Teacher notes

"What do we need to know maths for?"
"When am I going to use this stuff?"

About the program

Figure It Out showcases how mathematics is used in the world around us every day. It offers the opportunity to recognise and investigate the use of mathematics in real situations.

This program introduces people in a variety of roles, highlighting how they use maths in their day to day work. Each expert outlines a maths challenge. Challenges can be selected according to interest in the topic or the maths being investigated and utilised.

The program offers a great way to introduce students to a new maths topic or to simply show them how the maths they have learnt can be applied to a range of real life situations, giving them practice opportunities. Students could approach each challenge working as part of a team or individually..

The Figure It Out website reinforces the value of mathematical processes in working out solutions to questions about the world around us. It offers an opportunity for students to analyse the reasonableness of points of view, procedures and results, according to given criteria, and identify limitations and/or constraints in context.

Curriculum links

Figure It Out is aimed at students from Years 5 – 8, but it is relevant to other year levels more broadly. Each challenge is linked to specific achievement standards in the Mathematics area of the Australian Curriculum and cover topics such as measurement, ratios, scales to name a few.

The challenges address the content strands of:

Number and Algebra

Lay Out an Exhibition (Year 7)

Compare Extinct and Modern Animals (Year 5, 6 & 7)

Plan a Car Park (Year 7 & 8)
Measurement and Geometry

Lay Out an Exhibition (Year 5 & 6)

Compare Extinct and Modern Animals (Level 5 & 6)

Design an Exhibit (Year 5 & 6)

Plan a Car Park (Year 5 & 6)
Statistics and Probability Design an Exhibit (Year 5, 6, 7 & 8)

The challenges can also be used as rich tasks across a number of curriculum areas and support the mathematics proficiency strands of understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning.


To use Figure It Out, students need to follow the steps below;

Step 1
Select a Challenge - choose a theme topic and view the relevant expert videos
Step 2
Figure it Out - download the relevant materials and take on the challenge
Step 3
Communicate Ideas – develop a report with working drawings/plans and even a presentation or video in which students describe their working process and their solutions to the maths challenges.
Step 4
Share – with the class or wider. The Museum would love to see your drawings/plans, reports and even presentations. Email us PDFs or links to videos you post online.

As solutions come through we will share a selection in a student showcase on the Figure It Out website.