Ambitious mathematics for young Pacific learners: Dr Jodie Hunter demonstrates algebraic thinking for tivaevae


In this best evidence in action video feature, Dr Jodie Hunter demonstrates mathematics teaching that activates educationally powerful connections for Pacific learners.

Activate educationally powerful connections to learners’ knowledge, experiences, identities, family, whanau, aiga, fono and communities

Whakatere hono ākonga torokaha, ākonga tū kaha

This demonstration lesson was carried out at Russell School, Porirua East. Find out more about the impact and leadership of this work from the perspective of the Russell School principal, board, teachers, in-class mentors, parents and children.

While the focus of this exemplar is on the mathematics,  DMIC was selected as the first BES Exemplar because the pedagogy, well-implemented,  not only develops mathematics proficiency for all students, but also reduces racism and bullying and increases student belonging; particularly for Pacific, Māori and new immigrant learners.

This video series follows the Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities lesson structure. The pedagogy is consistent with the findings of best evidence syntheses.

The lesson begins with a teacher-directed Launch, moves into Group Work followed by each group Sharing Back with the whole class. Crucial to the effectiveness of this pedagogy is The Connect that is made to the big mathematical ideas – in this case the emerging algebraic thinking for these Years 3 and 4 learners.

Dr Jodie Hunter demonstrates algebraic thinking for tivaevae
VIDEO 1 The Launch
VIDEO 2 Group Work
VIDEO 3 Sharing Back
VIDEO 4 The Connect

Belonging and Wellbeing. See more about impact here...

Reductions in Bullying

The early change data on student bullying rates across the three Porirua East Schools for the first year of DMIC implementation in 2015 showed marked improvement.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2014/15 found that in only two countries was bullying significantly more frequent than in New Zealand for Year 5 students. The early change data in these three Porirua East schools showed reductions in bullying associated with the DMIC intervention: from 23.5% to 10.4% of students reporting they were made fun of or called names at least once a week, from 15.1% to 5.5% of students reporting they were left out of activities at least once a week, and from 20.5% to 7.4% of students reporting being hit, kicked or hurt by other students at least once a week.

Shifting Unconscious Bias: Inclusion and Belonging

There was change also for students' sense of belonging at school.  Baseline data for the three Porirua East schools indicated that there were children who, in mathematics, 'never' or 'hardly ever' felt good to be Māori, or Samoan, or their own (other) culture. This started changing. For example, in the Year 1 post-testing, Māori, Samoan, Cambodian and Iraqi students in Porirua East explained:

"I feel proud in my maths lesson today by carrying my family with me."

"I felt bad 'cause people tease my culture... (in maths now) I feel normal."

"To be Samoan today in maths was awesome."

The percentage of students who never or hardly ever felt good to be their culture dropped from 8.6% to 3.3% over the seven-month early implementation period.

See the video on perspectives from the school community on Russell School: The Difference