Over the last two years, we have worked with a number of universities on the National Collaborative Outreach Programme - delivering engaging and aspirational workshops to more than 2,500 students from Years 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Through maths programmes including The Trading Game, Selling Maths and The Bunker, business studies’ initiatives like The Priorities Game and such literacy interventions as CSI: Reading Skills, we have worked closely with Aim Higher, Higher Horizons, University College Birmingham and Aston, Birmingham, Harper Adams, Keele and Staffordshire Universities to help students explore the relevance and importance of core subjects, challenge them to “go beyond the curriculum” and remind them of the potential of higher education to transform lives.
“I wanted to get in touch to thank you so much for the sessions you delivered last Thursday. They went down extremely well and students were overwhelmingly positive about them and the teachers also rated your session as their top one of the day!” University Outreach Programme, Keele University
Popular workshops include:
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).
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.
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to Chris for delivering the sessions at Cheadle. The workshops were absolutely brilliant and I have already passed the contacts for As creatives on to our other hubs so they will be contacting you very soon to book in!” Higher Horizons, Staffordshire University
Number Patterns: The Bunker (Y8 - Y12)
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
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!
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.
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.