scienceXart: spot the maths

To celebrate mathematics and its prominence in science and society, the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Mathematical Sciences is hosting scienceXart: spot the maths, a photographic competition for school students of all ages. A  collaboration with reSolve and supported by the Australian Mathematical Society and the Statistical Society of Australia, this initiative is part of the Academy’s celebration of the International Mathematical Union’s Centennial.

Open for entries from 28 June to 25 September, the competition engages students with the mathematical sciences and highlights the inherent creativity of maths.

On this page:

An opportunity for exploration and engagement

This is a fantastic opportunity for primary and secondary students to explore and engage with the maths all around us. The Academy will share inspiration for entries via social media and its website so keep an eye out for the maths that we are spotting too!

Be creative, spot the maths that is all around you. Photos can be set up in advance, but you might also spot some maths on your way to school or around your house.

Developed in consultation with leading Australian mathematicians, including from the Academy’s National Committee for Mathematical Sciences, and tailored to align with Australian curriculum learning outcomes under expert guidance from the Academy’s reSolve project, the competition would be great for learning at home or part of an in-class project.  Check out the classroom resource, our reSolve team has produced for ideas here. The resource guides the class through the process of spotting maths and writing mathematical descriptions of their photographic findings.

The reSolve team has outlined all the curriculum links for the scienceXart: spot the maths competition for Foundation to Year 10. Please download the curriculum links here.

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2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the International Mathematical Union. Founded in 1920 the IMU is a non-governmental and not-for-profit global scientific organisation dedicated to the promotion of international cooperation in mathematical sciences. Read more about the IMU.

The Academy is the adhering member to the IMU through the National Committee for Mathematical Science. The Academy meets the responsibilities and obligations that arise from membership to the IMU that include coordinating responses and submissions as well as nominations for executive committee positions and appointment of voting delegates to general assemblies.

Competition categories

The competition theme is ‘spot the maths.’. Get creative and have fun spotting the maths!

Theme: ‘Spot the maths’

Aim: To spot the maths in everyday life, catch a photograph of the maths and in 240 characters give a quick description of the maths that you have spotted.

Medium: A photo and a 240-character description explaining the maths that is spotted in the picture. Individual entries (maximum three entries per person).

Entries will be judged on creativity, mathematic merit, and demonstration of impact through image and description. Prizes will be for the class of the winning entry.

There will be four school categories.

  • Foundation to Year 3
  • Year 4 to Year 6
  • Year 7 to Year 9
  • Year 10 to Year 12

How to enter

  • The competition is free to enter.
  • Only electronic entries will be accepted - upload link will be available from 28 June.
  • Students are invited to submit their own photos for this competition.
  • If you are a teacher wishing to submit the photos on behalf of your class please contact

and they will need to be uploaded via the link below.

Submit to scienceXart

The Terms and Conditions of entry can be found here.

Key dates

June 28, 2020 ­­– Entries open

September 25, 2020 – Entries close

Judging Panel

scienceXart entries will be judged by a high-level panel consisting of representatives of maths, education and art. The judging panel is:

Art Representative:

Representing art will be the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Karen Quinlan.

Maths Representatives:

Combining the expertise of the National Committee for Mathematical sciences and Australian science societies will be:

Education Representatives

The reSolve team, Ruqiyah Patel and Kristen Tripet will represent education.

Art Representative

Representing art will be the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Karen Quinlan.

The judges are excited to evaluate the creativity, mathematic merit, and demonstration of impact through image and description of the submissions.  

What’s the prize?

scienceXart is about showing the fun and creative side of science and mathematics. This competition will have prizes for both the winning photographer and their class. With classroom prize packs for second prize curated by the reSolve team and supported by the Australian Mathematical Society.

First Prizes

Category winners will receive a prize pack for themselves as well as a prize for their whole class! These prizes have been curated in close partnership with reSolve to bring together art and maths.

Foundation to Year 3 – Cubetto

Cubetto are robots for early learning that encourage students to problem solving and engage with technology through code without the need for reading comprehension. The bright colours and storytelling potential makes every play session with Cubetto a unique and memorable adventure.

Year 4 to Year 6 – Micro:bits

Micro:bits are tiny computers that come packed with accessories. Through block coding or Python, students can program their Micro:Bit to do a variety of tasks including make a pet, create a game or even a weather station. Micro:bits inspire young people to be creative and innovative as they code and design whatever they desire!

Year 7 to Year 9 - CoDrone

The CoDrone with added Camera (FPV) Kit is a programmable drone that requires assembly. Students will gain skills in both assembling, programming and flying a drone, providing opportunities to learn while doing and applying their knowledge of design, technology and geospatial coordination.

Year 10 to Year 12 – 3D Printer

With a 3D printer students combine their knowledge of maths and art in an innovative and creative way through both physical and digital prototyping and fabrication. Students will gain skills in 3D modelling, design, user considerations and scaling while being able to create a physical prototype.

Second Prize

The second prize for all categories will be a $100 prize pack of learning resources that combine maths and art curated by the reSolve team. This prize pack will be tailored to the winning student’s classroom to make for an engaging and fun package of learning resources.

Statistics Prize

This competition is being run in collaboration with the Statistical Society of Australia. To celebrate and encourage creativity in statistics there will be a special prize for entries that include statistics.

The winner will receive a prize pack for their class curated by the Statistical Society of Australia. This pack will include engaging learning resources that seek to combine statistics and art.

Inspiration for spotting the maths

The Academy will be releasing inspiration for this competition to help you get creative with your submissions. Keep an eye out on the Academy’s social media and website for inspiration to spot the maths.

Inspiration for spotting the maths

Lesson and curriculum resources

The reSolve team has produced a resource to support scienceXart: spot the maths. In this lesson, students think about the mathematics contained within a photograph. Find the resource here.

The reSolve team has outlined all the curriculum links for the scienceXart: spot the maths competition for foundation to year 10. Please download the curriculum links here.

SSA National Schools Poster Competition

The Statistical Society of Australia is also a part of the National Schools Poster Competition.

Entries for the SSA National Schools Poster Competition are now open!

This competition is a fun, project-based learning activity which encourages primary and secondary school students to develop, implement and creatively report upon an investigation on any topic of interest to them for great prizes!

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science