The power of ‘positive’ maths

Year 7 Mathematics students were treated to a visit by Sydney University's Professor Marcela Bilek, who leads the Applied Physics and Surface Engineering Research Group.

She encouraged both female and male students to be confident about their maths skills, for best results.

Professor Bilek, also an IGS parent, spoke to students about the exponential growth in technological advances and artificial intelligence “which has resulted in many services becoming automated, including the use of robots to perform operations, as they are more precise and often less intrusive”.

“Her talk about the psychology of learning based around confidence, which is necessary in mathematics, had students completely focused,” said IGS Head of Mathematics Sanaa Ghabbar.

“‘If you think you can, then you can.’ This has been proven by numerous studies.”

She also referred to a number of studies on the ways our society can impact how girls and boys view their capabilities in mathematics from a very young age.

Sanaa said a significant number of girls from age five believe they are not good at mathematics.

“This has significant implications for confidence and self-belief which leads to poor results and perpetuates a vicious cycle of being ‘not good at maths’,” she said.

Sanaa said our students were so engaged that they ran out of time.

Professor Marcela Bilek visits IGS
Professor Marcela Bilek visits IGS

“Professor Bilek has kindly offered to answer any further questions. Students are encouraged to let their teacher know so we can pass their questions on.

“Research projects in Dr Bilek’s Applied Physics and Surface Engineering Research Group include a stimulating mix of fundamental physics and practical applications, in areas which include materials physics and engineering, plasma deposition and processing, thin film materials, vacuum glazing, renewable and sustainable energy and cross-disciplinary research in the areas of bio interfaces and medicine.”