The use of digital technology has become ubiquitous in our daily lives and will continue to grow as our understanding of AI and its capabilities evolve almost exponentially. So it’s not surprising that teachers are under increasing pressure to include technology in our classrooms. With a bit of exploration and creativity (and a sense of adventure) we can soon discover that there are many ways that digital technology can become a pivotal resource in our lessons.

Digitech and mathematics, for instance, are a match made in heaven for primary school classrooms. Depending on how we use digital technologies, we can enhance our students’ procedural knowledge (that is, to get quick and accurate answers) or create learning experiences that result in deeper thinking (Goos, 2010) and develop skills identified as needed for the future.

Let’s start by looking at the DigiTech curriculum, how it marries with the mathematics learning area, and what this means for our classrooms. As we know, maths is fundamental to the creation and use of technology, so it’s not surprising that there are a broad range of cross curricular opportunities between DigiTech and Maths. Data is a point of strong connection between digital technology and mathematics. Linking digital technologies with mathematics can teach our students the knowledge, understanding and skills that are needed for pattern and data visualisation, while focusing on how digital systems represent data.

To paraphrase the Australian Curriculum, teaching the collection and interpretation of data is core across Foundation to Year 6, including numeric data (e.g. data counted in whole numbers) and categorical data (e.g. symbols and charts). How data is represented is also key and refers to the way data is symbolised, visually treated or provided in audio (Australian Curriculum, 2021).

This goes some way towards explaining why computational thinking (i.e. the problem-solving process that involves expressing problems and their solutions in ways that can be executed by digital systems) and algorithms (the sequential, step by step instructions [similar to a recipe] that instruct a computer what to do) fit within the context of the Mathematical concepts of Patterns (arguably a form of data recognition, collection, visualisation and representation) and Algebra (i.e. the use of symbols to represent numerical data in a logical step-by-step process).

Practical Lessons Ideas

So let’s look at how we can incorporate mathematics and DigiTech into three practical lessons ideas. In our examples we will be using the Kubo robot. For those unfamiliar with Kubo this post outlines the basics – Getting Started with KUBO

Lesson for Foundation to Year 2

In KUBO visits the Amusement Park, the children need to map out an amusement park and take KUBO around the park visiting every attraction and ride. They start by identifying the rides and the kind of attractions they want to include in their amusement park. Once they have initially mapped out their amusement park, lay the TagTiles® on the map, starting at A1 to show the route KUBO takes to visit the first attraction (e.g. the carousel). The students will need to count the steps that KUBO will take in order to go from A1 to the ride. The students then need to decide the next attraction that KUBO will visit (maybe the lucky dip or the laughing clowns to win a teddy bear?). Lay out the route from the ride to the attraction, counting KUBO’s steps and practice turning left and right. To make it more interesting, get the children to come up with a challenge that KUBO must do to win a teddy bear.

Lesson for Year 3-4

In Math-Match-Me students will work in pairs to give and receive directions to create matching code. Both students will have a blank coordinate grid (can be downloaded from… ). The partners will be facing each other with a divider between their coordinate grids to keep from seeing the grids. One partner will place Event TagTiles® randomly around their coordinate grid. When the student has the grid arranged, he/she will create a story to take KUBO to all spots on the grid. The student must give the directions to their partner. The partner must create a code to help KUBO get to the events on his/her own board. When the partners are ready, they can check their work and send KUBO on both courses to see if they match.

Lesson for Year 5-6

In Story Problems, students work in pairs to create story problems for KUBO to act out. The problems should incorporate math topics such as basic computations, ratios, fractions, and time. After students write the story problems, they create the code for KUBO to solve each problem. An example might be KUBO is running laps around the school. In order to receive the physical fitness award at school, KUBO needs to run for 10 minutes without stopping. Approximately how many laps around the school will KUBO complete? Students create code for one lap around the school and time KUBO to see how long that takes. They convert 10 minutes into seconds and then divide the amount of time it takes KUBO to run around the school into 60 seconds to calculate the number of laps needed. For example, if it takes 20 seconds to go around the school once, use the following: 600 seconds / 20 seconds = 30 laps.

Where to from here?

If you’re feeling inspired and are keen to take this to the next level, we recommend having a look through these resources.