Sessions

See descriptions of different student talks and workshops that Think Maths run below. Click THIS PAGE for more information for a quick way to see which sessions are suitable for different age groups/group sizes. Many of these can be delivered as interactive virtual sessions as well as in person sessions – get in touch to find out more.

For both in-person sessions and virtual sessions (with the exception of ‘Merry Mathsmas’ that is for multiple schools at once), we agree a date and times that works with the school rather than having a set calendar. 

Special multi-school virtual show for KS3 ‘Merry Mathsmas’ will be back for a fourth year in December 2024 (dates not yet confirmed). Click here to find out more.

We are also available to deliver teacher CPD.  

Email info@think-maths.co.uk with any questions.

Shapes and Smoke Rings

A performer blowing smoke rings from a device on stage

Upper KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5. Presentation. All presenters.

Topology is an extension of geometry focusing on properties of shapes that stay the same when they’re stretched and deformed. This interactive presentation introduces students to topology and explores some unusual properties of shapes. It features exciting demonstrations with real smoke rings, and will provide students with ideas to explore further at home or in class.

Topics: linking puzzles, Mobius loops, spherical geometry, smoke rings & fluid dynamics.

Mathematical Magic

A deck of playing cards spread out across a table in a semicircle

Upper KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5. Presentation/workshop (for maximum of 80 students). Usually delivered by Zoe and Sophie.

Magic tricks might seem impossible, but they’re often just a case of following a set of steps – just like a maths problem. This session will give students the chance to apply and develop their mathematical thinking skills to reverse-engineer magic tricks.

Topics: reverse engineering a magic trick, counting-based card tricks, learning a maths card trick. 

The Hidden Maths of Technology

A spreadsheet of values in red, green and blue coloured cells, to represent the RGB values of pixels.

KS3, KS4, KS5. Presentation. All presenters.

There are numbers all around us that make our modern lives possible. From rescuing your lost words in text messages, to taking selfies, maths is always there making things work. This session will show students the mathematics behind modern technology and emphasise the importance of learning maths for a career in technology.

Topics: barcodes and check digits, error correction, binary numbers & ASCII, mathematics behind digital images.

Freaky Probability

An assortment of dice of various colours

KS3, KS4, KS5. Presentation. All presenters.

Humans are generally bad at intuitively understanding probability – not because they don’t understand maths, but because it’s often counterintuitive. Through a series of audience games, students will discover that the chances are not always what we might imagine. This session will help students to use their maths skills to predict and understand the outcomes of games and real life scenarios. 

Topics: lottery probability, birthday coincidences, Penney’s game.

Paper Folding and Problem Solving

Dodecahedron

Upper KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5. Workshop. Usually delivered by Zoe and Nicole.

Even a simple piece of A4 paper has interesting mathematical properties, and can be folded to build amazing structures. In this workshop students are challenged to use their mathematical and spatial thinking skills to build a paper dodecahedron in teams, and test their problem solving skills simply by folding paper. 

Topics: building a dodecahedron, geometry, 3D spatial thinking.

Maths in the Simpsons

Still frame from The Simpsons of Homer solving an equation on a chalkboard.

Upper KS4, KS5. Presentation. Delivered by Zoe only.

Very few people associate The Simpsons with mathematics, but if you look closely at the episodes there is plenty of mathematics to be found. This presentation will touch on a number of different higher level areas of mathematics, in particular some number theory topics, while illustrating that an understanding of mathematics will be an asset in any career.

Topics: prime numbers, number theory, Fermat’s Last Theorem. 

Domino Computing

Domino Computing Workshop

KS4, KS5. Workshop. Delivered by Zoe only.

A single domino in a run can either be standing up or lying down – and this is analogous to the zeroes and ones of the binary number system used by modern computers. In this workshop, using only dominoes, students will build logic circuits and will see how a computer that adds numbers can be constructed entirely from dominoes. Students will use their problem solving skills and will learn how computers function on a basic level.

Topics: binary numbers, addition in binary, logic gates.

Numbers in the News

Stack of newspapers

KS4, KS5 – Presentation. Delivered by Zoe only.

It’s important to be able to think critically about what we are told in the media. This thought provoking talk featuring audience games and experiments takes students on a tour of misleading and difficult to understand statistics from real news stories. Choose this talk to inspire the statisticians of the future and empower your students to make informed decisions in their own lives.

Topics: Misrepresentation of data, miscommunication of risk/chance including relative risk and the national lottery, and randomised response demo. 

Adventures in the Fourth Dimension

4D cube

Upper KS4, KS5. Presentation. Delivered by Zoe only.

This presentation introduces students to mind-bending shapes that exist in the 4th dimension in a highly visual and easily accessible manner.  Students will have the opportunity to apply their mathematical thinking skills to higher dimensions and non-orientable shapes. 

Topics: mobius loops, Klein bottle & 4D surfaces, hypercubes, 4D Rubik’s cube.

The Power of Patterns

KS3, KS4, KS5 – Presentation. Delivered by Zoe only. ONLY FOR EVENTS WHERE ALL AUDIENCE MEMBERS HAVE ACCESS TO A PHONE (eg family events).

As humans our relationship with patterns is complex; whilst we often harness the power of patterns to make predictions and are very good at spotting patterns in the world around us, we are not always good at understanding what patterns mean. 

In this interactive talk we will explore the power and place of patterns in our world, via a series of exciting audience experiments. We will investigate powerful patterns we have created, patterns we’ve found in the world around us, as well as patterns that might well trip us up.