Grade 12
The aims of all mathematics courses are to enable students to:

1. Enjoy mathematics, and develop an appreciation of the elegance and power of mathematics
2. Develop an understanding of the principles ad nature of mathematics
3. Communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts
4. Develop logical, critical and creative thinking and patience and persistence in problem solving
5. Employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalisation
6. Apply and transfer skills to alternative situations, to other areas of knowledge and to future developments
7. Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other
8. Appreciate the moral and social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the
applications of mathematics
9. Appreciate the international dimension in mathematics through an awareness of the universality of mathematics
and its multicultural and historical perspectives
10. Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines, and as particular “area of knowledge” in the
TOK course
The purpose of the exploration
The specific purposes of the exploration are to
• Develop students personal insight into the nature of mathematics and to develop their ability to ask
their own questions about mathematics
• Provide opportunities for student to complete a piece of mathematical work over an extended period of
• Enable students to experience the satisfaction of applying mathematical processes independently
• Provide student with the opportunity to experience for themselves the beauty, power and usefulness of
• Encourage students, where appropriate, to discover, use and appreciate the power of technology as a
mathematical tool
• Enable students to develop the qualities of patience and persistence, and to reflect on the significance
of their work
• Provide opportunities for students to show, with confidence, how they have developed mathematically.
Academic Honesty
Read the Academic Policy – available on Managebac (soon)
All work connected with the Exploration, including the writing of the exploration, should
be your own. Take ownership of your project. Be proud of your achievements.
You will receive help with your exploration. Teachers will be able to speak with you about your topic and
you will submit a first draft. Your teacher will be able to give you advice on how to improve your work
before submitting a final piece.
Authenticity may be checked by discussion with the student on the content of the ork, and scrutiny of
one or more of the following
• The students initial proposal
• The first draft of the written work
• The references cited
• The style of writing compared with work to be that of the student
You can choose from a wide variety of activities, for example

• Modelling
• Investigations
• Applications of mathematics

You will need to pick a topic that you are interested in and want to explore. To help you pick a topic you should
keep a journal of areas that interest you. You will have an opportunity to discuss your ideas with your teacher so
that you refine your final topic for exploration.
When studying topics in class make notes in your journal of possible mathematical links to your ideas.
Add entries in your journal that show how you could apply aims 6-9 of the course to areas that interest you.
Your journal can take any form – blog, notebook, word document, video, audio – it must be a format that you
feel comfortable using. (You had to do this for your personal project so should be aware of the type of thing)
Cite any references in your journal of things you read, watch or listen to. Discuss the usefulness of the source
and why you found it interesting.
Assessment Criteria Maximum Score
Criterion A: Communication 4
Crietrion B: Mathematical presentation 3
Criterion C: Personal Engagement 4
Criterion D: Reflection 3
Criterion E: Use of mathematics 6
Assessment criteria – Investigations that are assessed during the course will also use these criteria so
that you can familiarise yourself with how the criteria are applied.
Writing the mathematical exploration
The emphasis is on mathematical communication (including formulae, diagrams, graphs and so on), with
accompanying commentary, good mathematical writing and thoughtful reflection.
The final report should be 6-12 pages long. It can be either word processed or handwritten. Students should be
able to explain all stages of their work in such a way that demonstrates clear understanding. It should be written
in such a way that their peers would be able to follow it fairly easily. The report should include a detailed
bibliography, and sources need to be referenced in line with the IB academic honesty policy. Direct quotes must
be acknowledged.
It is the quality of the mathematical writing that is important, not the length.
The mathematics used should be commensurate with the level of the course, that is, it should be similar to that
suggested by the syllabus.
Students will not receive a grade for mathematics SL if the have not submitted an exploration
Now – Sept 2013 Look for ideas everywhere. Keep a diary/blog/journal of ideas or questions that could be
explored. List sources (videos, TV shows, websites, other courses) of information and what
interested you. This journal will be checked between now and September.
Summer holidays Complete a planning sheet that asks you to outline your idea, research how you will go
through your exploration.
September 2014 Examples of students work will be provided. A meeting will be scheduled with your teacher to
discuss your focus.
October 2014 Draft exploration. Some class time will be given to you however you will be expected to work
on it at home also. You may meet with your teacher to discuss your report
Friday November
Draft due to your teacher. You will receive comments on the strengths and weaknesses of
your exploration. You may meet with your teacher to discuss your report
Monday 19
Final due date for Exploration – this is NON-NEGOTIABLE. If you miss this deadline you will
need to start the whole thing again. You will then have to complete it all in your own time. It
is anticipated that the marks for the exploration will be given back to you after the mock
exams so that we can give predicted grades.
http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/ The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
http://plus.maths.org/content/ Plus magazine
http://www.m-a.org.uk/jsp/index.jsp The Mathematical Association

TV Shows and Videos
The Code
Dara O’Brien – The School of Hard Sums

Other courses and links
Physics – radioactive decay
Chemistry – Calculation of pH
Biology – Population Modeling
Economics – Supply and demand
TOK - How easy is it to lie with statistics? Gambling
TOK: How did Gauss add up the integers from 1 to 100? Discuss the idea of mathematical intuition as the basis for formal

TOK: Discuss the validity of the notion of “infinity” (finitists)
AIM 8: Pascal’s Triangle. Attributing the origin of a mathematical discovery to the wrong mathematician
TOK: How easy is it to lie with statistics?
Appl: Statistical calculations to show patterns and changes, geographical skills, statistical graphs
TOK: Can all data be modelled by a known mathematical function? Consider the reliability and validity of mathematical
models in describing real-life phenomena

TOK: To what extent does mathematics offer models of real life? Is there always a function to model behaviour?
AIM 8: Newton or Leibnitz?
AIM 8: Vector theory is used for tracking displacement of objects, including for peaceful and harmful purposes.
Appl: Physics - kinematics