Maths Week at Rode Heath

Yet another fun-filled educational week at Rode Heath and this time it was the turn of Maths.  Bright and early Monday morning, the Problem Solving Company arrived complete with all manner of giant puzzles to entertain and challenge the children. It was wonderful to see every pupil engaged, from the youngest Reception child right up to the Year 6s – each key stage involved in a different 40 minute workshop.

The younger children worked with giant electronic mazes to improve their coordinate and positioning skills whereas the older children were confronted with giant tangrams intended to enhance their spacial awareness. The hexagon puzzle proved particularly difficult and I believe was only achieved by a Year 6 team. If you want to have a go at placing the six hexagons around a central hexagon, making sure that all the dots are matching, then print out the document on this webpage. Believe me, it’s not that easy! But patience is one of the most important attributes of a would-be astronaut, so bear that in mind when you are getting frustrated.  Maybe we should send a copy to NASA!

Following the workshops we all focused upon the maths objectives in our Space passports. These were wide ranging from finding fractions of stars in Year 1 to creating an Earth speedometer in Year 6. Year 3 had a very interesting week as they were tasked with weighing food before and after it had been dehydrated. This meant that the children were the first class to use our newly acquired Digital Food Dryer and Dehydrator. By the end of the week there was a very strange smell emanating from the Year 3 classroom – not entirely pleasant I have to say. This is unfortunate, as I was hoping that Mr Randall would be able to make some money selling his dried products, but judging from the expressions on the faces of those children who were indeed brave enough to taste the results, I don’t think it’s going to be a big money-spinner!

In Year 5 we had a lot of fun with rockets – investigating whether the launch angle had an impact on the distance travelled. The results were inconclusive, but we learned a considerable amount about how to conduct an investigation and what we would change to make the data more reliable and useful – facts that we passed onto the Year 4 class, who were busy with their own challenge of working out the distances of each planet from the Sun. It’s a good job that our playground and car park was long enough to accommodate their calculations.

One of the significant events of the week was our first designed and printed 3D object. This was achieved by Hermione Pugh in Year 5, who had used Tinkercad at home to create a 3D house, which she printed at school. Quite understandably, she was delighted by the result. Unfortunately, in printing, the raft that the software created had lifted slightly from the base of the platform which meant that her house wasn’t completely perfect. This mattered little to Hermione, however, who I managed to capture on film, explaining to one of her classmates about the frustrations of 3D design – music to my ears!

Another important event was the choosing of our questions for Tim Peake, which were all sent to ESA on Friday. We are hoping that as part of the interview, he will choose a name for our own Mission into Space on Tuesday 17th March (more details to follow later). I still can’t believe that our Google Hangout is actually going ahead.  Thinking about it though, it had to – after all, it’s one of the first objectives in our Space passports. And, thanks to the technical expertise of MMU and the persistence of Clare Pheasey, we are ready for 25th February – 10am our time. Although it’s a shame that we can’t invite parents to attend, it will be broadcast live on the Internet and then available on YouTube as a download. Make sure you catch it if you can!

Hexagon puzzles

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