Olympic maths fun for Suffolk schools

TALENTED children from schools in north Suffolk found that maths can be fun in an exciting project held at Bungay Middle School on Friday last week.

The school was delighted to be hosts of the first Cambridge University Millennium Maths project which saw teams of youngsters from Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Pakefield tackle mathematical problems with an Olympic theme.

The teams solved a series of Olympic challenges using the data from real athletes, events and records from the last 100 years of the Olympic Games.

At the end of a full and exciting day teams from Bungay Middle were first and second with a joint team from Halesworth and Bungay third.

Nadia Baker, of Cambridge University, said she was very impressed with the standard of the students.

“They dealt with mathematical problems which some sixth form students would struggle with,” she said.

Ms Baker also praised the enthusiasm and teamwork displayed by students from all the participating schools on the day.

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Suzie Tingley, coordinator of events for able, gifted and talented pupils at Bungay Middle, said: “The pupils had a terrific day and it was a pleasure to see them taking on team tasks in such a co-operative and enthusiastic way.”

The pupils themselves were in no doubt it was a fun way of learning. “It was great to be able to do 3D maths off the desk”, and “We wish we could do stuff like this every day” were some of the comments.

Ms Tingley thanked the Waveney Gifted and Talented Partnership for organising the challenge.

A few yards away in another part of the school children were also using maths as they took up the challenge of playing cards with a member of the House of Lords.

Baroness Henig is the chairman of the all party Parliamentary Bridge Group and a member of the House of Lords bridge team.

Lady Henig played minibridge with pupils from Bungay Middle and was impressed with their ability.

“Minibridge is important in so many ways as it helps develop numeracy skills and teamwork. It has been really enjoyable to see the children at Bungay so expert and enjoying the game,” she said.

Year 5 teacher Sheila Hales and local bridge teacher Alan Green have helped pupils learn the game.

“It was a great honour for us to have Baroness Henig visit the school and see how much the children enjoy minibridge.

“I’ve seen the children gain very important skills from the game, and this initiative has been very important to the school,” she said.