Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Widening participation in Maths circles

Widening participation in Maths circles

School: Mathematics

Team Members: Ben Goddard, Francesca Iezzi, Zoe Wyatt

Abstract

The Edinburgh Maths Circle is a free event suited for children aged 5-15, organised by the applicants. The aim of the Maths Circle is to help children learn about mathematics through engaging and challenging activities. Feedback has shown these events to be very popular and enjoyable to our visitors.  However, the location and time (JCMB, Saturday afternoons) prevents us from reaching a wider demographic, such as students from widening participation (WP) schools, whose parents are less likely to bring them to a University event.

To address this issue, in March 2018 we started a programme to loan out our resources as well as providing training and support so teachers can host their own Maths Circle events at their schools.  This has been very successful (5 events so far, with another 5 booked), with rapidly-increasing demand, including from outside Edinburgh.  In particular, many teachers have requested helpers at their first event; this requires further funding, resources and long-term planning.

Our proposal aims to further develop our WP programme, focusing in particular on early engagement, and parental involvement, which have been shown to have significant impact on children's development and enthusiasm for mathematics.  It is a collaboration between students and staff, with plentiful personal-development opportunities, and significant scope for growth both within Mathematics and in other disciplines.