United Kingdom Mathematics Trust – Junior Mathematical Challenge 2024

On Thursday 25th April, it was time for our Year 7 and 8 pupils to take on the yearly challenge of the UKMT Junior Mathematics Challenge 2024.

This national event takes the form of a multiple-choice quiz based on using mathematical skills learnt in lessons to solve problems.

Over 4000 schools across the UK take part in this event and the standard of participation is high, only the best achieving students can receive an award, and to do so is recognition of the effort and ability of our students.

After good showings from previous year groups in their respective challenges last year, expectations were very high and I am proud to announce that this year the results were our best ever with our highest ever number of pupils receiving awards.

This year’s prize winners are as follows:

Cherlotte Y (Year 8) – Best in School, Best in Year 8 and Gold award

Lucy R (Year 8) – Gold award

Hannah R (Year 7) – Best in Year 7 and Silver award

Silver awards were achieved by the following:

(Year 7) Karma A, Heidi A, Gauri-Radha C, Amelia N, Violet C, Bella P, Veronica K and Hollie I.

(Year 8) Georgia B, Eva P, Lily H, Ruby M, Klara B, Ava T, Safaa D, Emily T, Laila B, Charlotte T, Isabella F, Maryam H, Julia M, Sophia W and Jenya Z.

Bronze awards were achieved by the following:

(Year 7) Isabelle C, Julia K, Ellie B, Grace D, Aryana S, Alicia E, Ellouise-May W, Alisia J, Gabriella R, Tess W, Lucy B, Abbie B and Amelia F.

(Year 8) Haalah N, Beatrix W, Jasmine H, Erin H, Emily M, Caitie S, Abigail W, Freya G, Beaux W, Sahasra V, Martha S, Yasmin S, Amala K, Jessica B, Safiyyah R, Lilah C, Anya M, Micah T and Isabelle M.

Congratulations to everybody involved and a big thank you to Mr Cafferkey for organising this year’s challenge.

The department is already looking forward to seeing what each year group can do in their respective challenges next year.

Mr S Cheal

The Mathematics Department

Mr McVey’s Mysterious Maths – Euro 2024 Edition

With the European Football Championships due to begin in Germany on 14th June, this challenge involves solving three related problems. As usual, a correct set of solutions either emailed to me (r.mcvey@penworthamgirls.lancs.sch.uk) or handed to me in person will be rewarded with a Head’s Breakfast and a special prize.

Good luck!

1.       The driving distance between Munich and Hamburg is approximately 790 km. How many miles is this? (You can use the conversion that 1 mile ≈1.6 km).

2.       Amy and Olivia have tickets to watch the first match in Munich. Their tickets cost €95 each, plus a handling fee of €5 per transaction. Given the exchange rate of £1 = €1.17, calculate how much their tickets cost in total, giving your answer in pounds.

3.       The BVB Stadion in Dortmund is famous for its ‘Yellow Wall’ – the largest freestanding grandstand in Europe. The remainder of the stadium can seat 12 000 more spectators than this grandstand, and the ratio of seats in the grandstand to the remainder of seats is 25:37.

  1. Calculate the seating capacity of the ‘Yellow Wall’.
  2. Calculate the total seating capacity of the stadium.

Enhancing Mathematical Problem-Solving Skills: Implementing RULER Tasks

As a Mathematics department, we are dedicated to equipping our students with the essential problem-solving and reasoning skills necessary for success in Mathematics, both in their academic journey and beyond. In line with the requirements of GCSE examinations and the broader objectives of fostering critical thinking, we have implemented several strategies aimed at nurturing these vital skills in our Key Stage 3 (KS3) and Key Stage 4 (KS4) students.

When students reach Year 11 and sit their GCSE examinations, they are expected to not only demonstrate proficiency in mathematical facts, concepts and techniques but also to apply their knowledge to solve both familiar and unfamiliar problems across a range of contexts. To ensure our students are well-prepared for this challenge, we have integrated problem-solving and reasoning tasks into every unit of work throughout the curriculum.

One of the approaches we are actively embedding is the use of ‘RULER’ tasks. RULER is an acronym that stands for Read, Underline, Layout, Evaluate and Review. These tasks are specifically designed to guide students through a systematic process of problem-solving, encouraging them to approach mathematical problems in a structured and methodical manner.

Each week, all students are engaged in a RULER task focusing on ‘Money Problems’. We have chosen this particular area of mathematics as it not only reinforces essential mathematical skills but also provides practical relevance to real-life situations. Through these tasks, students are challenged to apply their mathematical knowledge and reasoning abilities to solve problems related to budgeting, financial planning, and everyday transactions.

Here is an example of a RULER task:

RULER Task: Money Problems

Read: Read the given scenario carefully

Underline: Identify key information and underline relevant details

Layout: Organise the information and plan your approach.

Evaluate: Apply mathematical concepts and reasoning to solve the problem.

Review: Double-check your calculations and assess whether your solution is logical and practical. Reflect on the problem-solving process and identify any areas for improvement.

By engaging in RULER tasks, our students not only enhance their mathematical problem-solving skills but also develop valuable habits of mind, such as perseverance, attention to detail, and critical thinking. These skills are not only essential for academic success but also for navigating the complexities of the world beyond the classroom.

We are confident that by fostering a culture of mathematical curiosity and resilience, our students will be well-equipped to tackle the challenges they encounter in their academic studies and future endeavours.

Mrs Bennett
Mathematics Department

Mr McVey’s Mysterious Maths – Easter 2024 Edition

Happy Easter!

To keep you occupied during the holiday, why not try the following puzzles? A full set of correct solutions either emailed to me (r.mcvey@penworthamgirls.lancs.sch.uk) or handed to me in person, will earn a Head’s Breakfast along with a little Easter treat!

Enjoy and good luck!

Problem 1

In one year, 78 862 314 Easter eggs were sold in the UK.

  1. Round this number to the nearest one million.
  2. Round this number to the nearest ten thousand.
  3. If an extra 2 million eggs had been sold, what would this number be if it was rounded to the nearest one million.

Problem 2

A survey asked 56 253 people which type of chocolate egg they preferred. 32 132 people preferred milk chocolate and 16 482 people preferred dark chocolate. The rest preferred white chocolate. How many preferred white chocolate?

Problem 3

Mrs Sweeney is making Easter biscuits. Here is her recipe:

80g flour

40g butter

15g lemon zest

25 ml water

She has 120g of butter. How much of the other ingredients will she need for her recipe?

Introducing Mr Khanji, Trainee Teacher

Hello! My name is Mr Khanji and I am on a placement at PGHS as a maths trainee teacher. Prior to this, I was at university studying for my degree in maths. What I love most about my job is how rewarding it is to help students achieve what they are capable of and being able to give them the guidance and support to help them realise their ability.

In my spare time I play different sports such as football, tennis and cricket. I also enjoy watching sport, especially Formula 1.

I really enjoy travelling to different countries. I have travelled to many countries such as USA, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, India, and many others.

I am really excited to be teaching at PGHS whilst on placement and look forward to getting to know you in the coming weeks.

Mr Khanji

Code Breaking

Year 8 students enjoyed a spot of codebreaking in their Maths lessons during the STEM fortnight. They learned that cracking codes and unravelling the true meaning of secret messages involves lots of maths, from simple addition and subtraction, to data handling and logical thinking. Famous historical codebreakers, such as Alan Turing were looked, along with his role in deciphering the German Enigma code during World War 2, proving to be a particularly interesting discussion point.

Students also tried their hand at breaking a range of different codes including the ‘Dancing Men’, ‘Pig Pen’ and ‘Caesar’ ciphers, as well as a bit of Morse Code. Why not have a go at breaking the code below which uses the aforementioned ‘Dancing Men’ cipher:

Mr Cafferkey

Maths Department

Escape Rooms

Students in Year 10 were also given the opportunity to take part in a virtual Escape Room in their Maths lessons. They were placed into teams of five and given a different problem in seven different ‘rooms’ in a school that they had to solve in order to escape.

The rooms were scrambled for each team so that everyone completed the puzzles in a different order. As some rooms were harder than others, they didn’t know how they were doing until the very end.

After completing all the rooms, there was one final challenge which was to decode the key cards and answer three questions in order to win. Each of the key cards they had received had different clues on them. The students had to work as a team to be able to solve the problem and ‘escape’.

Mr Cafferkey

Maths Department

Natwest Money Sense

Over the STEM Festival, Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 have been delving into how mathematics relates to the UK financial system during some of their Maths lessons.

In Year 7, students learned about the difference between debit and credits cards. Students were very aware that a debit card gives you access to the money you had earned, whilst a credit card is where you borrow money. However, students were not aware of the issues that misusing a credit card could cause.

Students also discussed when we should be using a debit card and when to use a credit card. Some scenarios which were talked about were paying the monthly mortgage bill and paying for a holiday. Students realised that the mortgage bill should not be paid by a credit card as we are paying back borrowed money by borrowing more money which is not financially wise. Paying for a holiday by credit card is more beneficial due to the protection that you get if a holiday company went into administration.

In Year 8, students were given an opportunity to learn about what to look out for on a pay slip. Although it may be quite a while before students may see one of these, the importance of seeing one now and how this links to the maths they are currently learning, was invaluable.

Students were very intrigued to know about the tax code and their national insurance number and when they will receive these. They were not aware of how a few numbers in the tax code could impact the amount of tax each of us pay and the amount we end up taking home.

We then moved onto looking at the deductions, learning about when we pay income tax and the brackets of income tax that we can fall into. We also looked at what national insurance is and how much we have to pay; students couldn’t believe that you start paying for national insurance at £9750 but income tax was £12500.

Overall, students were very keen to see where the money they earn goes and how tax and national insurance is calculated. They can now attempt to make an estimate on the wages they will receive into their banks in the future.

In year 9, students looked at insurance. They were made aware of the different types of insurance that are available. They were not fully aware that it is a legal requirement to have car insurance when driving a car but it was not a legal requirement to have other types of insurance, for example buildings insurance if you owned a home. It was amazing to see the knowledge that the year 9 students had and the awareness of the different types of insurance that was out there.

In Year 10, students were given an opportunity to learn about the different types of financial frauds and scams. The students discussed how fraud arises and what you and your bank can do to protect yourself. Some examples involve sharing few personal details online, checking your bank statements for unusual activity and always questioning any emails or posts that offer opportunities for easy money. 

Mr Cafferkey

Maths Department

PGHS STEM Festival

The annual STEM festival is in full swing with a plethora of activities taking place to give an insight into the opportunities that STEM related subjects can bring to our students as they move through their lives and their careers.

Year 7 students will be learning and researching in Science about careers within the NHS as well as enjoying the delights of a visiting planetarium, learning about the events resulting in the formation of the universe as well as the ongoing NASA, Artemis mission. In Maths students will be developing their everyday budgeting skills as well as taking part in a food bake off challenge in Food Technology.

Year 8 students will be honing their engineering skills as they take on the nationally acclaimed Faraday challenge; this will include problem solving, designing and practical making skills hosted by Design Technology. In Music, students will take place in a workshop showing the benefits of music therapy while learning about careers within the NHS during Science. In Maths students will be developing their everyday budgeting skills along with developing their code breaking skills.

Year 9 students will be taking part in a variety of challenges in Maths including the Runshaw Maths Challenge and a special escape room challenge. In Science they will be entering the ‘Who wants to be an engineer’ competition, submitting a design to solve an everyday problem, students will also get the opportunity to do some ‘chemical cookery’ making tasty treats using the application of Science. Some Year 9s will also get the opportunity to visit Lancashire Teaching Farm.

Year 10 Students will learn about the history and importance of code breaking with a virtual visit to Bletchley Park, whilst Y11 students will learn about the Bank of England during their Maths lessons. Both Year 10 and Year 11 students will get the opportunity to meet professionals from a variety of STEM related careers during our STEM Career’s Carousel finding out about potential career pathways related to STEM.

Throughout the festival, those of a competitive nature can take part in the STEM festival Jam tart competition as well as the PGHS version of the popular game show ‘The Chase’. A STEM related Open Mic event will be taking place as well as an African Colour (Red, Green, Black and Yellow) themed non-uniform day to raise money for a school building project in Kenya.

Mr Knee

Science Department

Sparx XP Boost Competition

The Maths department ran a Sparx Maths XP Boost competition last half term that finished on the 15th December. All students were are able to gain bonus XP on Sparx maths during this time by completing the mini games and XP Boost tasks each week.

Every Maths class competed against each other along with pupils competing for the XP Crown.

The top 3 Maths classes were:

The top 3 students in each year were:

Well done to all those that took part and congratulations to the winners!

Mr Cafferkey

Teacher of Mathematics

  • Artsmark Platinum Award - Awards by Arts Council England
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • International School Award
  • Artsmark Platinum Award - Awards by Arts Council England
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • International School Award