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MathsCraft: Doing Maths like a Research Mathematician

MathsCraft Curriculum

teachers delivering it to approximately

students across Australia

sessions reaching nearly


Five-Day Residential MathsCraft Professional Development workshop for mathematics teachers


MathsCraft: Doing Maths like a Research Mathematician is one of ACEMS’ flagship outreach programs. It offers students in Years 5-10 the opportunity to engage in authentic mathematical problem-solving, using ideas and processes with which they are already familiar. In the process, the joy of doing mathematics is nurtured and this drives interest in, and provides a purpose for, learning new mathematical knowledge and skills.

Since 2015, the Centre has run many student workshops as well as teacher professional development workshops, including an annual five-day immersive residential workshop that brings together teachers and mathematicians to do maths and discuss pedagogy. After 2020 saw many events cancelled or postponed, thankfully MathsCraft activities were recommenced in 2021. While travel restrictions meant in-person events were only held in South Australia, the single-day professional development workshops were able to be modified to an online format, and so the MathsCraft program expanded. Workshops were run by ACEMS Affiliate Member Anthony Harradine of Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, and ACEMS Outreach Officer Anita Ponsaing.

After the successful 2019 pilot of the newly developed MathsCraft Curriculum, the full launch of the Curriculum was deferred until 2021 to give teachers the time to manage online and hybrid teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020. The 2021 launch was very successful with 17 teachers subscribed to the MathsCraft curriculum in 2021, delivering it to approximately 485 students across multiple Australian states. Subscriptions to the MathsCraft Curriculum are expected to grow in future years and beyond ACEMS.

The annual five-day immersive professional development workshop for teachers was held again in November 2021 with 18 teachers attending – 17 teachers from South Australia and one from the Northern Territory. This event was fully funded by ACEMS and attended by mathematicians who volunteered their time to work with the teachers, including ACEMS members Anthony Mays, Bridget Smart and Christina Tait. The event was held at the Sevenhill Jesuit Retreat Centre in the gorgeous Clare Valley near Adelaide, which provided a true retreat feel to the workshop. All who attended raved about the experience and what they learnt, and were grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. On the morning of the second day, a MathsCraft student session was run as a demonstration to the teacher participants. A total of 24 students from Years 7-9 were invited to attend from local schools, and participated energetically, working together to get to the bottom of the mathematical problems that were presented. The students left feedback that it was fun and challenging.

A pilot program for the SA Department for Education was run during the second semester of 2021. This was a three-day program for around 25 teachers, with the days spread across months to give teachers time to trial the ideas with their classes. Feedback from the pilot was very positive, and this has led to approval for an expanded program to be run in 2022.

The program of single-day professional development workshops for teachers was continued after the 2020 hiatus, with 12 sessions run across the year and approximately 180 teachers attending. Eight of these workshops were held virtually, allowing people to attend from across Australia and overseas participants from New Zealand and Norway; the other four being held in person in Adelaide. One of the virtual workshops was aimed at school leaders, with all nine attendees finding it valuable. There were also three mini sessions – two virtual and one in person, with 65 attendees total – introducing a new problem to teachers who had previously attended workshops. While the virtual format lacked some of the energy and interaction of live events, it was great to be able to offer these to teachers located anywhere.

During National Science Week, a MathsCraft student session was conducted online. The event was hosted by MATRIX as part of their mathematical film festival program. This was attended by 30 students from around Australia, and around 20 teachers and parents who attended as observers.

While there were fewer opportunities to attend conferences, a MathsCraft workshop was held in-person at the Mathematical Association of South Australia (MASA) state conference in July, and presented virtually at the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers (QAMT) Early Childhood/Primary conference in February and the Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV) state conference in December. MathsCraft was also featured at in-person or virtual trade booths at four conferences and maintained a presence via satchel inserts at two others – see below for details.

Date Conference Mode Presence
27-28 Feb QAMT (Qld Assoc. of Maths Teachers)
Early Pre K-Yr 8 Conference
In-person Trade Stall (Angela Dahlke)
26-27 Mar MANSW (Math Assoc. of NSW)
Early Pre K-Yr 8 Conference
In-person Satchel insert
17-18 Jun MAV (Math Assoc. of Vic)
Early Childhood/Primary Conference
Virtual Satchel insert
26-27 Jun QAMT
State Conference
In-person Trade Stall (Katie Buchhorn)
15-16 Jul MASA (Math Assoc of SA)
State Conference
In-person Trade Stall (Anthony Mays)
2-3 Dec MAV
State Conference
Virtual Trade Stall (Anthony Mays)

With the continued offering and development of the MathsCraft Curriculum, the expansion of the professional development program for the SA Department of Education, and requests from schools to run professional development for their teachers, we are confident that MathsCraft will continue to have a positive impact on mathematics in schools well after ACEMS.

ACEMS MathsCraft teacher professional development sessions.

ACEMS’ five-day residential MathsCraft professional development workshop for mathematics teachers.