Maths Faculty OlympiadPosted on 10th Mar 2022
The start of a new academic year and a return to vertical form time brought a renewed structure to school activities, the Olympiad being one.
This year we are splitting the Olympiad into half terms with a different subject leading each of the 6 half terms across the year, culminating with sports day in Summer 2022.
The Maths Faculty kicked off the competition with a weekly escape room puzzle. Each puzzle had to be solved before the next as it provided part of the solution or workings for the subsequent one (hence, ‘escape room’). Points were awarded each week for the solution and an explanation as to how it was solved.
By the Friday deadline of each week, emails with explanations, pictures, and bits of paper with workings were sent to me for checking so we could ‘unlock’ them to allow them through to the next puzzle. Occasionally some were returned for corrections, but each form showed resilience in re-sending workings until correct. Some workings were minimal but clear and others were very detailed, explaining every step. All fantastic.
At the same time, there was another challenging element to the Olympiad: solving a card trick. Mr Martin and I made a video of the card trick in action. Students had to use their problem-solving skills to work out how it was that I knew the dealt card.
This part of the Olympiad was to run for the whole half term with a scaled scoring system of first correct entry winning maximum points and each subsequent correct entry gaining slightly fewer points.
Students engaged with this activity wholeheartedly. I had numerous conversations with students at break time, wanting to know if their latest puzzle entry was correct and to show them the card trick again so they could try to work it out. I was so impressed with their tenacity and teamwork. Form tutors allowed the older members of their forms to lead and support the younger students and offer suggestions when needed, however all year groups were proactive in contributing their ideas. Some of Mr Abbas’ form met at lunchtime to keep calculating. We have some excellent problem-solvers and budding mathematicians at Attleborough Academy!
I must give a mention to some of our students who took part, approached me to tell me what they had found out, were named by their form tutors, and who produced clear, systematic, and logical workings: Jacinda Bates, Abbey-Rose Cochrane, Aidan Fulcher, Maddie Gisborne, Katerina Deneva-Wiles, Martina Dimova, Ollie Bailey, Stuart Atkins, Isabella Bates, Jude French, Ben Blyth, Anya Peacock, Darius Lentin, Alex Lamb, Sian Taylor, Lucy Daynes, Evelyn Fallows, Jack Daddy, Leila-May Hutley, Sienna, Thomas, and Grace Jude. If your name isn’t here, please don’t think you haven’t been acknowledged. I am so impressed with every form and every student’s efforts. Lots of the correspondence I received didn’t have individual names but I know that there was a high degree of engagement in forms and thank all students and their form tutors for taking part.
And now to the winner! At the end of the 5 weeks of puzzles, I had to tot up the scores so that they could be sent to Heads of House to announce in their last assembly of the half term. I have to say that, from the beginning, Cavell was storming the scoreboard with all forms submitting card trick explanations (as did Boudicca). Nelson and Kett did well with only a few missed puzzles and some card tricks submitted. In fact, because Cavell submitted their card tricks early, they received more points for this element of the competition. Boudicca was the only House to have a clean sheet with every form submitting all puzzles and card trick explanations, but they were pipped to the post by Cavell due to their early prowess with the card trick.