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Mathematicians at the University of Liverpool are leading a national project to provide schools and colleges with a new resource aimed at engaging more young people with mathematical sciences.
The project, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), aims to establish ‘Maths Hubs’ in schools across the UK. The Hubs will provide teachers with the tools to deliver activities that allow students to understand the impact mathematical sciences can have on daily life.
The Hubs have been developed to promote activities designed for the ‘FunMaths Roadshow’ – a series of interactive events held at schools in the UK and overseas. The Roadshow, run by the Liverpool Mathematical Society, aims to demonstrate that students can be encouraged to study maths in groups and discuss problems, rather than work independently from their peers.
The new initiative, led by mathematicians at Liverpool, will provide teachers with a ‘box’ of mathematical activities that will complement maths programmes on the national curriculum and help structure lessons around group study. Activities include board games that are designed to encourage students to discuss how to complete the challenge and plan ahead to anticipate obstacles they may face.
Chris Marchant, Hub Manager at the University’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, explains: “There is a common misconception that some young people can ‘do’ maths and some just ‘can’t’. The problem is often not a lack of mathematical knowledge, but the ability to relate that knowledge to problems in a real life context.
“Historically many maths problems have always been solved through discussion and interaction with the subject, but today maths is often textbook-led. This can mean that students struggle in silence, but if the problem is addressed within groups, the solutions develop through the questions that they ask each other. This style of learning, with pupils learning from each other gives them a deeper understanding of mathematics and its use in the real world.
“The aim of the new Maths Hubs is to give teachers the tools to allow students to work in groups and learn from each other. Teachers can use a box of activities that include various mathematical problems that can be delivered in school halls around tables that allow students to stand-up and move around. This allows them to develop their communication skills and really engage with problems, rather than work alone from textbooks in a classroom.”
1.Information for teachers:For more information about the Maths Hubs and the FunMaths Roadshow, please contact Chris Marchant on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.funmathsroadshow.com
2.The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.
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