Archive for the ‘Challenge Yourself’ Category

‘In it to win it’… Don’t miss the chance to win Olympic tickets!

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The Out of the Blocks   Maths and Science Series for London 2012 is proving very popular in schools. So if you’re still looking for a STEM Club activity with the prospect of you and your team winning Olympic event tickets, there are still 2 weeks left to enter a team in the Maths and Science Challenge 2012 closing date for entering a team is 15 May 2012!  

The Challenge is for teams of 4 to 6 students to plan a major sporting event in your local area, using their maths and/or science skills to create a great presentation for STEM Challenge local-area judging between 21 and 30 May.

So effectively you have until almost the end of May to come up with a winning project!


Rugby World Cup Maths: FREE Activity to download

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The Rugby World Cup is upon us.  There’s a lot more mathematics to rugby than you might think, and we’ve created a bespoke Beast Index to prove it.

Keep your class on their toes with these AO1 and AO3 problem-solving questions on averages & range, and using formulae:

Not just a pretty face. Click to download and see how the world's most massive rugby player can help with GCSE Maths.

Evariste Galois: the 20 year old mathematician who fought a duel

December 21, 2010 1 comment

Some stories you just couldn’t make up.  Evariste Galois was a young French Mathematician, who wrote his most important work on algebra and symmetry, now known as Galois theory, the night before dying in the strange symmetry of a pistol duel.  And that’s without mentioning Galois’ involvement in the 1830 Revolution, his imprisonment, and his unrequited love affair.

Our thanks to Republic of Mathematics, which brought these two videos to our attention.  The first is a TED talk by Marcus du Sautoy on Galois and symmetry, the second is a short documentary on Galois’ life. 

Click to play documentary.

Sometimes it’s hard to engage students with the lives of great mathematicians.  Have a go with this one.  The ingredients are remarkable.

Christmas Maths Challenge – win a Christmas Hamper!

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

MATHS TEACHERS – solve this Sherlock Holmes Christmas Maths Mystery and win a hamper packed with excellent things! 

Simply download the two PDF’s below, solve the clues, and send your answers to by 5pm on Monday 13th December:

"Where the Devil has he hidden it, Watson?" Help Holmes and Watson find Moriarty's doomsday weapon before it's too late! Click to download PDF.

Crucial hints from "The Examiner"? That's a first. Click to download PDF.

You’re taking part in the sixth and final episode of our Sherlock Holmes Maths competition.   The prize will go to the answer which solves/identifies the most clues.  All Maths teachers and Maths classes are welcome – MERRY CHRISTMAS!


November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Our congratulations to the Episode 3 winners of our Sherlock Holmes Maths Competition:


…for successfully working out where Holmes and Watson must go next.


Out of the pan and into the fire. Holmes and Watson make it out of the tunnels OK, only to face their next Bonfire Night challenge... Click to download updated map.


We’ll be sending the winners a free Sherlock Holmes DVD (the 2009 Guy Ritchie version) and a tin of Cadbury’s heroes.


Discover what happens on Wednesday when Holmes and Watson arrive at Borough Market in Episode 4 to face a BONFIRE NIGHT challenge.

Here is the winning solution to Episode 3:

4 diamonds = 1684. To work out 1 diamond, 1684 / 4 = 421

Code 2403 is 3 diamonds and 2 circles. 3 diamonds = 421 x 3 = 1263

2403 – 1263 = 1140.

1140 = 2 circles. To work out 1 circle, 1140 / 2 = 570.

Code for hatch is 1 diamond and 3 circles = 421 + (570 x 3) = 2131

Therefore code for hatch is 2131.

To work out the route of the thief, the probability has been worked out for each potential route:

Fractions have been turned into decimals to make it easier:

Angel Islington – University College: 0.5 x 0.25 = 0.125

Angel Islington – British Museum = 0.5 x 0.05 = 0.025

Angel Islington – House of Lords = 0.5 x 0.7 x 0.07 = 0.024

Angel Islington – Imperial War Museum = 0.5 x 0.7 x 0.5 = 0.175

Angel Islington – Smithfield Meat Market = 0.1

Angel Islington – St Pauls Cathedral = 0.4 x 0.25 = 0.1

Angel Islington – Bank of England = 0.4 x 0.75 x 0.125 = 0.0375

Angel Islington – Borough Market = 0.4 x 0.75 x 0.625 = 0.1875

Angel Islington – Tower of London = 0.4 x 0.75 x 0.25 = 0.075

From this, the route with the most likely outcome is Angel Islington to Borough Market.

So the thief is at Borough Market.

Quick reminder…

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Don’t forget our Halloween Maths Challenge remains open until this Sunday, 31st October.

Episode 3 of our Sherlock Holmes Maths competition: solve the mathematical clues and let us know where Holmes should go next to track down the thief of the world’s largest ruby!

Since many schools are on half-term this week, we actively encourage teachers to have a go on their own behalf – no need to enter on behalf of their class.  All details of the competition can be found here.

This episode’s winner will receive: a FREE Sherlock Holmes DVD (the 2009 Guy Ritchie movie) and a tin of Cadbury’s heroes.

Episode 1: Sherlock Holmes Competition – FREE AO3 Maths resource to download

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Episode 1: “Smash ‘n’ Grab”

Solve the mathematical clues in this detective story with your students, and help Holmes and Watson to track down the thief of the World’s largest ruby!

This Autumn term, we’re running a fortnightly competition to give AQA GCSE Maths classes some FREE practice of AO2 and AO3 questions.  Each Episode is presented as a two-page entry from Holmes’ own case notes:

Episode 1: Help Holmes and Watson solve their first clues, and work out where they must go next. Click to download PDF.

And here’s the accompanying worksheet:

Watson's Worksheet. Click to download.

How the Competition Works:

1. Download the full Episode, and the Worksheet, by clicking on the 2 images above.  Print these out for your classroom, or project onto your whiteboard.  They contains the narrative of the story with Maths challenges, testing AO3 problem-solving skills. You may find it helpful to use the map of London, which we published in an earlier post.

2. The solution to the Maths challenges is the next location Holmes and Watson must go to.  Submit your solutions, together with an explanation, either by leaving a comment on this post or by sending an email to  Deadline: 5pm on Tuesday 28th September, 2010. 

3. You can send the solution on your own behalf, or on behalf of your GCSE Maths class.  If the latter, please specify the name of the class.  If you have more than one class, you can make more than one entry.

4. The winning solution will be chosen at random from all correct solutions, and published next Wednesday, 29th September.  We will send this prize to the winner: a DVD of the 2010 BBC Sherlock Holmes series and a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes!

5. There will be six episodes in total – teachers can join this competition at any stage.  There’s no need to register and you can send solutions for as many, or as few, of the Episodes as you want.  You can keep up-to-date with every Episode on this dedicated page of our blog.

Full terms and conditions of the competition can be accessed by clicking here

Final Tip: if you’re a Maths teacher and want to take part in this Competition, you’re strongly advised to subscribe to this blog (which, by the way, is cost-free and spam-free).  This means you’ll get all future Episodes emailed straight to your inbox as they’re published.  To subscribe, just enter your school email address in the box top right of your screen.

New subscribers also receive a FREE copy of our AQA GCSE Middle Sets Student Book: essential reading, especially as some of the clues in later Episodes will be hidden inside it…