Scholars Workshop and Alumni Celebration Event 2018

We have a brilliant line up for this year’s Scholars and Alumni Celebration event taking place on Saturday 20 January 2018 at Aston University.

•      The chance of rain today is 40%.  Should I take my umbrella?
•      If I were to eat a bacon sandwich every day, my chances of getting bowel cancer would increase by 20%!  Thank heavens I’m a vegetarian!
•      A test for doping in sports claims to be 95% accurate, so if an athlete tests positive does this mean that they are almost certainly taking a banned substance?

Probability is all around us, but it is not well understood.  There’s quite a good chance that you – a mathematically literate person – are not entirely clear exactly what is being claimed in scenarios like those above.  In this workshop, you will explore an innovative approach to teaching probability designed to demystify it and to help students develop conceptual understanding.  Learning is scaffolded by a process which includes:
•      asking a question about a scenario which models some aspect of real life
•      investigating the model through experiment
•      using manipulatives and multiple representations to help students see what their data is telling them
•      moving from experimental data (what actually happened) to theory (what do we expect to happen in general) in carefully graded steps

This approach undergirds the new GCSE curriculum for probability, and has been well received in workshops with experienced and new teachers, whether teaching higher achievers or lower achievers. 

If you did the probability workshop at least year’s Alumni Celebration Event – don’t worry, this year’s will be different!

Jenny Gage - Formerly a member of the Millennium Mathematics Project and the Nrich team University of Cambridge

Jenny Gage is an experienced secondary mathematics teacher, who worked with the inspirational Millennium Mathematics Project at the University of Cambridge, following 15 years experience as a classroom teacher in three UK secondary schools.  She developed a suite of practical resources for teaching probability, which comprise part of Teaching Probability, co-authored with Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter.  The resources were tested on professional development courses for teachers in South Africa, and in classes in Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire.  They have subsequently been introduced to teachers in workshops in the UK. Jenny is happy to provide a workshop for your school or group of schools - email her at to find out more.


Geometry of the Dambusters - Peter Ransom - The Mathematical Association

This workshop will be presented by Flt Sgt ‘Kidnap’ Ransom in 1940’s RAF uniform. It describes the Dambusters raid of 1943 and how mathematics was used to navigate the Lancasters over Germany. Plot the route on A3 maps, working with scales and bearings then look at how the lights were arranged on the plane using geometrical constructions to find their angles. You will also plot the locus of the Lancaster over the dam. This is accompanied by many worksheets to take away, CD ROMs of all the materials (and much more) for those present and a taste of rations from the 40’s.

Peter Ransom is the Chair of Council (and a Past President) of The Mathematical Association and a semi-retired freelancer. He worked with Bath Spa University’s School of Education from 2010 to 2015 and works with a variety of mathematics teachers as part of The Prince’s Teaching Institute. Peter has just finished his six-year term on the Education Committee of the LMS, is a Fellow of the IMA and also belongs to the ATM and BSHM. He was involved with the Bowland Maths initiative as project leader for the sundials case study. Recently he co-authored a textbook on Core Maths and has written chapters for a textbook on IGCSE Additional Mathematics

Peter spent over 30 years teaching secondary mathematics in state comprehensives and left the classroom in 2010 to integrate more into family life and the professional associations, to do more research and to attend conferences without having to worry about missing school time. He takes risks. He has enjoyed mathematics all his life and tries to pass on that enjoyment to all he meets including his three grandsons. He has been known to travel around the country with a cannonball and sword.