‘What gives CIS students the ‘virtual spark’ in Maths and that light bulb moment….’

On Wednesday 24th January, Year 10 were very fortunate to go to the Further Mathematics Support Programme (FMSP) in ‘Applications of Mathematics’ held at Northampton University. There they took part in three spell-binding activities on the applications of Mathematics:

‘Can we tell the Future?’ with Prof Chris Budd from the University of Bath, who himself uses Mathematics to predicate the weather for the BBC. He was enthralling with his double pendulum which exhibits random movement (link)  and explanation of his definition of Mathematics as the understanding of order and pattern in the universe.

Phil Chaff’s presentation (FSMP) ”Hawkes and Doves: Adventures in Evolution’ included a very entertaining, interactive yet informative use of probability in evolution and, in particular, the calculation for an Evolutionary Stable Strategy, which enables looking for unusual behaviour to assess if a species is under threat.

Probably the most popular presentation was from Dr Richard Lisseman, of Warwick University, “From Google to Gaming’ who explained the use of Matrices for Google to gain the number one slot as a Search Engine and how vectors are used in graphic design and video games. This has enabled Year 10 to ask if they can use matrices to solve simultaneous equations in their IGCSE.

The fourth session enabled students to realise the sheer breadth of careers requiring a Maths degree or similar degrees for Operational Research. Ask those who won a key ring!

The reactions from the Year 10 students showed how much they had gained from the visit.  A few comments received are:

“I enjoyed learning how to do matrices, because it was a new way of using maths to solve simultaneous equations.”

“I really enjoyed the session ‘can we predict the future’ because you could see how maths can relate to real life.”

“I found the Dove & Hawkes talk very interesting, learning about how they predict the natural behavior of animals and how maths was involved.”

Meanwhile back at school, Year 8 became involved in using their skill in estimation by rounding to 1 significant figure and being aware of the last digit of the answer from a product of two numbers in a game trying to block their opponent in reaching a line of four.

Year 11 Statistics took on the challenge of predicting Mrs Pearce-Slade’s January 2018 Gas bill, using time series and trend lines. We will let you know how they get on.

Congratulations go to all the students in their willingness to take part and have a go.  (Mrs Pearce-Slade)

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