When we returned to school in September, getting used to the new routines and restrictions may have seemed like enough of a challenge but, as we all adjust, is there room for a little more enrichment in our students’ mathematical diets? Trips to lectures, workshops and exhibitions may still be off the table for most, but the opportunities for extracurricular maths without leaving the classroom have multiplied.
The AMSP’s two new online enrichment events, How much is too much? and Race to the target! debuted in October, giving students in schools around the region (and the country) the chance to ’play’ with some interesting maths with links to further study. The sessions are aimed at Year 10s who may go on to study maths post-GCSE, and are free to attend. Each session will have a couple more outings this term, scheduled for different times of the day and days of the week, to fit as many schools’ timetables as possible. You can view further information and apply for How much is too much?’ and Race to the target! on the AMSP website.
Meanwhile, Maths Inspiration has also begun a series of events this term, some of which are aimed at KS4 and others at KS5. In September, they re-ran their Games & Waves show for KS4 which had been very popular in the summer. October saw the first sixth form show, Surprising Connections, featuring Rob Eastaway, Katie Steckles, Susan Okereke, Ben Sparks, and Matt Parker as host. Still to come this term are sixth form shows on the applied strands of A level Mathematics: statistics and mechanics, and GCSE events in November and December, with US-crossover and Christmas themes respectively. You can view more information on the Maths Inspiration website.
Other organisations have got in on the act as well, especially during Maths Week England, which is taking place from 9-14 November 2020. Stempoint East ran a STEM Inspiration Week including a full day of maths workshops, and universities such as Oxford and Manchester and organisations like the IMA have moved their public lectures online. As a teacher myself, I have promoted the events which take place out of school time to my students and their parents, and I have organised live attendance of the events which have taken place during the day. We have missed some of the ambience of waiting in a crowded theatre for a show or lecture to start and seeing the other excited attendees, but I haven’t missed booking and driving a minibus, collecting contributions for train fares, or missing most of the day’s lessons for an hour or two of enrichment. At least for the time being, the advantages of online enrichment sessions, not least the great variety of events accessible to all regardless of location, seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
If you are looking for something a bit more bespoke, the AMSP has a wide range of resources which you can use in your own way in your own classroom, or which you can direct your students to. We provide enrichment resources and Level 3 taster lessons on our website. You can also ask your local Area Coordinator for advice, or even ask them to livestream some enrichment direct to your students at a time to suit you.