FunMaths Roadshow: UK-wide Roll-out

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Mathematical Sciences


The FunMaths Roadshow is a hands-on mathematical activity, owned by the Liverpool Mathematical Society, which has been developed over several years by schoolteachers, students and university staff. It consists of activities, attractively produced on laminated A3 cards, plus some simple accompanying equipment. The activities are collected into 'Boxes', each Box containing 25 activities and each Box being aimed at a particular age-group. There is appropriate material for school pupils from all years, Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form and the range of mathematical ideas which feed into the material is very wide. The Roadshow is aimed at children of all abilities, and has been successfully run in all kinds of schools. The cards are typically set up on small tables and classes of about 50 children tackle the activities in small groups, talking to each other about the mathematics and working towards a solution. Helpers, who can be teachers, older pupils, university students or staff, give discreet assistance as needed and judge whether the solutions found are correct. Each group has a sheet to record which problems they have successfully solved. The activity is highly interactive, and works especially well when the helpers are older pupils, sometimes secondary school pupils helping those from feeder primary schools. Tens of thousands of pupils all over the country have benefitted from the Roadshow over the last few years; an article in 'Teachers' magazine in May 2007 alone produced over a hundred requests for visits nationwide. The texts of the problems (over 300 in all) are also sold as a CD by the Liverpool Mathematical Society. The Roadshow is featured in the STEM directory.Roadshow events are sometimes accompanied by more concentrated Workshops. These are structured sets of problems, with an accompanying interactive presentation, devoted to a single topic. They encourage pupils to explore an aspect of mathematics which is related to their school studies but points towards more advanced ideas. Workshops are typically aimed at more able pupils of GCSE attainment, and sixth formers. All Workshops are trialled at the highly successful Liverpool University Maths Club, which attracts 30-40 enthusiastic youngsters usually aged 13-18, one Saturday per month during the school year.Several other organizations such as the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), the Further Maths Network and the Royal Institution (Ri) have enthusiastically adopted Roadshow materials for their own events. Several translations of the materials have been made and events run successfully in France, aided by the British Council. Events can involve the public, as with the annual Festivals of Science.The success of the Roadshow has made it impracticable for one centre, in Liverpool, to provide a national service in running events. The proposal seeks to roll out the Roadshow and the accompanying Workshops nationally through a series of Hubs. There have already been several indications of strong interest in running these Hubs. A very important feature is that, once set up, it is expected that the Hubs will become self-sustaining, using local funding, payments from schools or (as with one existing hub, in Sheffield) dedicated teacher time. The current Outreach Officer employed on a PPE grant, and an assistant, would be employed for a further two years to guide the setting up of these hubs and provide initial help in running Roadshows. Other developments of the Roadshow materials and Workshops are also planned, adding further topics to those already covered, again trialled at the Maths Club.


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