Our Creative Maths workshops for secondary schools have been carefully designed to both put into context and actively promote the three keystones of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem-solving. Tapping into pupils’ own creativity, our unashamedly fun workshops engage, motivate and, crucially, challenge the young people we work with.
Situated in “fictional worlds”, our workshops offer opportunities to practice skills with numbers, shapes and concepts in exciting, imaginative and interactive ways. All are differentiated for age – while some also offer the possibility of differentiating for ability within a single year group. And all, of course, offer you and your colleagues the chance to experience some exciting new methodologies that can immediately and easily be adapted to other contexts.
And, to fully capitalise on the new approaches you’ll have seen in action, why not end your day with a Creative Maths Twilight for staff? Our CPD programmes are highly experiential and outcomes-driven, so you’ll have a chance to unpick what you’ve witnessed, try out some more new methodologies and take part in active, collaborative planning. And, by booking this at the end of a day of our workshops with pupils, you’ll get it all for a fraction of the usual price!
A challenging mystery to engage your students and get them thinking logically
There are two CSI: Maths programmes to choose from. Each can accommodate up to 30 pupils at a time, takes between 1 - 2 lessons and can be differentiated by year group at KS3 and KS4...
CSI: Michaela Maths
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.
Exploring: additive and multiplicative reasoning; recognition and application of number patterns; mental and written calculations; manipulation of 2D shapes; calculating areas and/or volumes; presenting and interpreting data.
Duration: 1 – 2 lessons, depending on how many classes
Suitable For: up to 30 pupils at a time
"The pupils had to use/develop perseverance, team work, time management communication skills and participation skills. They enjoyed “seeing Maths in a different light” and using and applying maths skills without realising at times that they were." (Maths Teacher, Hillside High School)
"The maths staff were unainmously of the opinion that this was one of the best maths workshops we have had. Jackson was an excellent presenter... his enthusiasm for maths was infectious and I particularly liked his emphasis on looking at the wider benefits of developing maths skills. i.e. identifying patterns, seeing that maths isn’t just numbers, problem-solving. We will definitely look to be using you again in future." (KS3 Mathematics Coordinator, Notre Dame School, Cobham)
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.
Exploring: collecting, collating, presenting and interpreting data; mean, median and mode; fractiles and percentiles.
Suitable for: up to 30 pupils at a time.
Duration: 1 – 1½ hours, depending on how many classes
“The students were constantly challenged and the puzzles drew from a wide range of mathematical areas. Thanks for the hard work, I’ll be sure to use as creatives again in the future!” (KS3 Maths Co-ordinator, Archbishop Beck Sports College)
"A huge thank you! Many of the students involved said it was one of their favourite parts of the week. I will be recommending as creatives to colleagues in other departments and schools without a doubt!" (Kingsway School)
Number Patterns: The Bunker
A fast-paced workshop contextualising sequencing and making connections between maths and other subjects
At the heart of maths, of course, lies the ability to identify, analyse and predict patterns. so, inspired by the work of Alan Turing and his fellow mathematicians at Bletchley Park during World War II, 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 relationships, empirical thinking, properties of 2D shapes, sequences and patterns, Rebus codes, Saesar Shifts, Key words and semiotics.
Duration: 2 lessons – half a day
Suitable for: up to 30 pupils at a time
“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
Interactive problem solving for up to 180 KS3 pupils (with follow-up workshops for up to 90)
It’s exactly 100 years to the day since the grisly demise of Puffing Billy – and this unique workshop allows up to 180 pupils from KS3 attempt to crack the case at the same time. After everyone’s been introduced to the crime scene, the victim and the suspects (and been armed with Evidence Booklets), we’ll reveal a series of clues – including blood stains, omnibus tickets and personal belongings. As pupils practice their maths skills, the suspects will be whittled down one by one – until only the criminal remains.
But there’s still more to do – because the identity of his or her accomplice has yet to be revealed. A job that will be undertaken in up to three follow-up workshops, each for up to 30 pupils.
Exploring (according to year group and time): measurements, number investigations, additive and multiplicative reasoning, time, positional language, properties of 2D and 3D shapes, problem-solving, angles, trajectories.
Duration: one day.
“With seventy Year 8's in the room, all engaged in activity, the room was buzzing - and every single one of them was doing maths!" Head of Maths, Pendale Vale College
“CSI: Maths was fun but challenging - exciting, active, different - and really enjoyable! We learnt new things, it made us think - and everyone was involved. It was amazing!" Year 7 Pupils, Weatherhead Media Arts College
A high energy activity that challenges students’ understanding of shape, probes concepts of “value” and asks them to cope with the unexpected!
Our high energy Trading Games provide 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, our popular Trading Game workshops 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.
Exploring: tessellation, changing values, problem-solving.
Duration: 2 lessons to two days, depending on how many classes
Suitable for: up to 60 pupils at a time
"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)
“The students really enjoyed getting up out of their seats and doing something different. They enjoyed seeing how they can use their maths skills in a different way. Highly recommend as creatives to work with students to engage them with mathematics and challenge themselves." (Maths Teacher, The Academy of St Nicholas)
Combining murder mysteries and problem solving, CSI: Maths is one of our best selling programmes in primary and secondary schools across the UK – offering pupils an opportunity to apply their skills in, and understanding of shape and measurement in a unique environment.