May 23 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The school hall at Thorpe St Andrew School hosted an unusual approach to maths last week.
Instead of doing times tables and algebra, students in years seven to nine worked together in teams to solve a variety of fun, challenging, hands-on 3D puzzles.
Students of all ages shuffled shapes, suggested solutions and worked together to conquer the challenges .
Taking the link out of a set of handcuffs, designing a grid of roads with no dead ends, and even a penguin balancing test were among the challenges.
Most last for no more than a few minutes, but require each team to work together and carefully develop strategies in order to find a solution.
The students joined the workshop for 90 minute sessions but the fun didn’t stop with the school bell.
After school, some 25 parents joined their children to see what had been going on for themselves and put their own skills to the test.
Michelle Smith, Thorpe St Andrew maths teacher said the aim of the project was to build students’ confidence.
She said the aim of the puzzles was to help the pupils develop a can-do attitude, “so that when they are faced with a tough problem, they believe that with real effort they can succeed.
“If the temptation to give up starts to appear the programme teaches the students how to persevere, put their own skills to better use as part of a team and overcome difficulties by approaching problems from different perspectives.
“That is the attitude we want them to take from today to their maths lesson.”
Year 9 student Morgan Gerity said he enjoyed the competition that the puzzle day created.
He said: “Puzzle day was really exciting because it was competitive. We were constantly checking how far other teams had got with the puzzles.
“It made us use a part of our brain that we don’t usually use in Maths, we had to communicate.”
And year eight student Aiden Rushbrook said: “I made new friends on the puzzle day.
“We had races to finish with other groups and I definitely think it helped the year seven students who are still quite new to the school, to work with us older students.”