Mathsplosion at Centre for Life

Giving up a day off in the face of mathematical curiosity, a group of our Year 10 mathletes attended a high-paced activity-fuelled Mathsplosion event at the Centre for Life.
The event, ran by the Further Mathematics Support Programme and the Centre for Life Education Team, saw our students carousel through a variety of different workshops, leaving them with a taste of the endless beauty, inter-connectedness and possibility that studying maths has to offer.
One of the workshops was looking at patterns in magic squares and investigating ways to construct them before considering the implications of the four-colour theorem and looking at the patterns and mathematical properties behind some highly entertaining card tricks.
A stop in the planetarium set the scene for some intriguing insights into how using mathematics to solve problems in astro-navigation. In particular the session considered the problem that plagued seafarers for centuries, namely how to fix your position accurately anywhere around the globe. As it turns out the solution is based on fundamental mathematical ideas applied very creatively – and earned its originator a princely sum of money!
Another simple yet mind-boggling idea, the Möbius strip, was introduced, confounding students expectations of real-life geometry before they tried to apply the same principles bagels and chocolate spread, giving a more imaginative approach to the breakfast table.
Lastly the simple hexagon was looked at, particular into how it is a recurring theme across many areas of mathematics and crosses over into nature, leaving many in the audience with a greater appreciation of how mathematical ideas are not just fanciful but natural, too.
Overall the whole day was a wonderful experience and our students thoroughly enjoyed it, having worked hard to gain every insight.