Why I an teaching a math circle

At some point, I have compiled a short list of reasons why I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching a math circle.  I love:

  • -the equality and feeling of mutual respect and attention that develops between me and math circle participants
  • the democracy/lack of authority that shows us the “right answer”
  • seeing the  value alignment and  deep intellectual friendship that develops among the participants
  • sharing children’s excitement when they realize their own powers
  • the feeling of freedom they develop when they get rid of their own mental blocks
  • the intellectual stimulation of choosing the problems and personalizing and  teaching them to a particular audience
  • when children  realize that they feel happy from doing a challenging job
  • observing their self-discovery
  • observing as children come up with amazing solutions and counter-intuitive discoveries
  • getting a fresh view of the beauty and awesomeness of the world we observe and create  – thus multiplying my own happiness

2014 Alan Turing Cryptography Competition

Registration is now open for the 2014 Alan Turing Cryptography Competition which starts on Monday, 27 January 2014.

Now in its third year, and organised by the School of Mathematics of the University of Manchester, this successful competition is open to secondary school children up to Year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland) and Year 12 (Northern Ireland). It is a great way for children to make use of their mathematical and problem-solving skills whilst having fun.  In addition, there is the opportunity to win some great prizes, which have been sponsored by the flight search company, Skyscanner. Skyscanner was set up by two former computer scientists from the University of Manchester, two people who directly benefitted from Turing‘s contributions to Manchester and computing.  People outside the age range can also take part, but they won’t be eligible for any prizes!

The competition follows the story of two young cipher sleuths, Mike and Ellie, as they get caught up in an adventure to discover the Lovell Legacy.  Every week or two weeks a new chapter of the story is released, each with a cryptographic puzzle to solve.  There are six chapters in total (plus an epilogue and just-for-fun code to conclude the story).  Points can be earned by cracking each code and submitting the answer.  The leaderboard enables the teams to keep track of how well they are doing.

New for this year is the Alan Turing Cryptography Day, to be held in the School of Mathematics  of the University of Manchester on Wednesday, 30th April 2014.  We anticipate plenty of code-breaking action, a live cryptography mini-challenge and a prize ceremony for the competition winners.  It’s not to be missed!

To register

Further information and registration details can be found at:

Rebecca Hanson: 2014 Primary Mathematics Curriculum is Not Fit for Purpose

Re-posted from Authentic Maths.

Rebecca Hanson:

Following the writing of my first report on the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in December I have been corresponding with the key people involved in its development.

As a results of their comments I have written a second report which calls for the immediate suspension of the implementation of the 2014 Primary National Curriculum for Mathematics. This new report dated 6 Jan 2014 can be downloaded here: Fundamental Problems with the 2014 Primary National Curriculum for Mathematics.

The press release which accompanies this report can be downloaded here:
Call for Suspension of New Primary Mathematics Curriculum.

6 JAN FAULT: If you experience problems downloading the report an alternative version (without hyperlinks) can be downloaded from the Times Educational Supplement site.

International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development 2014

International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development 2014

University of Southampton, UK, 29-31 July 2014

Conference themes:

  • Textbook research (concepts, issues, methods, directions, etc.)
  • Textbook analysis (characteristics, treatment of contents and/or pedagogy, etc.)
  • Textbook comparison or historical studies
  • Textbook use (by teachers, by students, and/or by other parties)
  • Textbook development (presentation, task design, publishing, policy matters, etc.)
  • Integration of ICT in textbooks (including e-textbook)
  • Other disciplines in maths textbooks & maths in textbooks of other disciplines
  • All other relevant issues about mathematics textbooks

Conference papers to be published in electronic proceedings
Opportunity to be considered for an edited book under negotiation with a major publisher.