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USH Newsletter 10th July 2015


I love Maths...I really do love my subject. The logic and beauty of it underpins the daily life of us all.  Every time we listen to music, bake a cake, go shopping, play a computer game, or even look at a piece of art we unwittingly employ mathematical skills.

Teaching is a career that I chose after ten years in healthcare and eleven years on from that decision I still love it.  Working with young people and ensuring they receive the best mathematics education is my vocation.  I consider myself very lucky to have a team of mathematicians at USH who also share my love and commitment to the teaching of this subject.  Thankfully, they also share my sense of humour (well, they have never said they don’t!)  We are an effective but also fun loving Maths team at USH, and hopefully you will gain some sense of that over the course of this newsletter.

I often used to hear the phrase, “I can’t do Maths” and I dare say parents may have said the same!  While mastering the methods and theory of mathematics can be difficult we can all achieve; we just have to believe it is possible!  I joined the school with one mission; getting our students to believe that they can succeed in mathematics.  I believe that this is the corner stone to students actually succeeding in this subject.  As my time here progresses, I am glad to say, I am hearing this phrase less and less.  Our students are developing their independence and resilience in their mathematical studies; something they should be very proud of!

I am pleased to say that in September the Maths team is fully staffed and comprises of: Mrs Adamou, Mr Wallace, Mr Taylor, Mr Hield, Mr Hooper and myself.  We welcome Mr Hooper as a new addition to the team and are excited about his recruitment, and we must congratulate Mr Hield on his promotion to Deputy Subject Lead. I would also like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to Mr Champney as he is relocating to the midlands: we wish him every success for the future.

Vicky Rasey, Subject Leader Mathematics

Things to look out for in the Maths Department

Mathematics is a colourful and intriguing subject which needs focus and persistence in order to be able to solve problems and patterns.  To aid the students in achieving their goals, there has been a gradual revamp of the department’s displays which will be completed in time for the start of the new academic year.  The displays will be simple, bold and useful.  See the example, do you know what it means?!

Thinking Skills in Maths

This worked particularly well in breaking the Maths in history/real life project down into separate groups.

Key stage 3: Data Handling Projects

Have you ever wondered if taller people have bigger feet to keep them stable or if playing computer games helps improve your reaction time? These were just two of the investigations that were carried out by some of our Key Stage 3 classes last term.

Students decided on the topic of their statistical investigation and the hypothesis that they would try to prove correct. They identified possible areas of bias in their data collection, created graphs and analysed averages and ultimately made decisions based upon the evidence that they had collected.

Here are some examples of the display work that students produced showing their work over the course of the project.

Key Stage 3: Mathematics and Art

Galileo Galilei wrote that "The universe is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures.”

Maths is all about patterns and rhythms, so it's no surprise that there is plenty of Maths in art.  Whether it's the visual arts or the performing arts, Maths can be a tool; an inspiration. Mathematics has even inspired fiber arts such as quilting, knitting, cross-stitch, crochet, embroidery and weaving.  At USH some of our Key Stage 3 students have worked with pencils and rulers on paper using this technique in mathematics. Here are the results of their fantastic work.

Maths Jokes (and, yes, they are that bad!)

I did say that we like to have fun in the Maths department so this newsletter wouldn’t be complete without some grimace-inducing maths related jokes.

What did the number 8 say to the number 0? …..Nice belt!
Why are powers like fish?  …..Because they’re all indices!
Why was the maths teacher late for school?  ….Because he got on the rhombus!

Just for Fun!

Who said that calculators are only used for Maths? Try this on your calculator, hit the equals sign and flip the calculator over:
(47 x 47 + 10 x 10 ) x 5 x 5 - 3 x 3
(47 x 10 + 47 x 10 + 47 x 10 + 47 x 10 - 1) x 3
7 x (800 + 9)
2 x 13 x 13
3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 101 – 3000
(50 x 50 x 3 + 1) x 6 - (50 x 50 x 4)
(Of course, the plural of (50 x 50 x 3 + 1) x 6 - (50 x 50 x 4) is (8 - 1) x 8 x ( 8 x ( 8 x (8 + 1 + 1) - 1 ) - 1 ), isn't it?)

Answers will be in the next newsletter but in the meantime below is how to read the calculator numerals as letters, don’t forget to turn it upside down!
0    O/D
1    l
2    Z
3    E
4    h
5    S
6    g
7    L
8    B
9    G

Key Stage 3 and 4: Going Green with Maths Homework

Many workplaces are well on the way to becoming paperless and ultimately more environmentally friendly and the Mathematics department is also starting to take on this challenge.  With the relaunch of Moodle, the school’s virtual learning environment at the start of next year, the Mathematics Department is planning to fully utilise the resource to revamp homework across the department.  Students will be able to complete and hand in homework electronically and will receive immediate feedback and results.  Students without computer access will still be able to collect and return paper copies of the homework. Parents will be able to see homework set, completed and also feedback through the student’s Moodle logins.

This Year’s GCSE Challenge

The Edexcel GCSE Mathematics paper made the national news headlines this year and went viral on Twitter.  I was immensely proud of our students’ response to a very stressful situation and their attendance at the Saturday mid exams revision session was fantastic.  Mr Champney has put together a snippet of what the Year 11 were given below:

Here it is: if you believe Twitter and vast numbers of students across the country, it is the most fiendishly difficult question of our times.  Move over ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ and the quest for a grand unified ‘Theory of Everything’.  Hannah’s here and she’s got yellow and orange sweets. How do you fare when attempting one of the trickier questions from this year’s GCSE paper?  Look out for the answers in the next newsletter.

Mr Hield on Maths in the Real World

Well, as we have seen above, Maths can make headlines in the real world and as a secondary mathematics teacher when asking, “Has anybody got any questions?” a very common response by the students is, “What’s the point of this?” and, “When will I ever use this?”  I am sure some of you reading this are thinking, “Well they probably have a point, I remember doing algebra, and I’ve never used it since”.  I hope to convince you otherwise in the next two paragraphs.
We all know British people love to queue, whether it’s at a theme park, in a traffic jam or at the supermarket; it’s one of the best past times I can think of?!  When choosing which queue you wish to join at the supermarket, you are using Maths to work out which queue you think is going to be the shortest.  There is a branch of mathematics called queuing theory (I haven’t just made this up, promise!) which deals with the theory of queuing and trying to minimise time and expense.  The best way to queue at the supermarket is called a serpentine line, where everybody stands in one long line and whoever is at the front of the queue gets served next.  Unfortunately as we are curious human beings, psychology makes us think that queuing in this way is slower, hence why we have lots of smaller lines because we think we can beat the system.  Have a look at the picture, which queue would you choose and why?
Look out for the next instalments of Maths in the real world next term when I look at internet security and also see if Maths can determine if you’re good looking!

The Big Bang Science Trip

"On Friday 27th June the Science Club members went down to Richard Taunton College to take part in a day of activities set up by STEM call the Big Bang.  This gave us a great opportunity to learn more about science and lots of new facts.  Each school had their own project to show everyone.  For our project we took 'Taking responsible risks and responding with awe'.  We also did some activities rather than just listen and that was really fun."
by Anna Hodges, Year 7

"At the Big Bang we did all different kinds of experiments.  We had a look at other schools' work and put our video on and then we went to watch the science experiment.  My favourite bit of that was when the man poured the liquid nitrogen on the floor!  After this we looked at some more work and then went to watch a rocket car show that was really fun.  We spoke to people about what they do as their jobs.  Finally we went to do watch someone make a flame around a record player with a bin and make a cyclone where the fire goes upwards in a twist."
by Molly Dampier, Year 7

"The Big Bang Science day at Richard Taunton College was a great opportunity for us to learn new facts and have fun.  We did activities and there were talks about science with demonstrations.  Each school showed their own project to the others.  While we were there we learnt new skills and had a go at doing things so we could be independent and find out by ourselves."
by Katie Lewis, Year 7

Visit to Mayflower Theatre

Students from Years 7 to 10 went to see ‘The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time’ at the Mayflower Theatre on Thursday 2nd July.  A relaxed performance enabled the students  to experience a live play, in some cases for the first time.

This fresh, moving play offered an abundance of tricks to our captivated group, including physical theatre, strobes, live animals (the puppy was our favourite) and confetti cannons.

Christopher, a 15 year old boy, is a mesmerising and heart-breaking character who is often rude without meaning to be: these moments are some of the funniest in the play!  He struggles with personal relationships and unfamiliar experiences and tells his story through a fluid minimal set and multi-rolling.

The play affected each student differently.  At the interval, one student described how she could relate to the poignant story, seeing similarities to herself in the way the main character felt, thought and behaved.  Another student thought the set design was very creative and liked when they drew on the walls, floor and ceiling, as well as the imaginative journey when Christopher went to London. Someone from our group found out in the interval how many steps there were to the rear circle (47!)

This powerful play will provide long-lasting memories for each student.  Many thanks go to Autism Hampshire for providing the tickets.

We made the news on BBC South Today!!

Ms Rioch, Inclusive Learning department

Year 9 DofE Expedition

Year 9 will be going out on their DofE practice expedition on the 17th and 18th July.  They will need to arrive in school at the normal time with their kit.  They will not need to wear school uniform on Friday 17th but will need to make sure they are wearing appropriate walking gear, especially footwear.  Students will be able to leave their rucksacks in the performing arts block before attending  tutor time.  At the beginning of period 1 students will collect the remainder of their kit from the DofE stores and we will have a brief meeting before setting off for the start point in the New Forest.

The hard work the students have been putting in learning compass and map reading and taking bearings will be put to the test as they navigate their way through the forest on the planned route.  When they arrive at the camp site they set up tents and prepare their evening meals. There will be some free time in the evening to sit around and talk or play games.  We will have a quick review of the plans for the following morning before the students retire to their tents.

The practice expedition is an integral part of the DofE expedition section and students need to complete this if they wish to go on and complete the assessed expedition.

Jenny Murphy, DofE Coordinator

Paris 2015

Final payments were due by 3rd July – we will be chasing these up over the next few days.  We are on a payment schedule with the tour company and so places are at risk if the balance is not paid on time.

We will be making the collective passport application in the next week – this is for students who don’t have their own passport or don’t have one on order.  Again, we need information about  how all students intend to travel as a matter of urgency.  To reiterate the options:

• A photocopy of a current passport or confirmation that you have one on order.
• A completed nationality questionnaire (available from me) with two recent passport photos.

Thanks to those of you who have sent all this information in already.

Any issues, please get in touch.


Barcelona Trip April 2016

The Spanish Department is pleased to offer a trip to Barcelona to current Year 8 and 9 students who have opted to take Spanish as a GCSE option. The trip will run from Thursday 14th April to Sunday 17th April 2016.  A letter containing more details can be collected from Mr Bhardwaj.

Dates for Your Diaries

Monday 13th July – Work experience starts for Year 10
Tuesday 14th July – Sports Day for Years 7, 8 and 9, Sports Centre
Wednesday 22nd July – last day of term; school breaks up at 1.05 for summer holidays

Dates for Autumn Term 2015:
Tuesday 1st September – Inset day
Wednesday 2nd September – Year 11 and Year 7 return to school at 8.30am
Thursday 3rd September – Years 8, 9 and 10 return to school at 8.30am
Saturday 26th September – 9am to 1pm, Open Morning

School Closure/Inset Days for 2015/2016 Academic Year:
Tuesday 1st September 2015
Friday 18th December 2015
Friday 12th February 2016
Friday 18th March 2016
Monday 27th June 2016