This is the first part of what will probably be several entries about the first ever MaST residential which took place between 19th and 21st February in Northampton.
Everyone was nervous, teachers as well as organisers as no one had ever done this before. Ours was the first residential to take place over the whole country. However I have to say that I thought the whole weekend went really well so congratulations to all the organisers, tutors and hotel staff for looking after us so well.
The weekend began with registration at 4.30 followed by a period of looking nervously around to see if you recognised anyone from your first network meeting. We were all told that dinner was at 6 o clock but I’m not sure that anyone had told the restaurant staff as they looked slightly startled when we all piled at the same time.
After a good dinner which included sticky toffee pudding, we hesitantly went to begin our first activity. This was a mathematical version of the Crystal Maze. There were a whole range of shape, logic and number puzzles which had to be solved in teams of 6. The puzzles came from all around the world, some were familiar, others totally new. It was fun trying to solve them against the clock and certainly got us all talking.
We followed that by our first actual teaching session which was Mathematical Thinking. We looked at how puzzles and problems can be used to help develop children’s mathematical thinking in a way that is enjoyable. We finished at around 9.30 and then settled in the bar. I was amused to discover the two Leics consultants deep in thought trying to solve the tangram puzzle.
I found it difficult to sleep as my mind was buzzing with lots of ideas going around. I actually replanned my maths lesson for Monday at about midnight and decided to base it on one of the puzzles we had used instead.
Certainly a good start to what promised to be a very challenging weekend.