Any further South (or west) and I’d be in the sea…

Any further South (or west) and I’d be in the sea…

So now we’re in the swing of this blogging and we’ve written our first blog, I thought it would be awesome to actually write a blog about what we do. And as it happens, there was a school visit a few weeks ago which is a great example!

We get requests for school visits, careers fairs and university talks from up and down the country (I mean, they’re fun, free and informative – what’s not to love?!). As it turns out, this request was from the place furthest away from us …. Penzance!

Normally we have members that go to these events – we organise them by region and we’d get someone who is geographically near to the school / college / university to attend. However, unfortunately the dates and times didn’t quite work for our lovely volunteers and so I was the lucky one who was fortunate enough to experience the Cornish seaside!

Bearing in mind that I’m based in the Birmingham HQ means that to get to Penzance was a good 6 ½ hours train journey (all I can say is I survived using their on-board WIFI and on-board food trolley service)! But once I was there, the trip was fab. I stayed in a lovely B&B, the school was great and the workshops went really really well. The students (top set year 10’s) were all really engaged, participated with everything and apart from being overly competitive (not like I can talk though!!) were an absolute dream to work with.

So what do we actually do in a workshop I hear you say? Well - that's where we come into our own! We run interactive workshops that are based on O.R. techniques to showcase how maths and O.R. is used. Take the lego game we played with the students at Mount Bay Academy - the technique behind it is Linear Programming (a technique commonly used in O.R.) related to optimisation (finding the optimal - think 'best' solution). In our scenario we were looking for the most profit, but in the wider world it could be the least materials used, the most produced, the cheapest etc. 

All the workshops we run are tried and tested and we've been using them yonks. One of the first workshops we run (and one of the most popular ones) uses Lego. Top tip - give students Lego blocks and they'll never suspect it involves maths - unless we're nearby! We get them building tables and chairs and then thinking about how to make the most out of the resources (i.e. bricks) they have. Is it better to make a table and chair or two tables? What about a chair with bricks leftover? Introduce prices, algebra and graphing equations and you have a very relevant, yet very fun workshop using Lego! 

See the newsletter below that was produced by Mounts Bay Academy.

Interested? Bored? Hopefully not the latter ….

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