Students at a Brisbane Catholic college are learning about risk and return by placing imaginary bets on Doomben horse races.
The Australian reports the girls from Mt St Michael's College in Brisbane were each given an imaginary $50 to spend over four hours at the Doomben racetrack while their teacher amused himself placing some bets of his own.
In coming weeks they will learn about casino gambling.
The exercise, aimed at improving the students' skill at maths, has outraged the Australian Family Association, which has accused the school of leading children astray.
But Jim Dooley, a maths teacher at the inner-west Brisbane school, said the 16 and 17 year olds would learn how to bet responsibly.
"The main objective of this is for the girls to research a mathematics assignment based on risk and return," he said.
"It also shows them the sharp end of gambling when they see that most people don't get a return out of it."
But Australian Family Association state president Mark Holzworth said youngsters should not be taught to think gambling was acceptable.
"There is no way we can endorse this method of alternate learning," he said.
"There are creative ways of teaching children maths skills and life skills, but this is pushing the fringe further than it needs to be pushed.
Anger as schoolgirls get maths lesson at Doomben Races (The Australian, 7/8/08)