Maths in Motion Program

Victoria University
Dennis Hemphill
Associate Professor
School of Sport and Exercise Science
Telephone: +61 3 99194486

______, 2009


Vignette title and details

Maths in Motion Program
A Learning in the Workplace and Community project between Victoria University and Eltham College of Education.


Biomechanics; Mathematics

Employment sector

Sports Science; Physical Education

Student numbers

20 Victoria University students worked with 20 Eltham College of Education students.

Credit bearing?

The program was one of the several compulsory Learning in the Workplace and Community activities available to students in Biomechanics, a core undergraduate unit in the Exercise Science and Human Movement course. Students received academic credit for their participation in the program, which involved lab setup, lab planning and instruction, group debriefing and reflective reporting.


Assessment comprised lab plans and a reflective report, which amounted to 40% of the overall grade for the unit.


Participants were not entitled to payment for completing the program. No scholarship or bursary funding was available to students completing the program.

Number of staff involved

Three staff members were involved in the pilot program. Dennis Hemphill managed the project, while the Biomechanics unit coordinator, Kevin Ball, and the Eltham College Mathematics teacher, Jonathon Ashley, were responsible for lab preparation, supervision and evaluation.



Key Words

Biomechanics; Sports Science; Mathematics; Physical Education; Secondary School; High School; Learning in the Workplace and Community

The Maths in Motion program is part of an emerging partnership between Victoria University and Eltham College of Education. The pilot program was developed in accordance with the Universitys Making VU initiative, which mandates an increase in Learning in the Workplace and Community programs across all courses at the University.

The program aimed to create valuable teaching and learning experiences for undergraduate Sports Biomechanics students at Victoria University and Year 9 Mathematics students at Eltham College of Education. The Victoria University students designed two sport movement analysis labs, then worked in small project teams with Eltham College of Education students to explain procedures, conduct the experiment and analyse the data.

Structure of program

In the pilot program 3-4 Victoria University and 3-4 Eltham College of Education students were required to work in project teams that tested and analysed movement skills. Two types of labs were organised and conducted for these purposes:

In the balance testing lab, the Victoria University Sports Biomechanics students acted as lab technicians by setting up the testing site, then as scientists to conduct the testing on each Eltham College student. Once the results from the tests were gathered, Victoria University students acted as mentors to help the Eltham College students understand the testing process and analyse the data. The specific tasks which Victoria University students were required to undertake included:

In the Video Analysis Lab, the tasks for Sports Biomechanics students included:

The program enabled Victoria University students to refine their sports biomechanics knowledge and skills in a hands-on manner; and develop their ability to mentor and communicate their knowledge and skills to Eltham College secondary school students. For Eltham College students, the program provided the opportunity for students to act as experimental subjects in movement testing procedures and learn methods to analyse their own data. Further, the program enabled the secondary school students to make direct links between mathematics/physics and real-life situations, as well as make links between mathematics/physics and career opportunities in sport sciences disciplines and physical education.

The Sports Biomechanics students were assessed on the basis of written lab plans and data analysis reports, which were worth 40% of the overall unit grade. Data sets collected from the Eltham College students were used for teaching and learning purposes for the Year 9 Mathematics students who were not part of the pilot project.

Special features
It is anticipated that, when implemented in 2009, the program will be a success given the achievements of the pilot program. Anecdotal feedback by Victoria University students participating in the pilot was generally positive. One student commented that the program had made the student think on my feet more. Another student stated felt she had more accountability and ownership of her work as a consequence of the program. Still another student commented that the program had consolidated his knowledge of material learned in the labs.

The Eltham College students also made positive statements about the program. One student commented that the learning experience proved a more engaging way of learning. Another commented that being able to analyse themselves was a good thing. Results from a survey administered by the Eltham College Mathematics teacher responsible for the program showed means ranging from 3 4.4 (1=strongly disagree; 5 =strongly agree) on questions related to enjoyment, increased learning, career awareness, learning about motion, suitability, and wanting more information.

The benefits of the pilot were also evident in its selection for the VU Diamond Data Base, a Victoria University publication which showcased innovative teaching and learning practices across the University.

Future work
The Maths in Motion program will be embedded in the new Biomechanics for Physical Education unit in the Bachelor of Applied Science-Physical Education (Secondary) in 2009. The new core unit will see 100 to 120 Eltham College students accommodated in 5-6 lab groups to work with Victoria University students.

Based on feedback and general assessments of the pilot program, areas in which the program can be improved include:

There will also be a number of logistical details and workload issues to address when coordinating large groups of Eltham College and Victoria University across campuses.

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