- Starter – 20 mins of tricky True/False questions, in which the team can work together.
- Main – A 20 min comprehension task in which the students had to work in pairs, not allowed to confer with the other pair. The theme was “tables of squares”, giving the students some idea of the difficulties previous generations of students had to go to before calculators were commonplace.
- Dessert – 20 mins. 6 problems. 4 full solutions required, worth 5 marks each.
- Petits Fours – A 16 question relay. Again the students work in pairs, with no conferring between pairs. The answer to one question (marked and corrected instantly) acted as an input to the next. This proved the most enjoyable round, and has given Mr Lewis plenty of ideas for his lessons – watch out 8yY!
As Christmas draws nearer, marking a major milestone in the progression of the school year, a group of enthusiastic Year 10 students turned their attention to their futures.
Now a well-established annual event, our students attended the Christmas Maths Lecture Series offered by the Further Maths Support Programme, an event designed to inspire the next generation of mathematicians by giving them a flavour of some higher level mathematics and where it could lead.
The series, held at the beautiful Teesside University Campus, consisted of two talks, given by two very enthusiastic and engaging presenters. The first talk looked at “Maths in the Movies”, in particular how companies use CGI and animations to create realistic effects in films. Some of these areas of maths are often studied at school, at Higher GCSE but especially at A-Level, and they are sometimes the focus of questions about real-life applicability. These techniques are invaluable in this industry, and also in designing computer games, and in fact mathematics is listed as essential for any budding effects specialist, even before programming and art.
The second talk explored the concept, history and development of numbers, prompting many thoughts, offering many insights and evoking many rounds of laughter. Some of the things that we take for granted, like negative numbers and zero, were not always part of everyday life let alone higher mathematics, and this talk challenged some of the preconceptions of the students present.
Overall our students were left with a small taste of the wider possibilities and grand sense of opportunity that being highly mathematically literate can lead to in addition to the satisfying sense of wonder that can come from studying mathematics to a higher level. Watch this space for future maths events and inspirations.
Recently a team of dedicated and talented young mathematicians took their enthusiasm on the road to participate in the Regional Heat of the Senior Mathematics Team Challenge.
Having enjoyed great success in the Individual Competition last month the quartet – Emily Jones, Nathan Hewitson, Tom Haigh and David Baxter – put their collective experience together to contest the team version of the annual event ran by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.
Flying through the first two rounds – the group event and the cross number – with excellent scores the team were on course to enjoy the Academy’s highest ever finish at the event before eventually being awarded a very respectable top-ten finish after the conclusion of a fiendish Relay.
Aided by the Further Mathematics Support Programme, who have provided our Academy with wonderful resources and enrichment opportunities, our students possessed the skills and experience necessary to compete with some of the sharpest mathematical minds in the region, meaning that they were very pleased with their performance.
There are many other upcoming events for other members of the Academy to test their mathematical mettle against the elite from other schools as well as enrich their knowledge, so please check the calendar for dates and details.
Photographs are courtesy of the Further Mathematics Support Programme.
Giving up a day off in the face of mathematical curiosity, a group of our Year 10 mathletes attended a high-paced activity-fuelled Mathsplosion event at the Centre for Life.
The event, ran by the Further Mathematics Support Programme and the Centre for Life Education Team, saw our students carousel through a variety of different workshops, leaving them with a taste of the endless beauty, inter-connectedness and possibility that studying maths has to offer.
One of the workshops was looking at patterns in magic squares and investigating ways to construct them before considering the implications of the four-colour theorem and looking at the patterns and mathematical properties behind some highly entertaining card tricks.
A stop in the planetarium set the scene for some intriguing insights into how using mathematics to solve problems in astro-navigation. In particular the session considered the problem that plagued seafarers for centuries, namely how to fix your position accurately anywhere around the globe. As it turns out the solution is based on fundamental mathematical ideas applied very creatively – and earned its originator a princely sum of money!
Another simple yet mind-boggling idea, the Möbius strip, was introduced, confounding students expectations of real-life geometry before they tried to apply the same principles bagels and chocolate spread, giving a more imaginative approach to the breakfast table.
Lastly the simple hexagon was looked at, particular into how it is a recurring theme across many areas of mathematics and crosses over into nature, leaving many in the audience with a greater appreciation of how mathematical ideas are not just fanciful but natural, too.
Overall the whole day was a wonderful experience and our students thoroughly enjoyed it, having worked hard to gain every insight.
On 29th January, 8yR visited the Life Science Centre for the annual Festival of Maths. The students had an amazing day getting to grips with the mathematics behind card tricks, gambling and a famous game show – amongst other things.
We were kept entertained in the circus of puzzles and the students thoroughly enjoyed getting into character for the river crossing problem. We even managed to squeeze in a turn on the 4d motion ride.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of all the staff and the PGCE students from Newcastle University our Year 8s have had a day to remember.
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On the 15th January over 100 students from Kibblesworth, Ravensworth, Birtley East and Portobello Primary Schools attended an exciting maths morning at the Academy. The students actively participated in data handling workshops where they were able to stretch and challenge themselves over a sequence of activities. The morning was such a success due to the students being so proactive in their approach to all of the work especially the ‘smarties investigation. ’Alongside Lord Lawson staff the students were helped by 20 PGCE students. It was fantastic to see such personalised learning taking place due to the amount of support from the aspiring teachers.
The PGCE students commented on how intelligent and well behaved all of the primary schools were. On being confronted by a completely open ended investigation one students very mature approach was to announce to her group, ‘There is only one way to answer this problem! We must tackle it in a systematic approach!’
There was a definite buzz around the Academy with the arrival of the Year 6s. It was great to see from the feedback that they enjoyed the morning just as much as we did!!!!
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