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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mathematics in the MYP

The beauty of Mathematics resides in logic, reasoning and problem-solving. By developing skills and knowledge in Mathematics, students are able to identify and solve problems in the real world.

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The beauty of Mathematics resides in logic, reasoning and problem-solving. By developing skills and knowledge in Mathematics, students are able to identify and solve problems in the real world. Mathematics has the ability to equip students with the aptitudes and skills which enable them to become the creators of innovative solutions in this digital era. The real-life problems in Mathematics provide students with practical opportunities to explore tangible issues through the application of mathematical knowledge.

Computational Thinking is an essential component in topics such as Pattern, Sequence and Probability. To create an engaging learning environment at Preshil, Mathematics teachers across the Middle Years Programme (MYP) use different methods and strategies when designing summative assessments to measure students’ understanding of concepts in each unit.

There are four criteria for the IB MYP Mathematics subject:

  1. Knowing and Understanding
  2. Investigating Patterns
  3. Communicating
  4. Applying Mathematics in Real-Life Contexts


UNIT TITLE Fractions: A Part of Life
Discovering the potential for fractions to assist in pragmatic applications beyond the abstract can help with the analysis of efficient courses of action.


  • What is a fraction?
  • How do you add, subtract, divide and multiply fractions?
  • Where do you see fractions?
  • Where do you use fractions? 

Students will be reminded of and explore the notions of fractions through multi-modal examples, including pizzas, excavation and online games. There are many opportunities to practically and abstractly apply these concepts, along with assistive assessments to appropriately nurture the development of these foundational concepts.


During our unit on fractions this term we engaged with real-life applications through students assisting with the construction of the new Hammock Haven.

Utilising an auger for foundation hole digging, the students were set the task of comprehending the fraction of the hole each rotation of the auger would dig, along with multiple aspects of comprehending fractions from this perspective.

The students were excited to take their Mathematics into the tangible dimension, and seemed to enjoy this process.

Hopefully this lesson and the ongoing reminder of the final product of the Hammock Haven remains a helpful reminder of the applicability of Mathematics into the future!


UNIT TITLE Statistics & Probability
STATEMENT OF INQUIRY Logical representation of data can help in the understanding of fairness and development in the world.


  • What is a sample space?
  • What is a histogram?
  • What is bias in data?
  • Should we believe statistics?

In this unit, students learn to measure the center and spread of data using frequency tables and graphs. Concepts in theoretical probability are explained. The Venn Diagram is introduced to solve probability problems. Students have also explored how to organise and analyse data using spreadsheets and basic statistical formulae to assist them to solve real-world problems.

Education is a fundamental human right and every child has the right to quality education. However, not every country is able to fulfil this promise. In our current task, students are comparing low- and high-income countries from a specific region to see if there is a difference in secondary school completion rates of adolescents, accessing data from the UNICEF Data Warehouse.


UNIT TITLE Triangles: Why Right-Angled Triangles?
STATEMENT OF INQUIRY When measuring and exploring form, it is necessary to understand the nature of a shape’s form and its spatial dimensions before humans can quantify and utilise it. How can the similarity and relationship between shapes be used to measure and understand the world?


  • What is special about right-angled triangles?
  • What are trigonometric ratios?
  • What is Pythagoras’ theorem?
  • How are the ratios of right-angled triangles used in the real world? 

In this unit, students explored the relationships between the sides and angles of right-angled triangles. We will study the equation named after the Greek mathematician Pythagoras that connects the side lengths of the triangles. 

We will then follow the journey of discovery that many ancient civilizations have made, as we explore the ratio between sides of the triangles. This will lead to an understanding of the trigonometric ratios Sine, Cosine and Tangent, which we will use to find missing lengths and angles. 


UNIT TITLE The Art of Trigonometry
Trigonometry can be used to solve real-world problems that are modelled as trigonometric functions. For example, a rotating Ferris wheel and tide can both be modelled by sinusoidal functions. How much information do we need to find the modelling function? What is the height of a tide after three hours?

STATEMENT OF INQUIRY The use of trigonometry in measuring lengths and angles is a logical way for people to understand and apply the mathematics of real-world problems.


  • What is a trig ratio?
  • Where does the concept of tangent come from?
  • How useful is trigonometry in measurement?

In this unit, students first revisit the right-angled triangle and Pythagoras’ Theorem. They are then introduced to the three trig ratios; sine, cosine and tangent. Various real-life measure problems are solved by applying trigonometry at the end of the unit. In this year’s summative assessment, students were requested to investigate the viewing angles of artwork and find the optimal position to achieve the maximum viewing angle. 



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