Twelve BRGS teachers heaved a collective sigh of relief as they were rescued from a sinking dinghy in the Menai Straits recently. However, the rescue wasn’t made by the Coastguard but by 120 year 8 pupils who had paddled out on twelve self made rafts!
The rescue was the culmination of a series of problem solving activities the pupils completed as part of a three-day maths based residential on the island of Anglesey. They had solved problems, both indoors and outdoors, and had earned points that they used in an auction to buy the raw equipment to build their rafts. Working as teams they designed, built and launched their rafts to make the rescues.
The residential was planned to allow the pupils to develop their wider mathematical abilities in a range of contexts outside the classroom. There were also puzzles that required the application of logic, obstacles to overcome by thoughtful strategies and problems that pupils had to solve using quick thinking.
Head of Mathematics, Paul Reeves, stated, “We wanted to take the opportunity to develop the skills of our pupils outside the confines of timed lessons and classrooms. The residential fits perfectly with the aims of the new Key Stage 3 curriculum being introduced in September 2008, where it speaks about applying mathematics in a wide range of contexts - including managing resources, assessing risk, problem-solving and decision-making.”
The residential is one of a number of regular activities the mathematics department has launched to mark BRGS being awarded specialist maths and computing college status.