Maths in Football? No way
This week is the first week of July and as I’m arranging events and attending workshops, I’m wondering where the time has gone!!
We’ve had a super busy few weeks – we’ve been to Leeds, Keele, London and Sussex.
This week we’re back in London, and east, south and west London to be exact. We’re at the big fair** all this week promoting O.R. and maths to students from around London.
We started the week on Tuesday at Carshalton College where we ran three workshops to a mixture of students – we had year 5’s, year 6’s and then year 7’s. These workshops were based on a career board game developed especially for The OR Society. Think snakes and ladders but more relevant to careers!
Wednesday we were in Westminster College and we had primary school students in our workshop sessions as well as secondary schools and we were teaching them all about flowcharts, algorithms and the real world application of maths. Maths in sport? Covered that. Maths in Government? Covered that. Maths in Supply Chain? Covered that as well.
Football fans (and in particular arsenal fans) loved the video we play at the end. Twice today I had students saying “no way” when I asked them if maths was used in football. Which way are people directed when they arrive at the stadium? Where are the marshals stood? Where are the fans seated? All of this uses maths and in particular Operational Research – we are using simulation (a type of O.R. technique) to see where people would be best seated, where the signs are best placed and where the marshals should be stood to ensure people arrive to their seats the quickest route, the safest route and the easiest route.**
Not a football fan? How about formula one? I bet you didn't know that maths and Operational Research is used by formula one to provide them with a possible competitive advantage. O.R. techniques are used widely decide the pit stop procedure and the race strategy - when they're changing a tyre, when they stop, how they race etc etc.
So the next time someone says maths isn’t useful, challenge them! If they ever go to arsenal game or watch the grand prix, maths techniques will have been used extensively behind the scenes!
**Watch the video of O.R. in Sport online at:
**Wondering what the big bang fair is? It's a fair that attracts nearly 2,000 people and encourages students to engage in STEM activities. Full info on their website -
Interested? Bored? Hopefully not the latter ….
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