The eight booklets below were written for ARC Discovery Indigenous project DI0668328, Indigenous world view, algebra pedagogy and improving Indigenous performance in secondary mathematics, conducted at Dunwich on Stradbroke Island from 2006–08 and known as the Minjerribah Maths project.
The project used an approach to maths learning called Maths as Story Telling (MAST). It is an attempt to work from the storytelling world of the Indigenous student through to the formal world of algebra by experiences with the creation of symbols that have personal meaning. The storytelling starts with simple arithmetic but moves quickly to algebraic thinking. It enables Indigenous students to bring their everyday world of symbols into mathematics.
Primary – addition
MAST Booklet Pr.P: Using Created Symbols to Develop Addition Stories
This booklet was developed for students in Prep and is designed so that the students can investigate the nature of symbols and develop their own to create addition stories. As students progress through the booklet they should develop their understanding of addition and begin to explore the nature of compensation and balance.
MAST Booklet Pr.4: Using Created Symbols to Develop Addition Principles
This booklet was developed for students in Year 4 and begins by introducing students to the concept of symbols, and how they can create and use their own symbols to write mathematical stories. As the students progress through the booklet they should develop a deeper understanding of the nature of addition and use balancing and compensation to solve for an unknown.
Secondary – addition and subtraction
MAST Booklet S.1: Creating Symbols for Addition and Subtraction Stories
This booklet was developed for students in secondary school, and is the first of six secondary booklets. Across the four lessons students explore symbols in the real world, and then focus on addition and subtraction by creating their own symbols. The last lesson enables students to read others’ symbols and make sense of their stories; it then moves to linking addition and subtraction and concludes by focusing on the formal symbols for addition and subtraction.
MAST Booklet S.2: Using Created Symbols to Develop the Addition and Subtraction Principles
This booklet extends on booklet S.1, beginning with recapping symbols, then guiding students to an understanding of balance and compensation, and concluding with the rules that determine addition and subtraction in that setting.
MAST Booklet S.3: Creating, Using and Solving Unknowns in Addition and Subtraction Stories
This booklet is the last of the addition and subtraction lessons and focuses on working out the unknown in a given situation. Through the four lessons it covers the notion of ‘unknown’ and then moves into looking at unknowns in both addition and subtraction settings. It concludes by reinforcing this learning through using the formal mathematical symbols.
Secondary – multiplication and division
MAST Booklet S.4 Creating Symbols for Multiplication and Division Stories
This booklet is the fourth of six secondary booklets and the first of the booklets that focus on multiplication and division. This booklet follows a similar structure to booklet S.1, by introducing students to symbols in the real world, then giving them an opportunity to develop their own symbols for multiplication and division, and create their own mathematical stories. From here the booklet concludes by relating what they’ve learnt to the formal symbols of multiplication and division.
MAST Booklet S.5 Creating Symbols for Multiplication and Division principles
This booklet extends on booklet S.4 through recapping symbols and then guiding students to an understanding of compensation and balance, exploring the rules for these two principles with regard to multiplication and division. It then concludes by relating the content taught with using the formal mathematical symbols.
MAST Booklet S.6 Creating, Using and Solving Unknowns in Multiplication and Division stories
This booklet is the last of the multiplication and division lessons and is designed to follow on from booklets S.4 and S.5. It looks at finding the unknown in a multiplication and division setting. It links the principles for balance and compensation to the notion of the ‘unknown’ and then concludes by reinforcing and relating this new understanding to the formal mathematical conventions.