Big Maths Days are a fantastic way of generating a real ‘maths buzz’ around the school, while actively signalling to students, teachers and parents alike the importance your school attaches to the subject. Because maths really matters!

Workshop Description

Maths
KS3/KS4/S1-S5
Multliple workshops throughout the day
Up to 240 students over the course of a day
Hall or Large Space required

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 (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5) to carousel around a number of very different creative Maths workshops in the course of one day.

*It is sometimes possible to accommodate larger numbers of students. If you would like to do this, please get in touch to discuss how this might work.

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 - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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 - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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

"The students highly enjoyed the workshops. The overwhelming feedback from the day was one of positivity, engagement and enjoyment in each and every aspect of the day. Moreover, the teachers also enjoyed being able to support students in their learning and found the sessions engaging.  Students gained a variety of skills including resilience, problem solving and mathematical teamwork. A fantastic day which was thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you so much!" Cambourne Village College

Selling Maths - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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

"We completed a student voice survey at the end of the day and I am pleased to say that the outcome showed that your activity was the favourite. The activity was delivered in an excellent manner showing a clear passion which enthused the pupils." Trading Game workshops, Sir John Nelthorpe School

 

The Trading Game - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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

 

Number Patterns: The Bunker - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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.

 

The Priorities Game - (KS3 / KS4  / S1 - S5)

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.

 

"Code breaking was great and teaching them to work together and being resilient and the maths world of work was good at getting them to think about Maths in the world of work and its many uses." George Green’s School

 

Maths and the World of Work (KS3/KS4/S1 – S5) 

Developed to support students in contextualising maths and understanding how important the subject is to their future prosperity, Maths and the World of Work opens with an energetic game unveiling the role maths plays in a wide variety of careers. Working in teams, the students are then guided through a process allowing them to interrogate the specific maths skills demanded by identified Career Sectors. And, in a visit to the realms of international discourse, they share their findings with each other through an “Ambassadors” activity! 

Exploring: maths in context, “functional” and “soft” maths, mathematical language 

FAQs

What is the format of the day?

Big Maths Days offer you a choice of up to 4 workshops, which groups of students ‘carousel’ around throughout the day, with all students taking part in all workshops. 

We will work with you to plan the perfect day of activity to suit your requirements. We can be completely flexible to fit around your school timetable or a plan an off-timetable day. Here is an example timetable for a year group of 180 students:

9.00 – 10.30: Group A - The Trading Game…Group B - The Bunker…Group C - The Priorities Game

10.45 – 12.15: Group A - The Priorities Game …Group B - The Trading Game…Group C - The Bunker

1.15 – 2.45: Group A - The Bunker …Group B - The Priorities Game…Group C - The Trading Game

 

 

Are there any technical requirements?

Your visitors will need access to a laptop/ screen/projector in each working space, so that students can view the supporting PowerPoint.

 

How many students can a Big Maths Day accommodate?

Big Maths Day workshops can all accommodate up-to 60 students. The number of workshops required – and the length of those workshops - depends on the number of students you would like to include:

Up-to 120 students - 2 x half-day workshops

Up-to 180 students - 3 x 90-minute workshops

Up-to 240 students – 4 x 75-minutes workshops

It is possible to accommodate larger numbers of students. If you would like to do this, please get in touch to discuss how this might work.

What space is required for a Big Maths Day?

Each workshop requires a space large enough to accommodate 60 students, such as a hall, drama studio or double classroom. School gyms are not suitable.

Related Workshops

The Bunker

Contextualising sequencing and making connections between maths and other subjects.

CSI: Maths

A series of challenging mysteries to engage your students and get them thinking logically! 

The Priorities Game

Working in teams -  and responding to change - to put maths in context.