We know that it's often important for secondary schools to offer activities to whole year groups - and we understand, too, the logistical difficulties that this can bring. So we've designed Big Maths Days that allow up to 240 students to carousel around a number of very different creative Maths workshops in the course of one day.
Different configurations are available for differently sized schools, so please ask, as we’d be delighted to design a Big Maths Day for you!
Our specially designed combinations of workshops, all of which are differentiated for age, offer students opportunities to ...
- Use maths in context
- Consider how mathematical advances have shaped our world
- Practise a range of number-based skills and operations
- Develop their understanding of shape
- Consider notions of "value" and realise that "value" can change
- Engage in strategic problem-solving activities
Big Maths Days work by selecting up to four of the following creative maths activities:
CSI: Michaela Maths
Combining football, murder mysteries and problem-solving, CSI: Michaela Maths is one of the most popular programmes, offering pupils an opportunity to apply their skills and understanding of shape and measurement in a unique environment. If it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of one of her teammates, Michaela Maths, one of Britain’s most promising young athletes, would be dead – slain by an unseen hand! The police are baffled by the crime and want the pupils’ help in solving it. Having been introduced to the crime, the suspects and their possible motives, students will work in teams on a carousel probing a range of mathematical skills. Taken together, these lead to the suspects being eliminated, one by one – until, if all the calculations are correct, the criminal is unmasked.
CSI: Bake Off
All is not well in the world of the Bake Off – one of the judges, Saul Pinewood, has had food poisoning – and he knows it wasn’t an accident! He’s narrowed the field down to six suspects – and hopes that pupils can use their understanding of fractions, percentages and measurements to help him take the final step.
“Students and staff alike really enjoyed the workshops you provided, finding them engaging and stimulating – as well as ‘challenging’ and ‘not that easy’!” Deputy Headteacher, Whitmore High School
Which discovery had more impact on the world – the concept of zero or the ratio characterised by pi? Which development led to the most advances – the binary system or the Fibonacci sequence? And which invention was the more eventful – the abacus or the yes/no gate? This intriguing workshop sees students addressing such questions themselves as, taking on the role of Maths Ambassadors, they plan, prepare and perform presentations that pitch given Maths Moments as the most important of all time. And, in a mathematical twist on The X Factor, they get to vote on the winner …
“It was by far our most popular event during maths week. The students enjoyed the competitiveness of the trading game, it was great for their group and negotiating skills. The delivery and hosting of the activity was superb.” Langholm Academy
The Trading Game
The Trading Game provides students with opportunities to think about maths in some very different ways. Working in an ever-shifting environment, they’ll come to understand that “value” can be a concept that changes depending on circumstances, that the ability to prioritise is an essential mathematical skill, and that the properties of 2D shapes allow them to be arranged in a variety of ways.
Working in small groups, each representing a different country, students first participate in warm-up activities – specifically designed to both support the development of team skills and get them thinking about shapes. The Trading Game itself begins – and the reason for its title quickly becomes clear as the teams realise that the only way they can succeed is by negotiating with other countries. The more they produce, the more points they get – and there are plenty of opportunities to win bonus points by answering explicitly mathematical questions (pitched at an appropriate level, after discussions with you).
And while the Game has its own intrinsic merit, of course, its greater value lies in the follow-up – where students are facilitated through a process allowing them to identify and categorise the skills they have had to use.
Fast, furious and fantastically engaging, The Trading Game workshop can accommodate up to 60 pupils at a time and can last anything from a double lesson to half a day – and require a large space, equipped with a data projector and screen. The Game can be conducted in a single lesson – but, in order to give the students a fuller experience, we prefer double that time. And, in addition to the “standard” format outlined above, we have developed variations that feature geographical, economic and ethical dimensions too.
"Thank you to you and your team for running such an engaging, challenging and successful event!" Aim Higher, Birmingham
Testing pupils' skills in pattern analysis, problem-solving and prioritisation, this intriguing workshop invites them to work to a tight budget in planning for an expedition to the rain forest. Have they made the right decisions? The proof will be in the pudding as they go on to tackle a series of unpredictable challenges at the airport, on the trek to camp - and in the forest itself.
Exploring: additive and multiplicative reasoning, prioritisation, problem-solving.
Number Patterns: The Bunker
Inspired by the work of Alan Turing and his fellow mathematicians at Bletchley Park (work that, it’s generally agreed, shortened World War II by a good couple of years), The Bunker is based in cryptology – the writing and reading of codes. Appealing to all age and ability ranges, The Bunker has a simple premise. Working in teams, and at their own pace, students need to identify as closely as possible the location of an Enemy Radio Transmitter by cracking a series of increasingly fiendish numeric, geometric and semiotic ciphers. The more codes they crack, the more precisely they’ll be able to pin the Transmitter down.
The Bunker has been so successful over the years that we've now developed the most challenging version so far (for those who wish to take it!). Calling on participants to manipulate numbers, geometrics and abstract symbols, it's ideal for high-ability mathematicians - and provides a perfect way of demonstrating just how far maths can take you!
Exploring (according to year group and time): number bonds, sequences and patterns, Rebus codes, ROT codes, ETA code-breaking.
— MathsAtStNicholas (@MathsatStNics) July 11, 2019
The Priorities Game
This thought provoking workshop sees students working in teams to create a series of budgets designed to fund an exciting new community initiative. The sting in the tail, though, is that each team will represent a different interest group, with, of course, different priorities. And whether the students are representing other young people of their own age, local businesses or police officers, they’ll have to bear those priorities in mind as they put maths in context by putting together “wish lists” based on limited budgets. They’ll be given the prices of some popular items (other costings being available on request!) and will be supported throughout by a structured planning scaffold - but they’ll also have to continually review their decisions in the light of rapidly changing events. At the end of the day, however, only one budget can be implemented - and it’ll be the power of teams’ final presentations that determines the outcome!
Exploring: maths in context, additive reasoning, multiplicative reasoning, fractions, percentages, teamwork, oracy
See our Workshops in Action!
— Maths @ St Paul's (@StPaulsMaths) October 14, 2019
— Ardingly College (@ArdinglyCollege) June 25, 2019
— Higher Horizons+ (@Higher_Horizons) October 14, 2019