Tuesday 18 December 2018

Intricate floral and geometric patterns on a terracotta tile at the Taj Mahal

In this issue

Seasons Greetings from the Cambridge Mathematics team!

I’m writing this from the airport in Melbourne en route to Singapore. I’ve had a fascinating week here keynoting at the Maths Association of Victoria conference, and meeting key policy makers and curriculum, assessment and resource designers. MAV18 is a massive feat of organisation with 1500 teachers, researchers and policy makers coming together to share their enthusiasm for learning and teaching mathematics - and it happens every year.

There were many excellent sessions but for me the highlight was hearing Eddie Woo speak about mathematics in his own classroom. His talk to a full lecture theatre was charismatic and impressive and even more so because he related everything to his day job of classroom teacher. Eddie has won numerous national and international teaching prizes including that of Australian Local Hero, all of which recognise his work in enthusiastically promoting mathematics as real, connected and, in his words, awesome. If you haven't heard of him, do check him out on WooTube.

In his presentation, Eddie made us all reflect both on how and why we teach the maths we teach. This question is of particular interest to the Cambridge Maths team. Of course there is a common core of basic content in all maths curricula but quite a bit of the later maths content could be said to be there for historical reasons. Eddie’s talk resonated with the internal discussions we have been having about whether what we teach now is what we should be teaching, whether some content could be redundant and be removed in favour of new and more relevant content that has perhaps not yet figured in any curriculum.

Some of that discussion overlaps with our current work on the place of algebra in our Framework. We’ve had a most interesting few months exploring ideas with impressive and informed colleagues both here and abroad, and think we are getting close to a solution which builds on research and work already done but offers something a little different from the usual progression of algebraic manipulation.

And so ends the year. There is more news below and an introduction to Ray and Dom. In the meantime we wish our friends and colleagues best wishes for the festive season and hope wherever you are in the world that 2019 will be kind to you

Best wishes,

Introducing... Ray Knight

Having previously worked for multiple design agencies and large global companies, I am excited to join the Cambridge Mathematics team and be a part of this ambitious project, which could really make a difference to many.

As part of the team I look forward to helping guide the Framework to a user friendly frontend, along with improving the visual identity of the company across all print and digital mediums.

Introducing... Dominika Majewska

My role at Cambridge Maths involves supporting the team with research elements of the project, including writing Espressos and information for the public, co-ordinating external reviews and other exciting developments! 

I obtained a BSc in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Research Methods in Psychology. My main interests are in the areas of mental health, educational psychology and perfectionism. For my Master's thesis I was fortunate enough to be part of a novel project investigating possible parental behaviours that may contribute to the development of perfectionism in children. In addition, I completed a PGCE in Psychology and taught Social Sciences as an NQT across Key Stages 3-5.

Before joining the Cambridge Maths team, I worked as a Student Recruitment Officer for the University of Kent. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, spending time with my friends and family (including my dog) and visiting new places.


Every two months we bring you an Espresso - a small but intense draught of filtered research on mathematics education. These are extremely popular practical, research-based resources for teachers: sink into a comfy chair, grab a biscuit and take a sip of one!  

The latest cup, Espresso 15, suggests effective ways to introduce negative numbers to primary students. 

What else is new?

Our weekly blog Mathematical Salad has been nominated for a UK Blog Award in the Education category. Voting is open until the 21st of December, so please hurry and vote for us here!

It is also gratifying that we are becoming recognised as approachable experts in maths education, as shown by the news items below:

Our communications and research person, Lucy Rycroft-Smith, has recently recorded three podcasts, Mathematips, for TES. They will form a monthly series which is due to launch in January. Each one involves her interviewing a mathematics expert on a particular mathematical topic and the series may continue beyone the initial three if it proves popular (we are sure it will!).

Rachael Horsman, our lead writer, was invited by the journal 'Research in Mathematics Education' to submit a review of International Perspectives on the Teaching and Learning of Geometry in Secondary Schools. Her review, which was published online last month, can be read here

And finally...

Don't forget to check out our Mathematical Salad for tasty bites of maths deliciousness! We work hard to ensure a new munchy morsel is offered for your delectation every week, so add us to your bookmarks and check the buffet often.

Also visit our Events page to find out what's happening in the world of Maths - we'll look forward to seeing you at the events we host and/or attend. 

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