Maths Week Scotland 2018

Maths Week Scotland is a Making Maths Count initiative which promotes maths and numeracy throughout Scotland – aiming to get people involved with mathematics, from children and young people to carers and parents. During Maths Week schools are encouraged to take part in maths challenges and Strathclyde Science Scouts couldn’t wait to get involved.

network optimisation

Monday 10th September

Today we introduced our Cryptography Activity to S1 pupils at Shawlands Academy. They had a fantastic time decrypting codes and learning some of the maths and science behind it. This activity aims to show the pupils the different types of cryptography that was used throughout history. We covered two historical ciphers in particular – one being the Caesar Cipher and the other the Vigenere Cipher. 

The UK Mathematics Trust also delivered some Mathematical Circle activities which the University of Strathclyde hosted. Pupils in S3 from local schools came along to learn about mathematical thinking. This provided the pupils with a chance to meet other like-minded young people who are enthusiastic about maths and numbers.

Tuesday 11th September

The Tuesday brought more fun, we ran an interactive workshop in the theme of a Murder Mystery! P6 and P7 pupils from Busby Primary School helped solve clues specific to both maths and chemistry. There were three maths clues and one chemistry clue that they had to solve. The victim and the suspects were all teachers from the school so it meant they could be involved also! They then used these clues to work out who had murdered their teacher.

We also visited Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs where we gave a talk to Advanced Higher Maths students about how they can apply what they have learned to real life situations. Our aim is to show students where the maths they learn every day is used in particular jobs such as pilots, video game designers and more!

During this busy day we also managed to fit in a Cryptography Activity for high school students in St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School. During the practical activity, the students were able to try and crack different codes to reveal a hidden message. They used the knowledge that we gave them when we talked about the ancient ciphers. We then gave them some more information about modern cryptography and how it’s used today.

Wednesday 12th September

Our Lady’s High School, Cumbernauld, hosted an Inter-Authority Conference and we were able to bring mathematics to life to really engage the higher students by teaching them about the mathematics of infectious diseases. This involved a presentation combined with an interactive activity using ping pong balls. Maths was used to show the students how an infectious disease moves through a population.

We also delivered a talk about what it is like to study mathematics at University at Williamwood High School in East Renfrewshire and were joined by Prof. Adam McBride. This gave the pupils a chance to engage with a university professor and get a real insight of what studying at university can be like.

Thursday 13th September

In the morning we visited St Benedict’s High School in Renfrewshire and we ran the cryptography activity with S3 and S5/6 pupils.

St Joseph’s Primary School in Cardowan was next on our list. We set up some fun maths stall activities to engage the P7 pupils who attended. This involved completing the Tower of Hanoi, solving magic squares, learning about the Four Colour Theorem and investigating the statistics of coin tossing.

Friday 14th September

We returned to Our Lady’s High School in Cumbernauld to meet more of their pupils and got them involved with our infectious disease activity. We showed them the movement of an infectious disease by using mathematics, we told them about how mathematicians and statisticians use this information to help inform different agencies, such as the NHS, of potential strategies to combat the spread of infection.The students also took part in our new Cryptography activity; they really enjoyed learning about the ciphers and code breakers of the past.

Our final visit of Maths Week was to St Andrew’s RC Secondary School, Glasgow, where we met with S1 pupils and let them experience our cryptography activity too.

We had a fantastic week showing students the uses of maths and statistics. All schools involved were very welcoming, and the students were engaging and keen to learn. I was particularly pleased how many schools got involved with us, having twice as many activities to run compared with last year’s Maths Week."