills, experimental skills and critical thinking skills. They also learnt how to plan their own scientific experiments to test their Mathematical models and overcome the problems they faced during these experiments. Upon the completion of their Mathematical model, students have to communicate their ideas through a presentation. Through this, students trained their presentation, communication and oratorical skills as they explain and justify their experiments, Mathematical models and calculations.
It is to our delight that 5 Dunman High students had won awards for their outstanding performance during the Challenge. Nonetheless, all the students who participated in this Challenge benefited greatly from this amazing experience and gained a better understanding of Mathematical Modelling.
To end this wonderful Mathematical Modelling journey, A.B. Paterson College held a scrumptious dinner on a cruise ship, on which our students get to forge long-lasting friendships with other participants and enjoy the night.
Teachers and students alike have positive experience. Here are some of the students’ reflections of this trip:
“Going on this trip, I wasn’t entirely clueless about Mathematical Modelling thanks to the challenge we had internally in June. I was all geared up thinking my knowledge on modelling would be sufficient but I was proven entirely wrong. Not only do the Australians do Mathematical Modelling in a slightly different way from us, they are more advanced in their ways of modelling. This trip has allowed me to gain much depth in Mathematics, and especially in the area of modelling. Mathematics in school has always given introductions to how they can be applied in real life situations but it was only until this trip I realized how aptly how some minute details we learn are vital in solving many real life problems. This trip has greatly increased my appreciation towards Mathematics and I am truly grateful to the school for such a wonderful opportunity!”
Melissa Ong, 12Y5C38
“William Glasser once said: “We don’t focus as much in schools on educational knowledge which requires thinking and application, as we do on acquiring facts.” Indeed, after participating in this Mathematical Modelling Forum and Challenge I was impressed by how Mathematics can not only be applied in our daily lives, but also solve real world-problems when merged with Science, Geography and technology. In school, our teachers teach us the concepts behind different Mathematical formulas and constantly remind us that whatever we learn in Mathematics will be useful to us in the future but I never had a first-hand experience of it until I participated in this Mathematical Modelling Forum and Challenge this November. Through this experience, I learnt how to apply Physics and Mathematics concepts to solve real-world challenges and came to appreciate the intertwining and strong relationship between Mathematics, Science and Technology. It also dawned upon me that after learning so many concepts related to Math and Science, I had never applied them in solving problems in real-life situations. Hence, this trip is an eye-opener and a great opportunity for me to train my thinking and experimental skills.”
Megan Chua, 12Y3M