Home > #MTBoS, A Level, Maths, Teaching > Shuffling and Bringing Mechanics to Life

Shuffling and Bringing Mechanics to Life

Last night a colleague and I attended a “Teachers Evening” at Manchester University. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect, but jumped at the opportunity to spend an evening immersed in maths.

Having studied at Manchester University, and knowing that the tower that used to house the mathematics department  has been levelled, I was intrigued to see what the place looked like. The Alan Turing building is brilliant,  and extremely aptly named. The vibe of the place was great and the fact that it was still buzzing with undergraduates and postgraduates at half five was great. Some were even playing backgammon.

The evening itself was set up as two lectures, with an interval. The first lecture was from Professor Oliver Jensen, who’s seat is named after Sir Horace Lamb. His lecture, “bringing mechanics to life”, combined his own specific interest in biofluiddynamics with Lamb’s more general interest in fluid dynamics. It was a great lecture and left me eager to know more, I have a list of topics mentioned which I would like to investigate further. I felt a love of fluid dynamics reawaken,  it had been my favourite topic in the second semester of my second year. It also gave me a good number of lesson ideas for future mechanics classes, and a whole host more answers to the question “what use is maths in the real world?”

The second lecture was entitled “shuffling around, why you should play cards with mathematicians” and was from Dr Charles Walkden. The talk was fantastic. It combined theories on shuffling, modulo arithmetic and mathematical card tricks. It was really interesting and gave me some great lesson ideas, including using standard from to compare the number of ways to order a deck of cards with the number of drops of water in the Pacific. The modulo arithmetic ideas were very timely, as this forms the basis of a “taught round” I’m an up coming year ten competition!

All in all, a great evening,  and I can’t wait for the next!

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