LIVE: Math Webinar with Cambridge University

Elmhurst School for Boys

22nd November 2019 | School Developments

LIVE: Math Webinar with Cambridge University

I strongly believe that mathematics in the 21st century requires a different approach - to engage students in rich, open, visual and creative tasks. The Inspire Maths programme and CPA approach we take here at Elmhurst School encourages the boys to use their intuition and thinking, and choose methods that can be useful in the task. When they need to learn new methods, teachers teach them inside the task. The pupils immediately see how important they are which helps them to learn at a deeper level. They engage in the important acts of choosing and making connections between ideas. We aim to expose our pupils to a variety of fun activities and show them maths from different perspectives. 

Last week the boys in Year 5 and Year 6 took part in a Maths project facilitated by the University of Cambridge and the Primary Maths Challenge competition where 15 boys qualified for the final stage from February. The first project was a live webinar, streamed directly from the university to our school.

The professors at the university introduced problems and invited the boys to work collaboratively to solve them. Whilst the boys were working hard on these challenges, I was feeding this information straight back to the university for real-time updates on their progress. This truly was a unique experience for the boys and a great opportunity to gain exposure to a world-class university. 

We asked the boys what they thought of the day:

"The maths taught at Elmhurst is delivered with interest and our maths teacher (Mrs. Neagu) makes maths practical and interesting simultaneously. Over previous years, I recall various 'maths-in-real-life' methods such as discovering that 1 cubic centimetre is equal to one millilitre by pouring two 500ml bottles into a 10*10*10 cube. Furthermore, we have participated in a plethora of competitions (International -Pangea Maths, where I came second and my friend Rishi came third; the national competition Quiz Club; and we even featured in the news after topping regionally in the NYMA). We also create word problem books and maths session with our parents which gives them an insight and an inkling of what maths is like at Elmhurst. I can say that Maths is one of Elmhurst's main and focal subjects confidently, and I am sure all of the staff would agree."

"The Millenium Maths Project was truly a different experience for me. The questions were different not like the questions they ask in a standard maths test. It also helped me to discover new methods and ways to approach problems, such as in the estimation question where we calculated the number of bears using a 'layer' method. Additionally, this enabled me to think in an unconventional manner and outside the box to derive at the practical solutions. To round it all up, this webinar was an experience that was extremely special and enjoyable, and this may not happen again considering this is my last year at Elmhurst. As well as this, around the same week, our school participated in the Primary Maths Challenge, exclusively for years 5 and 6. The questions were very challenging and a couple of the questions required more logic and reasoning. In addition to this, the questions needed careful attention because one of the questions was a ratio question; personally, I got the right answer but put the ratio the other way round, denying me of the mark that would get me 100%. Overall, they both provided us with the skills that are essential to master maths: being very careful on questions and thinking outside the box."

"The Millennium Math Project was exceptional. I found that it stretched my brain as I normally don't estimate so it really helped. I also realised there are multiple ways to solve a question. I found it challenging but fun at the same time. It improved my thinking skills for we had to think differently to when we do exams. I absolutely loved it and would definitely relive the experience. One of the other amazing experiences was the Primary Maths Challenge. Not only did this require math but also skill and the hardest bit of all, common sense. It tested our abilities in maths as well as our logic and reasoning. I found both very interesting. However one of the main reasons I am able to do well in these competitions is because of the maths at Elmhurst. We follow Inspire Maths which is based on the Singaporean curriculum. It lets us solve problems easily using different methods."

"The Millennium maths project was one of the best and most fun challenges that I have ever tried. The questions were very engaging and made my brain stretch especially the bit where we got to ask questions as that made me feel that I was really thinking out of the box. Overall it was a very fun experience and one that I probably will not forget."

"The Millennium Maths Project was extremely enjoyable and collaborating with our peers made it even more fun. Together, we had to solve various word problems. Thinking outside of the box was crucial. Overall, it was extremely fun and I would definitely do it again."


- Mrs. Neagu

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