Encouraging pupils to investigate and explore the breadth of mathematics is something our scholars excel at and this year the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship Scheme we have been able to evolve to offer CPD to our alumni as well as our current scholars.

The week was another initiative as we were able to run our first ever event with the National Science Museum Learning team. This was an unbelievably fun morning, followed by a visit to the Winton Gallery (the new maths wing at the Science Museum). On a personal level, it was fantastic to work with another team that are passionate about encouraging an interest in STEM. It certainly helped the scheme give something back to our alumni scholars - some of whom have now been inspirational, enthusiastic maths teachers for four years.

The morning quite literally flew by in a flurry as the scholars were treated to a Master class. It showed us a different way to hook, engage and inspire students in a classroom. The alumni used deductive reason to guess what was hidden inside mystery boxes and debate abounded when it was realised that the final result to the mathematical enquiry didn’t have a correct answer! Even the training team didn’t know – a hard lesson to learn but so true in scientific and mathematical research.

Friendly competition was also fostered through a challenge to build the tallest possible freestanding tower from straws with limited sticky tape available. Solutions ranged from the very over engineered to the precariously balanced as elements of mechanics, shapes and forces were all discussed with increasing speed as the clocked ticked down.

Working in teams is such a valuable life skill, and seeing how this can be embraced in school maths lessons can only serve to equip pupils for their future. It also highlighted just how competitive teachers can be…

However, no matter how great a teacher is at building towers one skill they definitely need is the ability to guide enquiring minds and this was not lost on the team from the National Science Museum. Kate, Laura and Jon provided a brilliant, interactive session covering a wide range of techniques to develop powerful questions and then facilitate the conversation to stimulate students’ interest and curiosity in mathematics.

After a thoroughly enjoyable morning, from which my favourite new fact is that spiders who have had caffeine spin wacky webs the group set off of the National Science Museum to spend the afternoon immersed in all that the museum has to offer.

If you want to be part of these CPD events, why not be brave like our previous scholars and put yourself forward for a scholarship. We’d love to hear from you.