Maths Mission: Cracking the Code

Maths Mission: Cracking the Code

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Nesta’s been working in
partnership with the Tata Group to launch a national
competition for schools to ignite a love for maths. It’s called Cracking the
Code, and it challenges 11 to 14-year-olds to design
their own Escape Room, to encourage students
to kind of see how they can apply maths in action. Everywhere you go
you need maths, and so everybody who’s at
school today, whatever job they go into is going to need maths. And if we can do
something to make sure there are lots of people with
really good maths in the years to come, then that will
be something really useful for us to have done. The group aspects
of the challenge, I think many problems are best
solved by more than one person, and that’s exactly
what is happening here. You’ve got groups of students
from different schools taking part, challenging
themselves and challenging each other to
solve the problems. I wanted to get involved
in Cracking the Code because I come from an
engineering background, and I love
problem-solving and I knew that students would find
maths interesting if it had to do with problem-solving. It’s fun, because
normally in maths you might just work from a book. The winning team will
receive 2000 pounds for maths programmes at their school
and, really excitingly, the opportunity to see their
Escape Room actually come to life. I find it really
interesting and pleasing when you find the
solution but it was really hard to get there. It’s really fun
working in a group. You have other minds to work
with, so it’s really fun. I’ve enjoyed the
activities and how we had to try and get the code. In maths, we normally just sit
down and just write on paper, but in here we get to
express our creativity. I think the biggest thing the
kids got from the experience today is just developing
their teamwork skills. Coming into the day they
were rushing into it, getting really excited,
and they gradually figured out that if they worked
together and communicated, they’d actually get
a whole lot more from the actual experience. The vast majority
of jobs that we will be doing in the next
10, 15, 20 years time will require logical,
computational thinking, which requires a
good understanding of the foundational
skills around mathematics. So I think some of
the outcomes today are attitudinal and
fantastic as much as the mathematical problem
solving side of things.

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