Sunday, 11 October 2015

La Fête des Maths, Beaumont de Lomagne

We were invited to have a stall at the wonderful Fête des Maths at Beaumont de Lomagne this year.
As well as having some excellent help from some of our students, it was brilliant to see so many families from school coming to enjoy the day at the birthplace and home of Pierre de Fermat.
There were lots of fine stalls there, with all sorts of things to play with: puzzles, games, cooking-related activities, origami; We seven different activities on our stall, and they attracted quite a crowd!
Here's a slideshow of the event:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Seven lessons on scaling in Year 4

The idea of scaling is really important in mathematics, and everywhere in the world, so in Year 4 we've spent seven days exploring it in different ways.
 We started off by scaling up shapes drawn on grids. We looked at this:
This is what Rod drew
Then we made some scaled up shapes ourselves.  And we had lots of them (sometimes it went wrong the first time, an we had to re-do it):

 The next day we made designs with pattern blocks, with a certain ratio: two triangles to one square. (Thanks to John Golden for this idea.)
There were streets, cats
Here are some of them put on a graph:
and two charts made on paper:
What about a pattern that could carry on forever with the same ratio!
 Next up, we looked at A-sizes of paper. We use A4 most of the time, but the wonderful thing about this shape rectangle is that you can cut it in half and it's just the same shape scaled down. So, that's what we did, starting at A2 paper:
 In our fourth lesson, we looked at two models of the A380. The real A380 is one hundred times longer than the big model, and five hundred times longer than the small one.
Taking the small one, how long would the runway at Blagnac need to be to be the same scale?
We looked on Google maps:
So, about 4km. We divided this by 500 together, and got...
8 metres!
We made some 8 metre runways (they're a bit too thin, but never mind):

   Next we made chocolate cornflake cupcakes. But we needed to scale up the recipe to make the right number of cupcakes.
We also had a go at scaling up with this website
and scaling down with this:
 This one was a bit of a challenge. We looked at a clip from Zoolander:

Thanks to Robert Kaplinski for this lesson.

The real question is how many times would you need to scale this model up to make the real school?
And.... how can you work this out?

We thought about this in groups, and came up with different ideas. But it was a hard question!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

International maths Competition in Toulouse

What a great weekend! A Carnival of Mathematics

During the Weekend of the 27th to 29th March 2015, the International School of Toulouse hosted the the ISMTF Middle school Mathematics competition. This is a annual event for students aged 14 and under (There are others for older students too) Each year it takes place in a different host school and this year it was our turn in Toulouse. We have had some great experiences at other events so it was great to have a turn at hosting!

Teams arrived at the airport throughout the day on Friday and were met by staff and parents from the school who escorted them to Toulouse where they could drop their bags and take part in a great Scavenger hunt around the city! We wanted our visitors to get the most from their visit!
At around 17h they arrived at school where they did some ice breaking activities and gegan getting to know each other and the school before being paired up with their host families from IST who had generously agreed to look after them during the weekend.
On Saturday morning, competition began in earnest. Teams of three went through several rounds of competition solving problems with only the aid of pencil and paper. This is a challenging competition and not for the faint hearted. Any correct solutions found are to be celebrated!

After a well earned lunch, we had the privilege of hearing our visiting author Simon Singh talk about his book Fermat's last theorem with great passion. Obviously this is story of some local significance! All this before taking off to see the new Areoscopia museum and the Final Assembly line of the A380.
After another night with host families students reconvened on Sunday morning for another contest. this time science, technology and were maths combined. Students had a brief to build a machine with certain capabilities which would then be tested to score points. Maths problems had to be solved to get the parts they needed.
An awards ceremony took place where 1st prize went to the International School of Lausanne for the Saturday competition and then everyone began their long journey home!
A great event all round and we are so very grateful to all of the people that helped us make this event such a success!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

ISMTF Middle School Competition

Information for ISToulouse families

Some time ago, the International School of Toulouse volunteered to host the ISMTF middle school Mathematics competition in 2015. The International Schools Mathematics Teachers Foundation (ISMTF) has been running competitions for many years and students from the International School of Toulouse have taken part in many of them

They run three competitions every year,

1. The middle school competition for 14 year old
2. The junior competition for 16 year olds
3. the senior competition for 18 year olds

Their continued success depends on schools volunteering to host the events. In recent years, students from the IST have taken part in competitions in Paris, Basel, Vienna, Milan, Luxembourg and Geneva all of which have been fabulous experiences. We hope to have many more and, as such, we are only too glad to take our turn of hosting. The competition takes place between the 27th and 29th of March 2015.

This year the competition will involve 11 students from IST in years 8 and 9 as part of a total of 117 students and 29 visiting teachers from schools from Europe and beyond. We are delighted to welcome all of the schools some of who are coming from as far a field as India, Dubai, Cairo and Tunisia.

Huge Organisiation

Obviously the event has taken a huge amount of preparation lead by the Mathematics department at the school with terrific support from the whole school community. We are so very grateful for all of the support we have from our colleagues, students and parent and governing body. It has been a wonderful coming together of the whole school to work towards a truly international and hopefully very successful event that shows the value of goodwill within the school community. I expect to spend a good deal of time saying thank you after the event and paying back a considerable debt of support that I will owe.

What does it involve?

  • This competition will involve 117 students between the ages of 11 and 14 in two competitions.
  • The International School of Toulouse has also entered teams and will provide substitutes for any absentees from other schools.
  • Students come from International schools in Europe and beyond.
  • Students will stay with host families from the International School of Toulouse and Coaches will stay in a hotel in Toulouse.
  • The first competition on Saturday takes place in teams of three where students will represent the school they come from.
  • The second competition on Sunday involves students competing in teams of 6 where students will be mixed in teams with students from different schools.
  • On the Saturday afternoon, there will be an excursion to the Airbus A380 final assembly line and the Aeroscopia aviation museum.
  • We are delighted to welcome author Simon Singh as a guest speaker on Saturday where he will talk about his book, Fermat's last Theorem, which is a story of great local significance.

Host Families

A significant part of the experience is that the visiting students are hosted by families rom our school community. This was always a tall order given how small a school we are, but with the very able Friends of IST and the very obliging parent community we are delighted to be able to offer this experience to students. This also allows the school community to be more involved with the event. Thank you to all of the families who are able to help us with this. We are very grateful.

Simon Singh

We are particularly pleased to welcome author Simon Singh to the school for that weekend. He is best know to mathematicians as the author of 'Fermat's last Theorem' which tells the wonderful story of this enigmatic mathematical problem that local mathematician Pierre de Fermat brought to the world's attention and was finally proven by mathematician Andrew Wiles nearly 400 years later. Some students at the IST will have the opportunity to listen to Simon Singh Speak about his latest book 'The Simpsons and their mathematical secrets', while he is here.

Information for participating schools is hosted here

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cuisenaire rod patterns in Year 4

Last term, in pairs, Year4 had a go at creating sequences of cubes and understanding them. This week they've been trying a similar thing with Cuisenaire rods. And what a great lot of sequences they've created!

More challenging perhaps, is understanding the patterns and how they grow - and this means understanding them mathematically.
Some of the students got straight into the number crunching:
oops! - this one is not quite right!
Others wanted to draw their sequence first:
They had to think hard about the patterns:

Some of the students were willing to talk about their patterns: