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Yvonne Scott, AC for Bracknell Forest, Hampshire, Reading, Slough, Surrey, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton contact

90 excited Year 10 students arrived at Wellington College, Crowthorne, for a one day conference. The purpose of the day was to give students an insight into maths and its applications in a way not usually seen in school, and to raise their awareness of taking maths after GCSE.

The day started with the group being split into two to visit workshops – cryptography run by the enigma that is Laurence O’Toole, whilst an enthusiastic Cath Moore modelled the stock market. The cryptography workshop got a big thumbs up from the students who enjoyed the competitive element and the challenge of solving the codes in groups. The final challenge of the workshop remained unsolved on the day – perhaps a code too far?

In the Stock Market challenge, students were surprised in the opening task when what they thought were good odds left them bankrupt! This did mean that they thought more carefully about the more complex model they were shown next, and several commented that making money was more long-term than they had previously considered. This was really enjoyed by students and made some think about careers in the financial sector.

After an amazing lunch, the students were transported into a mathemagical wonderland of puzzles and mazes guided by The Mad Hatter, aka Jeff Trim. The puzzles and mazes were all part of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and the hidden Maths in Alice in Wonderland. Students were mesmerised by Jeff’s singing and the amazing maths they had not known about in the book.

The most commented on part of the day was the final session, “10 reasons to choose maths”, presented by Jeff Trim. Student feedback on this showed that it had made more than 50% of the students rethink their choices for Year 12 as they had not previously realised how much maths would support their other studies or career choices.

It was an interesting and informative day for the students and teachers. I’d like to thank the presenters, for their enthusiasm and great presenting skills, Wellington College for their great hospitality and Tracy Baker for organising such a fantastic event.

For the schools in Berkshire that have already booked onto our next ‘Taking Maths Further’ day in March, you and your students are in for a treat! If you have missed this opportunity but would like your students to know more about the reasons for choosing maths, then these can be arranged for single schools for individual classes or year groups. Contact your local AMSP Area Coordinator to find out more.

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