As is tradition at CPS, the end of the Michaelmas term saw the whole school participating in Maths Puzzle Day. This year had to be a little different to usual, with no visiting companies and year group bubbles unable to mix or share resources. However, the Maths Puzzle Morning, as it became, provided lots of fun maths challenges and new experiences.

The main aim was to highlight to our pupils that there is more to ‘maths’ than sums, textbooks, worksheets and exams. Maths has its place in many aspects of life and will undoubtedly be important to all the pupils as they progress through the rest of their education and into the workplace. We also hope the children had a lot of fun too!

A firm favourite for all children were the lively and fiercely competitive year group maths relays. Pupils, in teams of four, answered a problem solving question before running to the front for it to be marked and collecting the next question. Teams who answered the most questions correctly in the hour were victorious. It was wonderful to see the pupils working collaboratively on their maths with such fierce determination to succeed.

All pupils started the Express Coding Course with code.org. The challenges of this year have only emphasised to all of us how much we rely on digital technology. Pupils were shown a video highlighting the importance of coding and how for many of our pupils it will form an important aspect of future employment opportunities. After all, 65% of children starting school today will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist. Pupils were using simple blocks of code to create dance routines for their characters on the screen. I hope some pupils will be inspired to finish the course in their own time.

The final task for all pupils was linked to the theme ‘The Art of Maths’. All year groups completed some sort of creative task that also required them to puzzle through a series of instructions and show some tenacity and resilience to reach a final solution.  Forms 1&2 explored Chinese Tangram puzzles, Form 3 used compasses and protractors to draw stars and Form 4 studied optical illusions and drew ‘impossible’ objects such as the Penrose Triangle.  Form 5 folded strips of paper to make tri-hexaflexagons and hexa-hexaflexagons and Form 6 folded squares of paper to build modular origami cubes and octahedrons.

Many staff commented on the determination shown by the pupils to stay focused to the very end of these sessions in order to successfully complete the task not to mention the huge sense of pride and accomplishment when they did so!