Pupils pack a bagful of knowledge

The award-winning Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School kindergarten Investigating with Mathematics Competition team.
The award-winning Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School kindergarten Investigating with Mathematics Competition team.

Starting kindergarten in 2020 has been a challenge. But four Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School kindergarten pupils have taken it in their stride - and even found time to solve one of kindies' biggest problem: the large backpack.

Cindy Wang, Bryan Yeung, Chandler Tran and Hannah Ly were among four teams from the school who competed in The Investigating with Mathematics Competition, run by Mathematical Association of NSW. The competition asks students from kindergarten to year 12 to come up with a solution to a real-life problem using maths.

Using a 2-D plan, the quartet designed a new school bag that was lighter and easier to carry than their old one and made papier mache 3-D models of their bags from recyclable materials after estimating and measuring the volume of different-sized bags.

The group, who gathered grade data, created graphs and obtained cost quotes, were rewarded for their ingenuity with first place honours in the state and Australia.

The year 1 team of Donovan David, Ashour Aziz, Chelsea Nguyen and Oscar Hua also placed first in the state and Australia for their investigation on how fairly balls have been distributed across the school and possible reasons why balls are getting lost which even included re-designing the canteen roof.

Our Lady of the Rosary pupil Bryan Yeungs 2-D school bag design.

Our Lady of the Rosary pupil Bryan Yeungs 2-D school bag design.

"It looked like the real canteen," Ashour said of the model which used sticky tape, glue and paddle pop sticks.

The year-6 team of Elysha Nguyen, Jayden Singh, Margret Zheng, Adriana Li and Vincent Lee placed first in the state for their detailed scaled plan to refurbish the school admin and staff areas, including painting and carpeting the areas and installing new blinds, air-conditioning and furniture. The project involved students using length, area, volume, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

The year-2 team of Trent Mai, Afa Manu, Jayden Lee and Lidio Lee also took out state honours for their investigation into the feasibility of providing milk to all students.

"I like to use my brain and I like working with numbers," said Leo, with the group researching the best value for money milk, calculating the number of milk packets that can fit in a fridge and cupboard and worked out the properties of a milk carton. They also graphed the results of a survey on the number of students who would like to get milk at school.

Principal Jackie Vella said: "We are very proud of our students and teachers."

Dr Christine Mae, Sydney Catholic Schools' K-12 Mathematics and Numeracy Education Officer, said: "It is exciting to see that we have such young minds engaging in high levels of challenge by investigating real-world problems in and around the school."