Year 10s Visit Maths Department

Dr Colin Wright at the Year 10 Maths ConferenceGCSE Maths students from nine schools in Birmingham and Solihull visited The Sixth Form College, Solihull at the end of term to explore mathematics and its many everyday applications, as the annual Year 10 Solihull Mathematics Conference took place.

Year 10 students from Arden, Arthur Terry, Plantsbrook, Queensbridge, St Benedicts, St Edmund Campion, St Martin’s, Tudor Grange and Waverley Schools attended the full-day event, which was supported by the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP). The annual event aims to inspire and enthuse students with mathematics, by way of a variety of talks and practical workshops. These sessions involved interesting and diverse applications of mathematics, including the mechanics behind “maths magic” and mathematical puzzles in a “Fun Maths Roadshow”.

The keynote speaker was Dr Colin Wright, who delivered an entertaining lecture on “Patterns and Predictions” related to the unexpected mathematics of juggling. An Australian native, Dr Wright has a doctorate from the University of Cambridge and during his time there also learnt how to fire-breath, unicycle, juggle and ballrooms dance! He is a full-time speaker in outreach and enhancement, describing himself as, “a torturer of adults and a confuser of children”. With a witty delivery and lots of juggling, he kept the Year 10 students entertained.

The interactive workshops were delivered by Derek Couzens and Christine Watson from AMSP. Derek Couzens showed the students the mathematics behind what at first glance seems to be a whole series of magic tricks, while Christine Watson had a series of games and puzzles for the students to try in the Fun Maths Roadshow.

Isabel Cooper, Mathematics teacher at the College and organiser of this event, said:

“This is the 13th year of running this event at the College and it was one of our best attended events ever. I’m grateful to the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme for their support, as well as our guest lecturers for giving up their time to deliver workshops. The visiting students were well-behaved, polite and participated with enthusiasm and interest in all the activities. Many said that the event helped them to appreciate how important Mathematics is in everyday life, and how it is a key to future employment.”

Curriculum Leader for Maths, Scott Fisher, added:

“It’s always a pleasure to see so many keen Maths students visiting for this event. These Year 10 students will be making applications for their sixth form places next term and I hope this event has made them want to continue with their Maths studies at A level. I hope to see many of them at an open day in the Autumn.”

5 July 2019