Mathematics is so much more than numbers – but not every child is invited to see it that way. We apply the systematic ‘Russian approach’ to teaching maths which emphasizes the logical and reasoning side of the subject including how to argue the case for the right answer and how to reach it. In our view the art of debating and applying logic to prove a point is as vital in the world of maths as it is in the humanities.
To provide the right environment for debates and discussions our maths circles take the form of small classes where children may be further divided into groups to work on specific problems. Each group is invited in turn to present their answer to the rest of the class and children take turns to be their team’s spokesperson – ensuring every child gains confidence through the experience of public presentation and explanation to their peers.
The problems we set often look more like games or questions of logic rather than serious mathematical challenges. This retains the child’s attention while the answers always lie in an understanding of one or other mathematical process.
While making maths fun and interactive, our maths clubs focus on:
1. Going BEYOND the current mathematics CURRICULUM in the UK
We go beyond the school curriculum to expand children’s mathematical understanding and their powers of logic. We teach to mathematical olympiad level and mostly use olympiad questions in class.
2. Restoring COMPETITIVENESS
In many schools competitiveness has been removed from the classroom. In sport we understand that the desire to win improves performance. The same is true of studying where working in competing teams accelerates learning. We organize regular competitions and students are encouraged to participate in mathematical olympiads.
3. PRESENTATION of mathematical proofs
As so many examinations rely on multiple choice questions, children are losing the ability to show how they arrived at a solution. Proofing is an essential part of how our students learn. Each student will be encouraged to show on paper and to each other, how they reached a solution and also to demonstrate their workings, or proof, at the white board. They can then be challenged by their peers.
A further word about mathematical olympiads and maths ‘battles’ . We are firm believers that these events put competitiveness and extra-curricular maths knowledge into action. We encourage our pupils to compete in these ‘high mental octane’ events because they provide exciting opportunities for a child to exercise their minds and mathematical skills.
The London School of Mathematics and Programming organizes regular maths battles and supports mathematical olympiads by helping to prepare the problems, mark the papers and explain the solutions at the end of a day’s intense competition.
Ahead of enrolment we discuss with parents each child’s needs to make sure they attend the appropriate class or classes.