Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses  

Royal Institution (Ri) Mathematics Masterclasses are an exciting programme of mathematics workshops which are aimed at Secondary school pupils. A series of masterclasses typically runs for six weeks, usually on Saturday mornings, with each session covering a topic of mathematics which is not normally part of the school curriculum.  

Masterclass speakers are drawn from a wide range of areas, some are university academics, others are maths teachers, professional maths communicators or people working in industry. As well as the speaker, there are often other volunteers who assist with the sessions, including PGCE students or undergraduate ambassadors. Each Masterclass covers an exciting topic which is frequently of a hands-on nature. Masterclasses are designed to encourage a passion for mathematics, and to get pupils thinking in new ways.  


Which topics are covered in Mathematics Masterclasses?  

A quick search of existing classes reveals some exciting titles. For example, the Mathematical Education on Merseyside Masterclasses has covered topics such as:  

Fractals, logo and turtle graphics, origami, codes and ciphers, probability games, number magic, mathematicians, mechanics and juggling. 


Where do Mathematics Masterclasses run? 

There are series of Masterclasses running right across the UK. Many are held in universities, but others could be based in schools or even unusual venues such as museums. Pupils are chosen by their school, and teachers are generally asked to nominate between 2 and 4 pupils who they think would benefit. Masterclasses focus on different age groups, with some open to Year 9 only, whereas others might be for Year 7 and 8 pupils.     


How do I sign my pupils up for a Mathematics Masterclass Programme? 

Many Masterclass programmes have been running since the 1980s. This means that your local programme may well be in the habit of contacting schools each year and asking them to invite pupils. The first port of call is to ask around your school mathematics department as there may already be teachers involved in the Mathematics Masterclass programme.  

If this is not the case, try contacting your local Masterclass Organisers. If their website says that they contact every school in your area, don’t just rely on this – communications can get lost within schools and so you should make sure you sign up your details directly with your local Masterclass Organisers. If you are not sure where your local Masterclass programme is based, get in touch with the Royal Institution Masterclass Team.   


What are the benefits? 

The benefits of Ri Masterclasses for pupils are wide ranging, and here are just some of them:  

  • Meeting a mathematical peer group of other pupils who are passionate about mathematics. 
  • Working with inspirational speakers and role models. 
  • Finding out that there is a whole world of exciting mathematics beyond the classroom.
  • Being challenged and stretched.
  • Practising problem solving and teamwork with new people. 
  • Improved Confidence.
  • Visiting a university campus or new location and all the benefits that can bring. 


Other ways for teachers to get involved with the Ri Masterclasses 

As well as nominating your pupils for Masterclasses, it is also possible for teachers to help out at sessions, or even go further and become a masterclass speaker or organiser. If you are interested, check out ways for teachers to get involved with Ri Masterclasses on the Ri website.  


Other types of Ri Masterclasses 

The Ri also runs Masterclasses in Engineering and Computer Science, as well as Masterclasses for Primary pupils. Not all types of Masterclasses are available in every area, so get in touch with the RI if you are interested.   

Ri Masterclasses are held in a range of formats; face-to-face, online, livestreamed or off-the-shelf Masterclasses.  


Find Out More

Ri Masterclasses Website 

Twitter @Ri_Science 



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