Review of Amatemática 2016
Last week students from Years 7 to 12 participated in a variety of mathematical and numeracy related events and activities across the senior school. The vision of the inaugural SASS Maths Week – Amatema´tica – was to engage and inspire the school community with the beauty and utility of mathematics.
The week was launched with a special senior assembly led by the prefects. Pablo Amster, a distinguished professor of mathematics from UBA spoke to the students about the connection between maths and music. He had earlier had lunch with a range of students from Years 7-12 who grilled him about what life is like as a mathematician.
Throughout the week staff and students puzzled over specially selected daily problems as well as completing an Odyssey of mathematical challenges.
Year 9 students built on their studies by designing Pythagoras Trees using technology and subsequently realizing their creations using card and board. The shapes were added one-by-one taking photographs on their tablets to create a stop-motion video so that the trees grow before your eyes.
On Tuesday morning a group of Year 7 students, ventured up to Punta Chica primary school to share what they had learned about probability during their risk project. They were very warmly welcomed back their old primary school and it was a great success by all accounts.
On Tuesday lunchtime, the patio and garden area was packed with students and staff busy solving puzzles and mathematical problems as they waited in line for their chori. There was a very positive atmosphere for the mAthSADO and over $3000 was raised for community service projects.
On Wednesday 140 Year 8 students gathered in the middle school gym to take part in the Maths Team Challenge. They were arranged in groups of 4 students from the same house. In the first round, ‘Team Questions’ students worked on a range of problems to a fixed time limit. In the ‘Stations’ round the students moved between different practical maths problems. The final ‘Relay’ round after lunch saw the groups split into pairs and answer questions alternately. At the end of the competition Fleming was victorious house and Dirichelet the winning team. It was especially pleasing to have Year 11 volunteers interacting positively with the Year 8s.
Thursday, the final day of the abbreviated week was designated as Pi-day. The day started started early on Roque Sáenz Peña with Year 11 students arriving before school to commence the Big Pi write. During the morning the most famous trancendental number was written in chalk down the road through the senior school foyer and all around the patio. Students in Year 7 helped to write out the first 2200 digits of pi.
The Pi trail concluded at the amphitheatre where there were pies (Pi-themed cakes) for sale during the morning breaks for community service projects. The amphitheatre was also home to the mathematical art project. Students from throughout the school had created questions based upon the maths they had studied during the year, the answers corresponded to a colour. During the day pupils and teachers came and found a problem to solve and, if successful, coloured in a region. It was great to see the piece come to life across the day. The final image, created with the help of former pupil Tadeo Casiraghi, depicted the sailing ship ‘Symmetry’ which brought some of the school’s founders from Scotland in 1825. It also has representations of the school shield, the houses and mathematical instruments. The mathematical problems themselves serve as a record of virtually the entire senior mathematical curriculum.
During the week Year 9 students worked on writing Pi-ems during their English classes. A Pi-em is a poem whose word length follow the digits of pi. There have been many excellent creations, but perhaps the most impressive comes from our Business Studies and ToK teacher Mr Simon Chater:
I held a glass thirstily to quench doubt and dry mouth.
Possibly partially sentiment? Otherwise day by day concerns fade:
Losing my ageing mind; for the expected end of dreaming;
“If doubting yourself hurts, I empathise totally.
I cannot eliminate the anguished sensation you express.
Maybe I… maybe tomorrow we…”
Repeating running, just bypassing hope
Shut doors thrusting me out…
However, suddenly I awaken anew…
Loving or allowing myself in…
Unending happiness restfully cleanses around my concerns…
But then somebody is there and says it!
I… I… goodbye…
Memory, thought… vanishing
At lunchtime, the school hosted hedge fund manager Mr Arthur Perry (current parent & hedge fund manager) in a joint Finance Club/mate-matics presentation about the mathematics of derviatives: ‘Risky Business’. There was great engagement throughout with some excellent questions from students of all ages.
Overall the week was a great success. It was enjoyable to collaborate with other faculties and extend mathematics beyond the curriculum, utilise technology and foster creativity. It was a busy and enjoyable week and the mathematics department appreciated the support received from all areas of the school in realizing this initiative as well as the enthusiasm of the students to get involved.
Leader: Maths Enrichment Project