You're reading: Travels in a Mathematical World

My puzzles stall

As I am leaving the IMA (didn’t know? You haven’t been listening to the Math/Maths Podcast!), I am trying to document what I do. I am videoing some bits that might be useful for my successor to see what I do and see if they like it for their own use. In the middle of this, a request came in from Hazel Kendrick, Project Officer for the HE STEM Programme at the IMA, who is looking to develop a small kit of resources for a maths stand at a careers fair or science fair aimed at 11-18 year olds. Although my small kit of puzzles is used at university careers fairs, I thought sharing this might be useful. It is much easier to video myself showing the puzzles than trying to describe each one, so here we go. It’s 12 minutes long, so split over two YouTube videos (below).

My strategy at a careers fair is to provide an experience which is different from the employers. I want to mark the IMA out as different. Sometimes students ask me what jobs the IMA is offering and I have to explain we aren’t a graduate recruiter. I do puzzles because I think they are enticing – and everyone who I entice leaves the stall with a Maths careers flyer and a copy of the IMA Careers Advice Booklet – and to give the students some break out time in what can be an intense process (sometimes hours spent talking to potential employers). I also usually give everyone a copy of the dots puzzle in the second video, in the hope they will find it the next day and have a go at solving it, remembering as they do that the IMA exists. I’ve been complimented several times by organisers of careers fairs for my approach.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

$\LaTeX$: You can use LaTeX in your comments. e.g. $ e^{\pi i} $ for inline maths; \[ e^{\pi i} \] for display-mode (on its own line) maths.

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>