William The Maths Bear's 'Paws For Thought' May 2017

10th May 2017

Hello Tiny Humans!

I hope everyone is feeling confident about their GCSE maths exams. It’s completely normal to feel nervous but if you have kept up your revision with ConquerMaths then you should be fine. I would give you all a bear hug if I could! Not that I think you’ll need it.

To take your mind off of your nerves, I would like to share with you the place I want to have my next bear birthday party! Sadly it’s in Japan but sounds like the most awesome establishment ever. We’ve all heard of the cat and owl themed cafes in Japan?

This is so much better – it’s a café which not only features the most adorable polar bear themed dessert which I was very excited about anyway – but it is also a mathematical café!

The café supplies maths problems aimed at secondary level (aimed at 12 – 15 year olds) and each customer can take up to two complimentary sheets to puzzle over while they wait for their order. The problems are not too difficult but still challenge the mind in a situation where you usually have little to do other than chat to your companion or play on your phone.

Here is an example translated from the Japanese version above.

““I bought 15 writing utensils, consisting of 80-yen pencils and 100-yen ballpoint pens. The total amount came to 1,340 yen. How many pencils and how many ballpoint pens did I buy?”

You check your answers on laminated answer sheets and if your answers are correct you get a sticker reward from the staff which is so cute! 

It looks like a great idea, maths lovers will enjoy the stimulation and their signature dessert brings even non maths lovers flocking to the café.

Unfortunately while I love the original state of the signature shaved ice and condensed milk dessert with hot coffee – look how much it looks like an adorable me – I didn’t think it through.

Argh, don’t eat me!!

What are you doing? Don’t melt me with coffee!! Oh the horror. I can’t look anymore.

I would have to order it, take a picture and leave as soon as I finished my maths problems, and let’s face it, the maths is the best bit.

I really want this concept to catch on in the UK and elsewhere. Perhaps the new mathematics gallery at the London Science museum that we wrote about recently would benefit from a mathematically themed café?

On another note,

It was Outdoor Classroom Day this month, giving children across the UK the chance to do some of their learning outside.

Unfortunately, despite numerous studies demonstrating that children benefit greatly from learning outside every now and then, many schools do not have the resources or confidence to do so.

Benefits include better social skills, enhanced problem solving, improved team working skills and having fun! It can also act as a healthy deterrent to childhood obesity by getting children moving.

In Scotland there is a government initiative, built into the curriculum to get all kids doing outdoor learning (despite the Scottish weather). In one school for three days recently pupils have been doing all classes in a park nearby. For maths they did a project using formula to calculate the age of trees from their circumference, and hopefully getting some exercise too. Excellent.

We published an article last year with suggestions on how best to teach and learn about maths outside ‘Playing With Maths In The Great Outdoors’ to give inspiration to parents and teachers but the possibilities are endless!

One thing you can do outdoors better than inside is play physical number based games like the ones featured in our article and these get kids motivated, thinking and exercising.

We highly recommend it for the occasional change; while ConquerMaths is the most efficient system for learning maths, we still want our students to get out of the house occasionally and still be learning!

Of course, with ConquerMaths you can take your device outside and enjoy the sunshine but we want students to get moving too. That also applies very much to those students currently cooped up revising. It’s good for the brain as well as the body so get out there.