Sequences, Functions, Balancing Bots and Competitive Programming

Senior STEM Camp for Years 3 to 11

12-16 February 2024: Face to Face at Baden-Powell House, 65 Queens Gate, SW7 5JS


This new and inspiring STEM camp offers children the chance to go beyond the curriculum in mathematics, study programming to a competitive level and work on an electronics project. Young minds will be absorbed, challenged and entertained by the world of Functions and Sequences in Maths.

Children aged 13 and over will have the opportunity to learn what it takes to become a programming olympiad winner as we look at the challenges set by the likes of Codeforces and the Perse Coding Challenge and how to solve them. Children aged 8 to 12 will also study programming and build a Radio Controlled ‘Balancing Bot’ to take home.

Places are limited, please register your interest HERE.  


In Programming and Electronics, children will work on different coding languages and projects by age group:

Programming and Electronics Project for Pupils aged 8 to 12

Whether your child is already a confident programmer or just starting out, we will create the most appropriate small study group for them. We will work in Scratch or Python depending on each child’s age and experience in the subject.

Alongside Coding and Mathematics, children will build an exciting remote controlled 'Balancing Bot’. This is a mobile model with only two large wheels which is self balancing. Directional control is achieved by remote control operating the motors that drive each wheel. The Bot will be extremely satisfying to create and great fun to operate. 

The educational benefits to pupils are: 

  • electronics - learn what an electrical circuit is, create one and troubleshoot common electronic issues, plus safety with electronics 
  • technology - understand the fundamentals of how to control various devices remotely
  • problem solving - to complete the project pupils will encounter challenges and obstacles that require problem-solving and critical thinking. They will need to troubleshoot issues, find solutions and make adjustments to ensure the components operate correctly

This is a take-home project. Once each child’s model is complete at the end of the week they can take it home to demonstrate what they have learned and achieved.

Competitive Programming for children aged 13 and over 

While there are multiple challenges in maths for various age groups, the same level of competitiveness can be found in the world of programming. Indeed the world’s most ‘in demand’ programmers are invariably olympiad winners.

For our older pupils on this camp we will focus on the skills required to succeed in programming olympiads and look at the types of challenge faced by contestants in these competitions.

LondonSMP runs the annual British Programming Challenge, created for us by Codeforces, the same platform used by Google to test the programming abilities of DeepMind. We also enter the annual Perse Coding Challenge. This camp is ideal for children who want to know more about the demands of these competitions or who already compete and are looking to improve their winning skills.

In Maths, we will explore the world of Functions and Sequences, with levels of complexity increasing with each age group. 

Functions are almost everywhere in maths: in algebra, calculus and geometry because they express the relationship between any two numbers. 

Number sequences offer the most natural way of spotting, presenting, and analyzing a pattern. From the simplest 1, 2, 3, 4, … , moving to 12, 24, 36, 48, …, followed by 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, … and 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…, sequences describe our world. The Fibonacci Sequence is a well-known example of a sequence where the numbers grow larger at a constant rate. 

A thorough understanding of sequences and functions is essential to success in solving problems in algebra, calculus and geometry.

Here are more details of what will be studied by each Year group during the camp:

Years 3-6

Our pupils will be working with sequences, which will allow them to experience the all important elements of mathematical thinking: observation, generalization, prediction and proof. 

In the optional 9am problem solving lessons, pupils will be offered challenging problems from the UK and international maths contests suitable for their age.

Years 7-9

Pupils will go deeper into the subject learning about the composition of functions and the nature of function machines, where one or more inputs has a single output. What is the rule of such a machine? Can we find a set of inputs that lead to a certain output? These are classic mathematical problems. Pupils will also learn and play the Science Game by Martin Gardner, the influential mathematician and journalist. 

In the optional 9am problem solving lessons, pupils will study a class of finite machines and combinatoric problems related to machines leading to group theory.

Years 10-11

Linear, quadratic and higher order polynomial functions, the modulus and the floor function and their compositions. Solving equations using graphs. 

Function machines - what if machines are combined together? How does the composition work? What is the power of a machine? Can one figure out the simple parts knowing how the composition works? How to solve equations where the unknowns are the machines. Several new scientific questions can be modeled this way. 

In the optional 9am problem solving lessons, pupils will study compositions of functions, a class of finite machines and combinatoric problems related to machines leading to group theory.


Format and fees for the senior face to face camp:

  • pupil to teacher ratio of 6:1
  • participants are taught in small groups, tailored by similarity of age and ability, in individual classrooms
  • camp times: 10am to 3pm. Optionally, pupils can join at 9am for an extra hour of olympiad style maths , and/or from 3pm to 4pm for our tutored chess class. There is a supplement of £25 for each additional session booked
  • fees are £595 for five days. It is not possible to join for a shorter period 
Places are limited, please register your interest HERE.