Lower V takes on Maths Masterclasses

Posted: 23rd June 2017

Royal Institution sessions

Mrs Jenny Bennet, Head of Maths at St Augustine’s Priory, is a firm believer in extending the curriculum and ensuring that pupils take advantage of all opportunities available.  To this end, three of her Lower V pupils, Shahla Ghodrat, Frankie Malinowski and Maria Merkulova attended a series of Maths Masterclasses held by the Royal Institution.

Here, Shahla Ghodrat, reports on these masterclasses:

‘Last year I was given a fantastic opportunity to attend a series of maths masterclasses at the Royal Institution and this year I was lucky enough to be invited back, along with two other girls from St Augustine’s Priory, Maria Merkulova and Frankie Malinowksi.

This year the masterclasses took place every month and each month we had a different challenge ahead of us. The lecturer would start off the session by introducing the topic we were going to focus on that day and then we would spend the morning completing different activities with other students from other schools.

My favourite session by far was about how forensic evidence in crime scenes and mathematics link up. This session was led by a group of Imperial College students and the first thing we were told to do was to decipher different puzzles as a starter; this was pretty basic and a good way to start my Saturday morning. Then they gave us a crime scene and told us a person had been murdered and someone from the list of characters had killed the person. We were given a little paragraph about each suspect, a list of different weapons, as well as a diagram showing the position of the victim’s blood on the floor. By the end of the session we had figured out who the killer was and how the person was killed (Did you know: different weapons create different patterns of blood on the floor?) We also learnt how exactly maths was used in all of this. They even gave an example of a real life crime where, after years of uncertainty, the truth was revealed with mathematical calculations.

Maria says:

“Maths masterclasses are a great source of inspiration as the sessions show aspects of maths which you would not typically cover in the school curriculum.  In my favourite session, we were shown how mathematics is used in architecture by someone who was involved in the building of London’s VeloPark! We learned the different structures used to build bridges and afterwards went into groups and were challenged to build a bridge from everyday supplies such as paper, tape and string. These classes have made me engaged and fascinated in maths more than ever.”

These masterclasses were just absolutely fascinating in every way. It was a great opportunity to meet people from other schools, to learn and extend our knowledge of maths, and to have fun with more complex maths. I appreciate and enjoy maths so much more ever since I started to attend these classes. It really opened my eyes, as from these masterclasses I also learnt that there are so many branches of maths, each just as interesting as the other.

By Shahla Ghodrat

Categories: Senior Whole School