Ambassador and teacher-training

Mathematics undergraduates involved in ambassador and teacher-training scheme at local schools

Several of our final-year mathematics undergraduates are involved each year in an ambassador and placement scheme with local schools in Leicestershire. This is a joint initiative between the Department of Mathematics, the School of Education and local schools focusing on outreach and widening participation in the region, as well as on the training of future mathematics and science teachers. 

As part of the 3rd year module MA3511 Communicating Mathematics, students each year are placed in schools and tasked to inspire and encourage younger high-school students, normally from years 8 and 9. For several years the main partner school in this scheme has been the Thomas Estley Community College in Broughton Astley. The end of the placement is always celebrated with a special outreach and widening participation event where pupils from Thomas Estley and other local community schools, together with their parents and teachers, engage in hands-on activities to explore the fascinating world of mathematics beyond their usual school curriculum. This year the final event took place on Thursday 22 March 2019 and more than 30 students with their parents from all over Leicestershire took part.  Over the course of two hours, the high-school students were given the opportunity to experience hands-on the fascination and beauty of mathematics and to get an idea about some very modern (and very ancient!) topics and ideas.

Guided by module convenor and Head of Department Prof Stephen Garrett, pure mathematicians Dr Frank Neumann and Dr Jason Semeraro, and four mathematics undergraduate students Hannah Burns, Rebecca Kemp, Lewis Pledger and Andrea Pygott, high-school pupils and their parents were given the chance to understand the principle of induction through the game ‘Towers of Hanoi’, buy goodies in ancient marketplaces, model psychological exchanges via game theory, and explore weird geometrical shapes like the Moebius strip and the Klein bottle. 

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. For example, students and parents exclaimed "Fun and interesting... a great insight into the subject", "A great evening that was very informative, great hands-on maths sessions" "Great evening, the undergraduates' delivery was excellent!". 

Everyone is already eagerly looking forward to next year’s edition.