Inspiring young mathematicians

Delving beyond the normal curriculum

Developing a sense of enjoyment in the subject

Our own Mathematics department were proud to host the North Devon Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses for Year 9 students this year.

Ri Masterclasses are series of workshops which are led by Mathematics enthusiasts from industry, academia and education. The Masterclasses aim to inspire young people in the beauty and wonder of Mathematics and to develop a sense of enjoyment in the subject. They offer pupils in-depth investigations of topics in Mathematics from beyond the normal curriculum.

The sessions for this year were:

Arithmetic in Different Bases – Mr Matt Grose
Students were introduced to the idea that our number system is base 10 and it is possible to calculate in different bases. Students were shown how to calculate integers but also deal with fractions. By the end of the session, students were completing many calculations in base 6.

Fabulous Fractals – Mrs Christine Hamilton
Students had the opportunity to draw and create their own fractals, including Sierpinskis’s Triangle and Sierpinski’s carpet. They calculated the dimensions of different fractals and finished with using a simple iteration in complex numbers to create the Mandelbrot set.

Graph Theory and Matrices

Graph Theory and Networks – Mr James McCaffrey
Students were introduced to the idea of graph theory by looking at the bridges of Konigsberg. They looked at some problems like “the travelling salesman” to minimise the travel distance of a journey. They discovered Eularian graphs and Non-Eularian graphs as part of route inspection.

Matrices – Mr Phil Brand
Students were introduced to matrices and shown how to add, subtract and multiply. They also looked at inverse matrices and their practical applications. The session ended with some mathematical card magic tricks.

Celebrating Success

At the end of the last session, the parents and students were invited to a presentation, followed by lunch in the Karslake. Lady Arran, the President of West Buckland School presented the students with a certificate of attendance.

Huge thanks to Mrs Hamilton, Head of Academic Extension, who coordinated the series and has plans to run more events like this in the future.

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