Students and residents bond through an innovative approach to maths - Helping Hand

Students and residents bond through an innovative approach to maths

Residents at Helping Hand’s Lealholme residential care home and year nine students at John Pirie Secondary School have joined forces to create an intergenerational mathematics class.

As part of their Community Connection Project, about 20 students visited up to 15 Lealholme residents fortnightly throughout term one, undertaking activities with residents that can help them with their mathematical skills in areas such as probability and statistics.

For example, students played Yahtzee with residents to further examine probability and constructed histograms with them to help make sense of mathematical concepts such as mean and median and examine the differences in collecting data from primary and secondary sources.

John Pirie Secondary School mathematics teacher Nyasha Tulloch said the project aims to help residents and students build relationships, to learn from each other and enjoy each other’s company and to develop mathematical skills and use them in a meaningful applied context.

“The students have loved visiting the residents at Lealhome as part of our community connection project,” Ms Tulloch said.

“Not only have they enjoyed getting to know the residents and spending time together, we’ve also seen their engagement with mathematics back at school improve.

“Giving meaning to what we’re doing which goes beyond the classroom has helped students to better understand the relevant mathematical concepts.”

Lealholme Residential Services Manager Shirley Waldhuter said the feedback from participating residents had been ‘very positive’.

“Conversations around the dining tables have included the friendships they are making with students, the interactions they have enjoyed, and how they are looking forward to the next visit. Some residents have changed their usual routines to be able to participate,” Mrs Waldhuter said.

“Residents are saying they don’t want the visits to stop as they feel the advice they are giving is helping the younger generation with life skills as well as mathematics skills.

“It has been a delight to see and hear the loud chatter and laughter coming from the Pasminco Room during these sessions.”

Ms Waldhuter said the project with John Pirie Secondary School students was just one example of the intergenerational approach Lealholme takes – and how its residents are involved in the community.

Other recent examples include visits from children at Port Pirie Community Kindergarten and hosting artwork displays from schools including the Mid North Christian College and Airdale Primary School.

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