Maths Scholars Celebration Event 2023 by Samantha Taylor-Hayward
I arrived at Conference Aston to be greeted with a warm welcome and goody bag.
To start, and help conversations, we were each given a team number for us to have a go at the maths quiz. Admittedly biased, but team 7 was a fantastic team, giving the quiz our best shot, stumbling with knowledge gaps on Formula 1 and Fleetwood Mac.
It was great to meet current scholars and alumni, who were all keen to share their experiences over delicious cakes. It was reassuring to hear my own apprehensions shared by so many, especially worries about behaviour management. I appreciated the honesty that the alumni shared about their experiences, as well as their clear passion for education and teaching.
The first session, with maths educator and communicator Alison Kiddle, was about teaching maths outside the box. This session set an excellent tone for the event, emphasising the sheer joy of exploring mathematics. Alison got us making boxes to demonstrate how hands-on activities could enrich our own lessons. This session highlighted the importance of nurturing our own curiosity, challenging ourselves in maths and teaching, and the importance of community.
It was then a delicious lunch (three courses!) with time for us to finish our quiz.
The next session was with the director of NRICH, Dr Ems Lords, who guided us through their top ten tips for making the most of NRICH in your classroom. The NRICH site repeatedly appears on recommended resources, but I have been overwhelmed with the range of resources available online and had no idea how to effectively utilise them in my teaching. This was the exact session I needed to learn the extent of the resources and how I could start to use them as a teacher. It was great to hear the discussions on the different tables during the Olympic graphs resource. The ten top tips (technically 12 in the end!) showed us the highlights of the site and, crucially, how to find them. I particularly like the curriculum mapping document and webinar recordings.
The final session was with Aidan Gollaglee, thinking about how we can truly engage students in maths. The highlight was undoubtedly the ten minutes we spent observing a pizza cooling down. Surprisingly, this is not a critique but a testament to how engaged we were! We predicted future temperatures and visually witnessed the temperature drop—an excellent example of conceptual understanding and experiencing maths first-hand.
I left the event energised and enthusiastic about this coming year. I am excited to be at the start of this amazing journey and look forward to feeding my curiosity further for maths and teaching.
By Samantha Taylor-Hayward
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