Maths Department

Year 9 and 10 Problem Solving and Modelling in Mathematics

As we gear up to start the new Senior Syllabus at the end of this year our focus has changed to preparing students for a new type of assessment called a Problem Solving and Modelling Task, or PSMT for short.  In Years 9 and 10, Term 3 sees the introduction of this type of assessment.  Students are required to use their knowledge of Mathematics, research to develop understanding, and use a mathematical model to help make decisions and/or predictions within a certain context.

In Year 9, students are trying to decide if ‘man-made’ or ‘nature-made’ objects are more efficient.  They are learning about surface area to volume ratio and applying their understanding to come up with a solution.

Measuring using Vernier Calipers

How much tape covers an egg?


In Year 10, students are reviewing a sport and the improvements made over the years.  For example, some students are looking at how times for the 1500m have improved since 1908 to the current year and then using a mathematical model to see if they can make predictions about what times may be in 40 years.  Students are encouraged to review the limitations of the mathematical model they choose.

Data showing a strong negative trend or correlation

All students complete this task by writing a report about the task, how it was conducted, the mathematical model(s) used, how effective the model was, and a conclusion that answers the initial problem.  This is a great way for our students to communicate a solution using their mathematical reasoning.

Angela Brittain – Head of Maths Department