Saturday, 17 August 2019

A-mathing Race 2019




On Wednesday 14th of August as part of National Mathematics Week, Pupils and teachers from Newmarket School joined, Auckland Normal Intermediate and Parnell District School for a few hours of collaborative learning.



It was a dark and stormy night...

No, really. It was.

Fortunately, the new day arrived refreshingly free of moisture and and gloom. Perfect conditions for an A-mathing Race through the leafy suburb of Parnell.

Preparations had been afoot for many months as teachers conspired to create a fiendishly  challenging maths event for Maths Week 2019, based on the popular television show of a similar name.

Map coordinates were plotted. Clues were cunningly hid. Fingers firmly crossed.

Three schools, Auckland Normal Intermediate, Newmarket School, and the hosts, Parnell District School, supplied intrepid teams to take part in this now annual event for our ACCoS Kāhui Ako.

Four teams were chosen comprising students from all three schools. Each team was allocated a teacher from the contributing schools act as a recorder and map-holder. There were introductions and a briefing, and then we were off.

The first challenge was a gift for any budding engineers in the room: constructing a 30cm 10cm bridge out of nothing more than a packet of popsicle sticks and a roll of Sellotape. The bridge had to be sturdy enough to bear the weight of a can of Watties Hearty Beef Soup.

There was much scratching of heads until light bulb moments were translated into action. Teamwork and clear communication were the order of the day. As each team’s bridge passed the Hearty Beef Soup test, they were given coordinates to the next challenge.

And wouldn’t you know it? Just as the first teams sprinted off in search of that first clue, the weather gods decided a little dowsing of participants would add a certain frisson to  proceedings. Dampened, but undeterred, our heroes set their sights on the prize and tarried forth without delay. Their determination was soon rewarded as the first clue was spotted in the trees. In a matter of minutes, the problem was read, calculations done, and coordinates to the next clue plotted.

The next clue proved to be elusive for everybody. However, it did level the playing field as all teams eventually converged at the given coordinates in what was turning into a fruitless search for that red card with the clue on it. After much running around in all directions, it was decided that there was nothing for it but to make a call back to base for more intelligence on the matter.

Intelligence received and actioned, all teams redoubled their efforts to locate the next clue. Fortunately, this, and the subsequent clues, proved to be a much more straight-forward proposition - for most teams. One team decided to get in some extra cross country practice in by steaming up St Stephen’s Ave. rather than turning off to the correct location. Realising their mistake too late, they turned around and made their weary way back to base.

Meanwhile back at base, the other teams were applying themselves to the final challenge: working from 2D to 3D - using multilink cubes to recreate the models represented on a card.

Once these were completed and answers to the challenges had been checked, the prize giving ceremony (with much-welcomed ice blocks) began.

Judging by the smiles on faces, it is safe to say that a good time was had by all.

We extend the heartiest of thanks to the team at PDS - particularly Masina Gagamoe - for their hard work and hospitality. It is this kind of event that epitomises the spirit of COLs - students AND teachers showing initiative, collaborating, and celebrating.


Belinda Hitchman, NPS ISL


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