Victorian Maths Challenge

Victorian Maths Challenge logo

A fun and engaging way for families to engage in real life mathematics and explore problems together.

Visit the Victorian Maths Challenge website to explore the challenge and see entries from our first participants.

Early childhood

​​​​​Research shows that a child's early experiences influence their long-term outcomes and life choices.

Families and early childhood educators play an important role in young children's education.​ 

These resource materials can be used to engage children with everyday mathematics.

Explore maths every day: The power of maths for young children

illustration of children playing with snails and stones Monday

Make collections:

  • Collect objects from the outdoors, like stones, leaves or twigs
  • Sort them into groups and count how many items are in each group
  • How many items are there in your favourite collection?
​  Tuesday         illustration of father helping daughter measure a piece of wood         ​

  Try measuring:

  • Explore ways of measuring using sticks, foot prints or hand lengths
  • Measure the height of people in your family
  • Who is the tallest? Who is the shortest?
​ ​illustration of family doing some baking Wednesday

  Work out ways to measure ingredients for a recipe:

  • Explore ways of measuring using a cup, a jug, a teaspoon and a tablespoon
  • If you have kitchen scales weigh different foods such as a packet of flour, a bag of rice or some vegetables
  • Put the things you have weighed in order from lightest to heaviest.
​ ​illustration of children playing on see sawsThursday

  Think of ways of moving with maths outdoors:

  • Find ways to balance your weight with a friend on the see-saw
  • How many steps does it take to get from the park bench to the slide?
  • What other maths games can you play in the playground?
​ ​illustration of child and mother making patterns with stonesFriday

  Find patterns:

  • Try following a pattern someone else has started and continue the pattern on your own
  • Make a pattern using pebbles, pegs or pieces of coloured paper
  • What patterns can you see around you?
​ ​illustration of children playing with building blocksSaturday

  Stack building blocks:

  • Build a tower as high as you can
  • Can you build a tower that is taller than you are?
  • What other structures can you make with building blocks?
​ ​illustration of child and mother playing with plastic numbersSunday

 Seek out shapes:

  • Start and finish a jigsaw puzzle
  • Find four or more different shapes in your house
  • Draw some of the shapes you can see inside your house.

Posters

Factsheets

Students

If you are a student in Years 5 to 8 the Victorian Maths Challenge is a fun way to use real life mathematics with your family.

For more information, see: Take the Victorian Maths Challenge

Visit the website to:

  • choose a challenge - check out the different challenges on offer with your family - each challenge is an open-ended task, so remember there are no right or wrong answers 
  • strategies - take the lead in your family and share your ideas on how to approach the challenge you have chosen 
  • submit - make a short video, take some photos or create an animation or other digital artefact to share more about how your learn.

While the Victorian Maths Challenge is not a competition, you can put yourself to the test by trying some of the activities in the 'Keep going' section.

You can also check out the Glossary to see what mathematics terms or concepts you understand better after you've completed a challenge. 

Families

Family participation in learning is one of the most accurate predictors of a child's success in school and beyond.

The Victorian Maths Challenge recognises the important role families have in their childrens' learning and while you might feel that the maths your child is doing at school is different from how you were taught, you can make a difference by supporting what your child learns at school and helping them to learn at home.

To this end, The challenge provides families with opportunities to explore maths together. It encourages families to ask questions of one another, to collaborate and to have fun exploring different approaches to open-ended problems.

How to help during and beyond the challenge

Your role is to simply get involved!

With your child, check out the challenges and choose one that suits your family. The challenges have been designed as open-ended maths tasks that require limited amounts of time and materials. Your family might choose to complete one challenge in a short space of time, dedicate 20 minutes each day to a challenge over the course of a week or complete multiple challenges over a weekend.

When working on a challenge talk positively about maths so your child also values it. If your experiences in maths at school were less than ideal, avoid saying comments like 'I was bad at maths at school' or 'I didn't like maths because it was too hard.' These sorts of comments can lower children's own expectations of themselves and perpetuate myths about people being born naturally bad or good at maths.

Conversely, if you did well at maths in school, avoid jumping in with answers/solutions and instead encourage your child to talk about how they might work out maths problems as this helps boost their confidence.

Regardless of your own school experiences in maths, be reassured that maths today is not about learning by rote, with the focus instead on recognising that there are multiple ways to get an answer. Encourage your child to talk about the different strategies they might apply to the challenge/s chosen by your family.

Decide as a family if you would like to submit a recording of your participation in a challenge. Your submission can take the form of a video or some digital photos.

Talking maths - ideas for parents and carers

  • After reading a challenge together, encourage your child to take the lead by asking her/him: 'What do you think we are supposed to do?'
  • Encourage your child to find links with what they already know. Ask questions like: 'What do you know about this already?'
  • If your child initially has difficulty understanding the challenge and says something like 'I don't get it' or 'I don't understand', prompt with further questions like 'What do you think the question is asking?'
  • Try drawing a picture together; pictures and diagrams often help children to describe or even solve maths problems.
  • Maintain a supportive role in the learning process by helping your child to recognise that they already may know parts of the solution.
  • Reflect together on how you found the activity. Ask questions like, 'What was the best part of the challenge?' or 'What might we do differently next time?' Encourage your child to consider their own thinking process.
  • Acknowledge great individual and team work!

Remember to maintain a supportive role in the learning process by helping your child to recognise that they already may know parts of the solution.

Take the Victorian Maths Challenge

Schools

The Victorian Maths Challenge encourages students and their families to engage in real life, everyday mathematics, through interactive challenges that promote problem solving.

Each challenge has been designed as an open-ended maths task requiring limited amounts of time and materials, for families to do at home or out and about.

By encouraging families to participate in The Victorian Maths Challenge, school leaders and teachers can help show parents/carers that maths today is more than learning by rote, and is about trying and applying a range of strategies when approaching maths tasks.

The challenges can also help show parents/carers how the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the Victorian Curriculum are relevant to real-life mathematics problems.

Schools could support participation by

  • running the Challenge in a Family Maths Night
  • hosting after-school parent maths sessions
  • using Challenge resources
  • suggesting Challenge activities for students' homework.
  • advertising the Challenge in a school newsletter.

Take the Victorian Maths Challenge