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Maths Clubs

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by tomhanna, May 14, 2011.

  1. I am thinking seriously about launching a lunchtime maths club at my school. I would welcome any ideas or comments on the best way to go about it. I am not sure it will be a success but at the same time do not want to be negative about the issue. What does anyone think?
  2. I did one for a little bit but it kind of fizzled out ... if I remember rightly, it started off the back of me playing naughts and crosses against the whole class (ie they all had their grids and I went round one by one as quickly as possible, making my move and then moving to the next pupil) under the boast that I would guarantee not to lose any of the games.
    So that kind of set the tone ... we'd play maths games (including 3-D naugths and crosses, which was a big hit), look at riddles and worded questions (or puzzles) and look at extension work but dressed up in real-life or worded problems. It was mainly high ability Year 9 (high school at the time, so yr 9 were the youngest) and it went well for a while.
    I think it was helped by the fact that I started it in the middle of a particularly rubbish period of weather, and when the sun came back the numbers started to dwindle (my enthusiasm and prep for it, if I'm honest, possibly went the same way as well). I was also trying to avoid it becoming a homework club, but that was the direction it seemed to be heading with some pupils.
    So, my advice (to you and to me, as I want to try it again at some point) is to have a range of activities to keep them interested, but also try to put it over to the pupils. Get them to suggest from one week to the next what they'd like to do. Challenge them to come up with questions for the rest of the class to solve. This will hopefully keep their interest up and the amount of planning which you have to do down.
    Puzzles linking to recent topics are definitely a good starting point though. I got quite a few from "Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures" ... including my favourite ... what are the next 3 terms in this sequence?
    1 , 11 , 21 , 1211, 111221 , 312211 , 13112221 , ........
  3. Colleen_Young

    Colleen_Young Occasional commenter

  4. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Another possibility, in terms of launching, is to base it initially around a competition such as the cypher challenge http://www.cipher.maths.soton.ac.uk/ or the Jaguar maths challenge. Then, introduce further puzzles, and take it from there. There's a bit of luck involved, and it very much depends on the individuals you manage to attract - getting that seed to germinate!
    I wouldn't be worried if it turns into a bit of a homework club too. Ours is a bit of a mixture. All sorts of students come along for all sorts of reasons. To me, its important to show that the maths department isn't just open during timetabled lessons.
  5. headofmaths

    headofmaths New commenter


    nice, now why have I never seen that one before?
  6. If you get the book which I mentioned above, it also puts forward an argument for an approximation of the length of the nth term. I'll be honest, I got either bored or confused when trying to read it ... but it may be light reading to some!
    If you can do a good Roy Walker impression, you can call it the "say what you see" sequence. It's at this point where pupils start to cotton on normally.

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