In this article we are going to introduce you to the organisation WeSolveProblems, which aims to:

*“Encourage creative mathematical thinking and skills in communicating mathematical ideas.” *

Mathematical creativity and communication skills are two things which every maths teacher wants to see more of, so read on to find out more.

Until recently, the work of WeSolveProblems was confined to London and the South East, whereas in 2023 they are expanding their work to cover Cardiff, Bristol and Durham. If you are based in a different area, don’t worry, WeSolveProblems also provides resources which are available for all teachers. As a not-for-profit organisation, all the activities and resources are provided free of charge for parents and children.

WeSolveProblems has been running Maths Circles since 2015. Weekly Maths Circles bring together university mathematicians with motivated young people to discuss interesting maths problems in a small group environment. The idea for Maths Circles comes from a long tradition where they first became popular in Europe during the early part of the 20th Century.

Your pupils could choose to join a Maths Circle organised directly by WeSolveProblems. Alternatively, if you want to run a Maths Circle in your school, WeSolveProblems can provide depending on your location and school structure:

- Weekly problem sets
- Instructors (usually a mix of postgraduate students from nearby universities, or, alternatively, they can train instructors from your school)
- A grant for your school to cover expenses related to maths circles and maths battles
- A package with a step-by-step guide to how organize a maths circle and a maths battle.

Maths Battles form a key part of the Maths Circles programmes, with pupils spending a number of weeks attending a Maths Circle before they compete in a Maths Battle. A Maths Battle involves groups of pupils solving problems before presenting their ideas verbally to the opposing teams who scrutinise their solutions. Judges award points for correct solutions and the whole atmosphere is one of friendly competitiveness. Unlike in usual debating competitions, with maths problems there are ultimate truths which can be objectively judged.

WeSolveProblems runs the London Verbal Maths Challenge which is a maths competition where pupils need to explain their answers verbally (usually using a pen and paper to aid their explanations). This is a very different way to do mathematics, but in many parts of Europe oral examinations in mathematics are commonplace in higher education. WeSolveProblems uses the London Verbal Maths Challenge to select pupils for the Maths Circles which run at King’s College, University College and Queen Mary University of London.

WeSolveProblems also has a large database of mathematical problems, with over 1500 entries! Check out this great resource; Problems Database.

Take a look at the WeSolveProblems website to find out about the latest deadlines for enrolling your pupils. You can also get involved by setting up your own Maths Battle or Maths Circle. Contact WeSolveProblems to find out more.

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