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NSCG students are Maths Masters

The Maths department hosted a competition for Newcastle and Stafford College students as part of their work with the Centre of Excellence in Maths.

The ‘Maths Masters’ competition saw students from both campuses compete in a range of activities designed to engage and challenge learners.

Natacha Shakil, Group Maths Lead for the Centre for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) and Curriculum Support for Whole College Approach (WCA) was behind the project, she said: “About six years ago we were involved in a collaborative maths project with Stoke College and Stoke 6th form which was called the ASK Maths Project in connection with MEI (Maths in Education and Industry).

“Once the funding finished, we decided to redo the original competition but with some improvements and so the ‘Maths Masters’ competition was born!”

Designed to engage and challenge students in fun math-based problem-solving activities, the Maths Masters competition saw students from each vocational department across both College campuses, take part in a Kahoot quiz to earn a place in the final.

“We didn’t want to have campus competitions, so we did vocational area competitions instead,” continued Natacha, “so the top two learners from Newcastle and the top two from Stafford, joined forces to make a team of four for each vocational area.”

A total of 55 learners from Level 2 and 3 vocational courses took part in the final competition which was held at Stafford College’s Tenterbanks Theatre on March 30.

Participants competed in two sections with the first entitled ‘Box Rich Maths’, which was separated into two sections. Part one saw teams building structures using three inch cubed cardboard boxes as they were tasked with replicating the plan, front and side views from diagrams they were given and part two saw teams estimate how many items would fit in to the boxes with Level 3 learners given Skittles and Level 2 learners given marbles. They then had to fill the box and count how many went in.

The final challenge of the competition was an interactive Kahoot quiz which incorporated aspects of mastery such as bar models and other diagrams with questions like, ‘how many marks is this question?’ and ‘which of these answers is not correct?’ providing a different way of approaching maths.

“We learnt a lot from our research in CfEM and wanted to incorporate some of this into the competition,” said Natacha. “It has also been pivotal to bringing maths mastery into FE, where previously this was more focussed on primary and secondary schools. So introducing concrete, pictorial abstract strategies and other support mechanisms for learners helped when developing the Box Rich Maths activity and Kahoot questions.”

With feedback from all involved being hugely positive, the team have plans to continue and grow the competition with network partners from CfEM Buxton and Leek College, Stoke on Trent College and South Staffordshire College on board to take part next year.

Full list of winners…

Grade 2

1st – Harry Chen, Jonathan Heath, Gabriel Tavares (Construction)

2nd – Joao Grimaldi, Mehmet Yucebas (Sport & PS)

3rd – Kai Howe, Chloe Griffiths, Katie Cullen, Faith Sweetman (H&S/EY)

Grade 3

1st – Joel Plant, Emily Harrison, Lucy Williams, Lyla Ostle-Jones (H&S/EY)

2nd – Alicia Jackson, Eboni Kyriakou, Olivia Machesney, Romana Reporter (Hair & Beauty)

3rd – David Adam, Emmanuel Ackaah, Khallum Wilkinson (Business/Travel/IT)