Two Tintern students take out National Maths prize


Gavin Choong (Year 9) and Ashleigh Dowling (Year 7) have each won the overall prize for their year level in the National Maths Talent Quest.

Ashleigh Dowling won the Best Year 7 Individual Project in Australia at the Maths Talent Quest for her Sierpinski Triangle project which drew widespread excitement among the judges. 

Gavin Choong won joint best Year 9 Individual Project in Australia for his novel, Alice in f(x). It is a beautiful story and includes lots of maths.

Both Ashleigh and Gavin won the Victorian state prize for their projects. We do not believe any school has ever had two students both win state prizes, let alone winning the overall National Maths Talent Quest!

Maths Talent Quest encourages students to look at real life situations and find that mathematics is everywhere. The Maths Talent Quest allows students to investigate mathematics on an individual, group or class basis with the opportunity to have fun exploring mathematics.

 First held in 1982, the Maths Talent Quest (MTQ) is an annual activity open to all primary and secondary students. This year there were over 550 entries from Victoria.

The maths program at Tintern is incredibly strong and we are fortunate to be blessed with a number of inspiring teachers who are engaging their students in cutting edge Mathematics. In particular, Ms Tillyer is to be commended on her work in mentoring the students in the Maths Talent Quest.

Ashleigh and Gavin will be presented with their medals at a special ceremony in the coming weeks. Congratulations to them both! Below they have written in further detail about their projects and winning this prestigious competition. 


For my Math Talent Quest project, I wrote a story called ‘Alice in f(x)’ which was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novel. The story is about a young girl called Alice who was orphaned at a young age, and, through math, attempts to try and get her parents back. The story covers a variety of mathematical functions, proofs and formulae; from calculating maximum volumes to finding the formula for the nth Fibonacci term. 

When I received the email that I won the National prize, I was completely shocked! I verified with my teachers and at that point, I felt very excited and happy. At the same time, I was extremely grateful towards the teachers who organised the event and gave me the opportunity to enter; namely, Ms Julie Tillyer and Mrs Anthea Watkins and I thanked them after hearing about my project’s success.

I enjoy math because it is a useful subject and relates to everyday life. In the future, I would like to combine my interests for mathematics with my passion for physics (specifically, Astrophysics) and possibly make new discoveries and advancements for the human race.


My project was based on the mathematics behind the famous fractal, Sierpinski’s Triangle. My goal was to devise a set of formulae to determine the number of triangles that made up Sierpinski’s Triangles at different stages. I managed to achieve this goal.

When I found out that I had won the state round of judging, I was shocked and excited. But winning the national competition was something that I never could have imagined and I am greatly honoured and thrilled.

Maths is a passion of mine, and I love the sense of satisfaction after solving a difficult problem. I particularly enjoy looking at patterns and the relationships between all different aspects of mathematics, which never fail to astound me.  



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