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Winners announced: Maths Careers Maths of Planet Earth 2013 Poster Competition

You may remember that the Maths Careers website ran a poster competition on the theme Maths of Planet Earth. We reported on this back in November, and said:

The IMA’s Maths Careers campaign runs a yearly competition for posters illustrating applications of maths. Entry for the 2012/13 competition has opened, and it’s on the theme of the planet Earth, to join in with the Mathematics of Planet Earth year 2013. UK students between the ages of 11 and 19 are invited to submit posters about “A planet to discover”, “A planet supporting life”, “A planet organised by humans” or “A planet at risk“.

That post also reported that the deadline was the birthday of our very own Christian Perfect, no doubt as part of the world-wide Christiansmas celebrations. Now, in the afterglow of that momentous day, the winners have been announced.

View the winning posters: Maths Careers Poster Competition 2012 / 2013. Congratulations to all the winners!

Maths Careers Poster Competition 2012/2013

The IMA’s Maths Careers campaign runs a yearly competition for posters illustrating applications of maths. Entry for the 2012/13 competition has opened, and it’s on the theme of the planet Earth, to join in with the Mathematics of Planet Earth year 2013. UK students between the ages of 11 and 19 are invited to submit posters about “A planet to discover“, “A planet supporting life“, “A planet organised by humans” or “A planet at risk“.

The deadline for submissions is my birthday, the 14th of January, and the winners from the three age categories will each receive “an Android tablet”.

Find more info and the entry form on the Maths Careers website.

via Maths Careers on Twitter

Two years in: getstats

Yesterday the Royal Statistical Society/Nuffield Foundation collaboration getstats celebrated its second birthday.

Those of us with long enough memories might recall that getstats, a 10-year statistical literacy campaign, was launched with great fanfare at 8:10pm on World Statistics Day, 20th October 2010 (20:10 20.10.2010). Then-President David Hand was quoted at the time saying

Numbers are everywhere in our lives, and statistics is about turning these numbers into useful information on which we can take action. People need to appreciate the power of statistics as it can be the key to the important choices we make in our lives.

Report criticises level of mathematics in A-level science

An article on the BBC website says that a report by SCORE has found that A-level science exams do not contain enough maths questions to prepare students to progress to science degrees or related jobs.

City & Guilds survey on views of maths – says more about media stereotyping?

A survey of 3000 pupils aged from seven to 18 for City & Guilds is reported by the BBC to have found that “maths lessons are seen as difficult, irrelevant and boring by about a third of teenagers” and that the subject could be “geared more towards real life”, but that “most agreed that maths would be useful once they had left school”.

Edexcel chief says the maths curriculum is failing students

The UK’s national ambition to lead in new high-tech industries is threatened by an alarmingly widespread cultural apathy to maths in this country.
Maths is seen by too many students as something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

It is a cultural and an educational problem.
Our experts in education note that young people don’t see maths as relevant to their lives or ambitions.
For the majority of young people, maths is a meaningless subject, with 85 per cent of students quitting it as soon as they are allowed. For too many, maths is just a series of disconnected techniques and formulae. It seems dry and academic.

We urgently need a new approach that makes innumeracy as unacceptable as illiteracy.

These are not new or surprising sentiments, except that they come from Rod Bristow who, as head of Pearson UK, describes himself in an opinion piece in the Telegraph numeracy campaign as “responsible for one of the biggest exam boards in Britain”. Edexcel, he says, “sets and marks one million mathematics GCSEs, International GCSEs and A-levels every year”.

Many people see the problems Rod describes as being driven by the assessment system, so what does he propose to do about it? “With other exam boards,” he says, “we are already in discussion with the exams regulator Ofqual about how we can further strengthen maths GCSEs”. He gives the following recommendations:

Where young people don’t gain a C grade first time at GCSE, the education system must offer new courses which encourage them to continue with maths.
We can do this by associating maths more closely with other academic disciplines such as the pure and social sciences.
Universities should make mathematical literacy a clearer requirement for entry to those majority of courses which will use it.
We must show how maths is applied in careers from construction to web design.

He also recommends learning through serious games.

Engaging computer games encourage the ‘learning by doing’ essential to building numeracy skills, and we should make clear the role of maths in producing those games in the first place.

If we want our young people to excel and lead the way internationally in maths, we must repurpose our maths teaching, learning and our exams, and use the tools of the future to change the ugly sister culture around mathematics.

Source: Numeracy Campaign: ‘maths curriculum failing to meet the needs of the 21st century’.

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