Faculty blog: Putting maths into context for our students

Earlier this month saw the first ever ‘Maths Week England’. Over 210,000 children took part across the country throughout the week, and National students got involved in it with a variety of activities and learning experiences.

The aim of the week was to raise the profile of mathematics throughout England, and allow children from all social and economic backgrounds to access and enjoy interesting mathematical concepts. The week showcased how to make maths accessible and enjoyable for all, including those people who thought it was simply a subject for ‘clever people’. To ‘love and enjoy’ is a worthy goal!

Our students watched interesting maths videos at the start of their lessons and really engaged with these; some students found the concepts so interesting that they went on to conduct their own reach into these. These videos put maths into a context, including how to mathematically cut up a cake (a real life skill there!!), how you can cut all of the letters of the alphabet with one single cut, how to win at Rock:Paper:Scissors, and different sizes of infinity. Teachers from the maths faculty voted evenly between the cake and paper cut theories as their favourite!
Students also had the chance to take part in some puzzles within their home group, and enter them into the whole academy competition.

One of our year 9 students commented: “The videos were great, and it was fascinating to see how maths can be applied to real world ideas. It fits into loads of places that I didn’t expect it to, and it was really funny when I went home and beat my dad at Rock:Paper:Scissors!”

A year 7 student added: “I found the lessons really interesting and exciting – I learned techniques that enabled me to beat my brother at the Nazir version of tic-tac-toe.”

The maths faculty also put on lunchtime sessions looking at the maths behind magic tricks (mathemagics!) Our next focus week is in March, with national Pi week. Can any student smash our record of remembering Pi to over 200 decimal places?

Click on the links here to find out how to win at Rock:Paper:Scissors, the secrets of three-board tic-tac-toe and the mathematical way to cut a cake!

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