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A celebration of maths

Today my friend Rose and I attended “A celebration of maths“, which was the launch event for the White Rose Maths Hub (@WRMathshub). The White Rose Maths Hub is based out of Trinity Academy in Halifax, is one of four across Yorkshire and is the one which is closest to the school I teach at. The event was at Headingley stadium and had an impressive list of speakers and delegates.

When we arrived it was registration and exhibition time and it was nice to see so many maths teachers and enthusiasts congregated on a Saturday. There was a good vibe around and I spoke to a few exhibitors about a few products and courses.

Vanessa Pittard – Department of Education

Vanessa gave the opening key note, explaining the ideas behind Maths hubs and what the government hoped to gain by them. There was some good points made, but I felt it was a bit unnecessary. She was telling maths teachers, who had given up a Saturday unpaid to learn about maths and up their game, that maths teaching is important!

Better Maths

I will confess to attending this workshop “by accident”. I hadn’t read the information on it when signing up, I had seen the title and assumed it was being run by Luke aka @BetterMaths and signed up. It turns out that space is extremely important, and it wasn’t Luke at all, it was a lady called Mel Lee (@melmaths).

Despite this I enjoyed the session, it made me think, a lot, on a variety if subjects and I think it will spawn a variety of posts. Some of the things she said had me nodding in agreement, some had my hackles up and some made me ponder. She had some interesting points about the purpose of work scrutinies, and whether they were based around the work, or just the marking, and why. She touched on deeper learning and understanding and fluency, which I feel are important points.

Deeper Learning – Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) and Karen Bell (@29karendbell)

I saw Ed a few weeks ago and he told me he was delivering a session, and I was pleased to discover that I was already signed up! The session focused on the importance of deeper learning and conceptual understanding, Ed shared some of his resources (freely available from solvemymaths.com) and set us some puzzles (another post to follow!)

It was an enjoyable session, and gave me some real ideas which I will be using in lessons this week. One thing that the found myself thinking about after the first two sessions was that it seems that “Fluency vs Understanding”, and “Mastery vs Pace”, may be taking over from skills and knowledge.

Q and A with Rachel Riley (@RachelRileyRR)

This was a lovely format, two students from Trinity Academy interviewed Rachel on her Maths journey, asking about why she chose maths, how she ended up on countdown and various other things. It was great to hear how a “blonde Essex girl” (as she called herself) could fit into a prestigious university reading maths. She also had an amazing anecdote about a dinner with Jimmy Carr and Stephen Hawking. The two students were confident and funny, a real credit to their school.

Mike Askew (@mikeaskew26)

Mike spoke about getting things right early, he had some interesting points to make about pieces of research and what they could tell us about maths education. I enjoyed it and hope to get hold of the links to look into it further myself.

Marcus du Sautoy (@MarcusDuSautoy)

The main event. Headliner on the main stage, the speaker I was most excited about. I had met him earlier and he signed some books, and I can confirm he is as nice in real life as he seems on TV.

His talk was fantastic, he covered Chaos, primes, sequences and many, many other topics. He was as engaging as every and gave me plenty of ideas for the classroom and plenty of areas of mathematics to investigate further.

He also taught me something new about maths. Circle Division Numbers. 2,4,8,16……31! (That’s an exclamation mark, not a factorial sign.) This interesting sequence shows that sometimes we think we’ve seen a pattern, but actually the system is more chaotic than we first thought.

All in all, it was a great day. I also got to catch up with some people I know, from real life and from twitter. Including Bruno, Emma, Rob, Jenny and Andrew. Sorry to those I missed, hope to see you next time!

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  1. December 31, 2015 at 12:06 pm

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