Maths minds unite in Sunbury

Sunbury Downs College year 8 student Connor Ferguson (supplied).

Zoe Moffatt

Two Sunbury Downs College students have recently been celebrated for competing head to head against schools throughout Victoria in the University of Melbourne maths competition.

Year 8 students Kingston Bonett and Connor Ferguson both received a certificate of merit for the competition, which has been running since 1972, attracting anywhere from 3000 to 5000 students.

The annual competition includes a two hour exam for year 7 and 8 students, which requires a high level of mathematical insight and creativity, and is designed to identify real mathematical talent.

Kingston said he was very happy with how he went, and credited his love of maths to some of the teachers he has had throughout school.

“I was very happy with myself on how neatly I organised my working out. There were 10 questions and they were far more difficult than everything we did in maths class,” he said.

“I have liked maths since year 1, when I had a particularly good teacher… We were doing algebra in year 1. It was from then I’ve really liked maths.

“The maths teacher, Lauren Jackson, is amazing, she is such a great teacher… she seeks out the competition [and] needs a lot [of] credit.”

Fellow student Connor agreed that a good teacher can make a big difference and said a lot of the questions in the exam were open-ended and fun to solve.

“It allows you to take theoretical questions and solve them… it’s fun being able to use your brain to solve complex programs,” he said.

“Having a teacher that you like will make a big difference… Ms Jackson is a very good teacher.

“It fosters a sense of learning… They help you learn it and expand your knowledge, while making it fun and interesting.

“I’ve already been invited to do extra curricular maths activities. I want to be a doctor [when I’m older] and still continue doing maths.”