#inequality: Piper’s Post

Through the Student Blogging Challenge, we are participating in Blog Action Day 2014 (BAD2014). The theme of BAD2014 is inequality.

We reflected about the concept of inequality as a class, what this means to each of us as individuals, and what we can do (or are doing) to address some inequalities in the world.

For their Student Blogging Challenge task this week, some of our students chose to write posts about inequality, and what this means for them. Here is Piper’s post:

Inequality is something that is not equal in the world for example if there were five lollies in a bowl and you had two people to share them between, one person would get 3 lollies and another would get two this is unequal.

In the class we are getting together with some migrants [most of them are refugees]. They are in a class together because their English isn’t at a very high level. We sent them a survey to see what their answers would be. A couple of the kids said that they find it hard living in Australia because some people “give them the finger” and that makes them upset.This is an example of inequality because these people give them the finger just because they are different.

We are going to meet up with them to help them write a book  so they can develop their English more. I am looking forward to this.

By UNESCO, via Wikimedia Commons

By UNESCO, via Wikimedia Commons


Building Maths Skills Everyday

Wondering how you can best support your child with maths? Here are some examples of everyday activities that help develop strong maths skills:

  • Play Monopoly!
'Monopoly Justice'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/8628862@N05/2450496004

‘Monopoly Justice’
Photo by John









The game of Monopoly has so much maths in it… Think about it: as I roll my two dice, I subitise (instantly recognise the patterns of dots and the number they represent) the numbers rolled. By adding these two numbers, I practise quick addition facts, some of them doubles. If I roll doubles… let me think, how likely is that? Hey, there’s some chance and data in this game!

The board is organised in 40 squares and 4 corners… As I navigate my way around the board and go around a corner, I chunk the number I just rolled so I can quickly work out where I am going to land.

As I buy property, pay rent, receive payments, I get to handle Monopoly money and I practise adding and subtracting, using multiples of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500! When I purchase houses, I get to use multiplication to pay the banker. Division if I want to work out how many houses I can afford…

When I land on Income Tax, I must decide whether to pay $200 to the banker, or give them 10% of my wealth… Hmmm… which way is going to cost me the least?

Monopoly is full of maths, and best of all, it’s also full of fun and family time. 🙂

  • Visit Target, Kmart or BigW when they have one of their 20% off sale!
'Is there a sale on? @ Lowestoft, Suffolk' http://www.flickr.com/photos/43632116@N00/930660427

‘Is there a sale on? @ Lowestoft, Suffolk’
Photo by Tim Parkinson








What a great way to practise our understanding of percentages, and the parts that make up a whole!

How many ways are there of calculating 20% off? I could think of 20% as the fraction 1/5, or I could start with the whole price and only take 4/5 of that price into account to work out how much the item is going to cost me.

If the sale is 20% off, that means $20 dollars off in every $100. That’s the same as $2 off in every $10, or $1 off in every $5. Perhaps this strategy can help me best…

Ask some ‘what if?’ questions: what if the initial price had been $100, $80, $50? Is there a pattern?

  • Forget about the mess, let the kids cook!

Following a simple recipe can give plenty of tasty maths practice. Adjusting a recipe to cater for more guests will make us think of important concepts such as proportion and fractions (of cups).

  • Get the kids to help you budget for your next family purchase;
  • When planning for a trip, get the kids to read bus, train or plane timetables and work out the best itinerary.

Maths is all around us. These are just a few examples of everyday activities that involve maths and that everyone can use on a regular basis to support their child practise some very important skills… and enjoy themselves along the way!


Using persuasion for a real-life purpose

I love it when we can use skills we have learnt in the classroom and apply them to a real-life situation. It is often then that the best learning occurs.

Earlier this year, in April, there was an incident during the small schools’ District Sports Day March when a local business representative handed out balloons to our students as they were marching down the main street. Although the person’s intention was not to create a hazard, the result was indeed a dangerous situation: as balloons were being handed to them, small students in particular started to rush to grab one, forgetting about the rules of safety and behaviour during the march, and this when the other side of the road was still open to traffic…

Upon our return to school, the students and I discussed this event, and we decided to write a persuasive letter to the business owners, to explain to them why we thought their advertising stint was really not a good idea!

We broke the class into four groups, and each group worked together to develop the four following arguments:

1. Distributing ballons created a hazard;

2. Distributing balloons created disorder during the march;

3. Using unaware children for advertising is wrong;

4. Distributing balloons eventually creates pollution.

I contacted the business owner by phone to warn them that the letter was coming their way before I emailed it to them. The person did say that they would discuss the matter with their staff as they had not been aware at the time of the potential hazard.

Here are the developed paragraphs:

1. Distributing ballons created a hazard (Holly, Hamish, Sam, Saige & Jack)

To start with, giving out balloons during the March was a terribly hazardous action. Young students lured by the balloons were forgetting the basic rules of safety, which exposed them to danger. On the day, as soon as one child was given a balloon, most of the small children wandered from their lines and rushed to also grab a balloon. This commotion increased the very real risk that children could accidentally come into the path of moving cars, putting themselves in terrible danger without even realising it. Do you really want to be responsible for such an accident?

2. Distributing balloons created disorder during the march (Bri, Ella, Zoe, Levina, Ben & Harry H.)

Furthermore, distributing balloons to children during the District Schools Sports Day March caused chaos and disorder to our school’s procession. As balloons were being handed out, Mil Lel Primary School students became distracted and rushed out of line to receive a balloon. This caused our school to look disorderly on an occasion when students are meant to proudly represent their school to the Mount Gambier districts community. In addition, children from other schools did not receive balloons, which further caused Mil Lel students to seem turbulent and undisciplined. The distribution of balloons was an inconsiderate action that caused our School March to turn into an unruly display.

3. Using unaware children for advertising is wrong (Jennieva, Estelle, Harrison, Wil, Harry R. & Wade)

In addition, using unaware children for advertising is inappropriate. The young children in the March did not realise they were being used to publicise your company. This is a breach of a child’s rights. We won’t be used as human billboards! Moreover, did you know that to use children for advertising, you need to have permission? Parents and teachers were not aware of this activity and would definitely not have allowed it.

4. Distributing balloons eventually creates pollution (Piper, Eliza, Jacob, Nikki, Jye & Jake)

Lastly, everyone knows that littering is a horrible threat for the environment. When your business handed out those balloons, it was encouraging littering. Small children don’t really know any better and are likely to let the balloons go up in the sky. After a while, these balloons deteriorate and fall to Earth. Rubbish like balloons will wash out to sea which may cause ocean animals to suffocate. In addition, the balloons were filled with play money. Small children will play with it and because they are at a sporting event, they are likely to drop it and therefore create more littering.

This is a good example of a situation where our class has been able to use their persuasive writing skills in a real-life situation. Hopefully, we were successful in effecting change and this will not happen again next year!


Blog Maths

Where in the world do our visitors come from?

Where in the world do our visitors come from?








Article written by Eliza and Levina

In maths our class has been learning how to make pie graphs. The pie graph was about who has visited our class blog.  Firstly we drew up a table of all of the countries that had visited our blog, then we did the tally, fraction, decimal, percentages, then we worked out the sector sizes. Once we worked out the sector sizes we were able to draw our pie graphs, we used a protractor  to draw up the sectors.

Holly's calculations and pie graph

Holly’s calculations and pie graph










Wil used Excel to produce a pie chart on the computer.

Wil used Excel to produce a pie chart on the computer.