Students benefit from inquiry-based learning says education expert


19 Aug 2010

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The increased level of students taking on higher level maths through Project Maths is a clear demonstration that the move away from traditional teaching methods to an increasingly inquiry based model works say Peter Brabazon, programme director for Discover Science and Engineering.

This new way of teaching maths will lead to an increased uptake in higher level as well as improvements in the performance of Leaving Cert students, he explained.

"The project is ensuring that mathematics in school is becoming more relevant to the everyday lives of students by further developing their understanding of maths concepts and their applications," said Brabazon.

"This is particularly important in the context of developing a smart economy as it will help students build skills that they will use both in the world of work and in their lives generally."

Brabazon of Discover Science and Engineering went on to predict that this kind of improvement will be seen in physics and chemistry in the future when the inquiry-led approach of Project Maths is applied to these subjects, thus changing the approach of the Leaving Cert curriculum as has already been done at Junior Cert level.

"It is clear that inquiry based teaching and learning, as evidenced by the increased participation by the Project Maths group and improvements in the Junior Cert, will positively impact students attitudes to maths and science subjects," said Brabazon.

"However, Discover Science and Engineering believes this approach to learning has to start with children in primary school. Therefore, it has developed with the support of 4,500 primary school participant teachers over 50 ‘hands-on’ curriculum-based maths and science activities which are available at www.primaryscience.ie," he added.