Five pupils from Saint Olave’s School attended a series of six Maths Masterclass sessions on Saturday mornings at Bromley High School, organised by the Royal Institution, where they learnt extra-curricular Maths. They were taught about:
Mathematical modelling and how to predict the pattern of forest fires;
Projective geometry and the patterns of light travelling through a glass panel;
Infinite sequences and how to estimate the area of circles using rectangles;
How to easily solve a maze puzzle and find the shortest route through a set of points;
Cyphers and how to encrypt a message;
A brief history of maths since the Stone Age;
and much more throughout the six sessions.
The Maths Masterclasses concluded with a visit to the Royal Institution for a Celebration Day where over 300 pupils from across London and the South-East received talks on “How Maths can cure epidemics” and “Different forms of paradoxes”, held in the Faraday Theatre where the Christmas Lectures are held, and where Scientists have presented their latest discoveries to audiences for over 200 years. The pupils were also given a chance to explore the Faraday Museum and see Michael Faraday’s laboratory exactly as it was in the 1850s.
The parents who attended the Celebration Day were put through some Maths exercises in the morning session led by Charlie Gilderdale from the Cambridge NRICH team, which included cryptarithms (a mathematical puzzle where the digits in a sum have been replaced by letters), Frogs (how to swap different colour frogs around so that they end up opposite where they began) and Reach 100 (finding all combinations of four numbers in a square that add up to 100). These puzzles are meant for up to age 14 but most parents seemed suitably challenged!
The NRICH project (“N-Royal Institution-Cambridge-H) started in 1996 with an overriding philosophy to encourage school mathematicians of all ages to have fun and improve the breadth and depth of their knowledge before considering a career in Maths. They also run a STEP support program to help prospective Maths undergraduates prepare for entry into Cambridge and other universities.
As a treat in the afternoon Mike Fletcher, a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, led the parents in a session on probability and game theory using a real-life episode of Play Your Cards Right, an ITV gameshow that ran periodically from 1980-2003.
The whole series of Masterclasses and the visit to the Royal Institution were thoroughly enjoyed by all students and parents that took part, and we would like to thank Miss Vasileva and the Royal Institution for giving us this great opportunity.