Maths with Mariners: The event inspiring kids to kick learning goals

Central Coast Mariners teamed up with the University of Newcastle to kick off an event earlier this week to inspire Central Coast high school students to engage with mathematics.

Maths with Mariners offered 120 students in years 7 and 8 the chance to develop their maths skills while brushing shoulders with Central Coast Mariners players on Tuesday, April 4th at Industree Group Stadium.

Education and Exercise Sports Science students from the University of Newcastle, together with senior students from Central Coast Sports College, used football-related activities to demonstrate applications of maths to school children.

From measuring the area of the penalty box to calculating the angle needed to ‘Bend it like Beckham’ – the activities aimed to inspire teachers to integrate physical activity into core school subjects.

Later in the day Mariners players joined the students in doing the activities, before sitting down to sign a poster for every participant.

“It’s not just fun and games,” co-lead of the project and education researcher Dr Nick Riley, from the University of Newcastle School of Education explained.

“There has been a worldwide decline in interest and achievement in mathematics in young people. And despite the extensive benefits of physical activity, the majority of children are not sufficiently active,” Dr Riley said.

“Schools have the potential to address both concerns through innovative teaching that challenges and complements traditional approaches.”

“I believe all kids have huge potential and as educators and teachers we have to find the key to unlock that potential. For some students, movement-based learning is that key.”

The event was also geared to expose high school students to sport-related career paths.

Dr Colin Sanctuary is co-lead of the event and teaches exercise and sport science at the University of Newcastle.

“Our university students will have a unique, hands-on opportunity to explain the science behind certain activities to high school students,” Dr Sanctuary said.

“For example, when measuring the temperature of the recovery ice baths that the Mariners players use, school students will learn about athlete recovery from our students, and what happens to the muscles during that process.”

Dr Riley said they hope to expand the program if more funding can be secured to research the benefits of combining physical education and learning.

“Our preliminary studies have consistently demonstrated improved on-task behaviour and enhanced academic outcomes when physical activity is incorporated into everyday teaching of core subjects in schools,” Dr Riley said.

Central Coast Mariners spokesperson, Chris Farnon added “our relationship with schools around the Central Coast region is incredibly important for the Central Coast Mariners.”

“This is one of the many ways that we as a club are building this relationship and cannot wait for it to continue for many years to come,” Mr Farnon said.

The event was generously supported by delivery partner, Central Coast Sports College, who were among the local Central Coast schools involved.