Given VCAA’s pigheaded ramming through of their still-non-existent and now invisible new study design, some teachers have expressed concern about what and how to teach in Specialist Mathematics 1&2 in 2022. One teacher, we’ll call them Mr. Puzzled, emailed us:
I am a 11 & 12 specialist maths teacher and have been spending countless hours trying to prepare some sort of course outline for the upcoming year without clear advice from VCAA on what we need to cover.
I have been reading through “Discussion: VCAA’s Blunt Implement” to try to shed some light on the issue and found it very interesting reading to say the least!
I noticed a post mentioning the idea of some sharing of potential plans for SM12 courses for this year and I’m wondering if any of that came to fruition? I would be extremely grateful to be able to “check my work” so to speak as I have no one to collaborate with at my school.
Mr. Puzzled has sent us their draft outline for Specialist 1&2, and has kindly agreed to us posting it, hoping for comments and suggestions. We’ve posted the outline below. We’ve also reposted Red Five’s Boolean Logic Summary, and we’ve copied John Friend’s comment, indicating his general thoughts.
We’re happy to post other notes and outlines as we receive them, and of course people can and are encouraged to give their thoughts in the comments. For posting of notes, PDFs can be attached directly to comments, but it is preferable to contact or email us, so we link the documents directly to the post, as updates.
0. VCAA’s invisible study design for 2023 and, thus, 2022
1. John Friend’s General Comments
Originally posted as a comment:
1) I strongly agree with most of what SRK says, particularly “that it’s better to make sure students are well practiced in skills / knowledge that will definitely be required in Units 3&4”.
a) I don’t think calculus should be a big deal (more to say below). It gets taught in MM2 and many schools teach the product, quotient and chain rules and their applications in end-of-year ‘Headstart’ programs for MM34. A lot of schools teach the chain rule in MM2. Focus on the algebra, do NOT drop partial fractions. See 3) for my further thoughts on calculus.
b) I think matrices should be taught. There’s a fair bit in SM34 in 2023 (based on the Daft Stupid Design) that uses matrices. You don’t want to be teaching matrices from scratch in 2023. I think the matrices topic lends itself to a bit of classwork and then a structured take-home assignment with references from the textbook.
I’d try to teach matrices vectors, to exploit using the dot product in the definition of matrix multiplication (introducing the representation of vectors as column and row matrices).
c) I think ‘Logic’ and ‘Graph Theory’ should be taught. In class. And then give students a structured take-home assignment.
2) Principles of counting is implied in SM34 (in the context of proof) but is NOT mentioned in the VCAA implementation advice. I’d be looking to add to what gets done in MM12 (so it needs to follow from this) or at least provide ‘extension work’ for students to work on outside of class – another structured take-home assignment with references from the textbook.
3) Calculus … I notice that VCAA do not mention ‘Kinematics’ in its Blunt Implementation. I think that kinematics MUST be taught in SM2. This is where you can BUILD on the calculus done in MM2. Do everything using calculus and the interpretation of x-t and v-t graphs. Forget about the straight-line motion formula for uniform acceleration.
NB: 2) and 3) greatly depend on SM12 sequencing ‘in harmony’ with MM12. It’s crazy teaching things that you ‘need’ in SM12 that get taught later in MM12. This is redundancy that wastes valuable time.
4) Statistics in SM12 is a joke. It is total rubbish. Mickey Mouse.
My advice – DON’T TEACH STATISTICS IN SM12.
All of the SM34 statistics can be taught in 2 weeks without the SM12 crap, PROVIDED that the co-requisite probability and statistics has already been taught in MM4. This is a tricky thing to juggle – another problem we can thank VCAA for (note that none of these VCAA idiots have to actually teach what they dump on us).
Not teaching statistics will free up valuable time for teaching kinematics.
Finally, here’s the hard part – I strongly urge all VCE teachers to maintain regular correspondence with VCAA via telephone and email. Give VCAA plenty of feedback on a regular basis. Let it know how swimmingly well things are going with teaching what it has dumped on us. Make sure you cc the Executive Director of Curriculum and the Mathematics Mangler (assuming an appointment is made and VCAA don’t have to re-re-advertise …) Suggest to your students that they also give feedback.
2. Mr. Puzzled’s Draft Outline
Mr. Puzzled also had some comments on his draft:
3. Red Five’s Boolean Logic Summary SheetBoolean Logic Summary Sheet 2