Cleveland Prep pupil wins "Sum it Up" national maths competition!

22 Jul 2022 10:38
Published by: Scott Callan

Oliver Nicholls, a 11 year old pupil at Cleveland Prep in Bolton, has won the "Sum it Up" maths competition with his visual interpretation of how he pictures maths in a stained glass window.

The competition, launched by leading edtech provider Renaissance Learning, invited local primary school children to get creative to mark World Maths Day.

Open to all primary school children across the UK and Ireland, the competition encouraged children to think big about how maths can be found in the everyday and create imaginative artwork showing their vision of where they can see and experience maths in the world around them.

Oliver's winning picture was chosen by a panel of expert judges including Catherine Magee, Teacher of the Year in a Primary School Silver Winner and Kjartan Poskitt, author of the Murderous Maths series.

Oliver has won £2,000 for his school to spend on a trip out for his class.

The judges were really impressed by the inventive and inspiring ideas in Oliver's winning entry, with judge Catherine pointing out how Oliver used a stained glass window to represent maths through his use of techniques such as angles and symmetry and calculating volume. Catherine loved Oliver's creative thinking and will be taking inspiration from his picture whenever she visits a church or castle! She was impressed with Oliver using a less obvious choice for where he could 'see' maths which shows what is possible when you put your maths goggles on.

Winner Oliver says: "I had quite a lot of fun with my entry as we got to go around the school, investigating different areas and identifying maths wherever we looked. I learned that there's literally maths in anything and everything, even in a cup! Regarding my entry, I've looked out of that window every day for a year and never considered the maths involved in it! My drawing is the window in my classroom and focuses on the little details in the frames which are very intricate. I looked at the different angles that could be found, symmetry and the dimensions of the shapes."

Oliver's teacher, Zoe Speck, says: "I'm so incredibly proud of Oliver and I couldn't wait to tell him the amazing news - especially as Oliver had convinced himself that he didn't stand a chance! His entry contained a lot of detail and gave a snapshot of the mastery level that Oliver continuously works at in this subject. I would also like to add that I was proud of every single entry that we submitted as the children became so passionate about it. I have the pleasure of teaching the children maths from the beginning of Y5 straight through to the end of Y6 and completing activities such as this Sum it Up Competition aids in creating fun and engagement in this challenging subject. So, although there was one winner, this competition benefitted every single child who entered."

With designs featuring maths represented through the children's interests such as horse boxes, football pitches, gardens, supermarkets and even superheroes, five entries from budding artists across the country were chosen as winners. The artistic talents of the other winners has won them a Kindle Fire and a year's subscription to Renaissance's Freckle and Star Maths practice and assessment solutions for their class or school. Winning entries may also appear as future 'Depth of Knowledge' questions in Freckle, and every entrant will receive a certificate to thank them for taking part.

Catherine Magee, Teacher of the Year in a Primary School Silver Winner and Head Judge for the competition, says: "I was delighted to be involved in judging the entries received from schools and I took great enjoyment in looking through all the wonderful entries. Well done to Oliver on his winning entry! All the children had taken such care and attention in creating their visual representation of maths. It's so important that we engage children in maths in an exciting and accessible way and this competition has given teachers and pupils the tools to do that."

Sarah Haythornwaite, Marketing Director at Renaissance Learning, says: "We were so impressed by the quality of the competition entries. It's clear that all the children who entered had great fun thinking about how maths is all around us in everyday life. With energy and ideas like Oliver's, it's great to see how children are taking ownership of their learning by connection maths to their everyday experiences.

We're also proud to be supporting teachers and schools with their mission to keep pupils excited about learning maths."

Renaissance already works with almost 8,000 schools in the UK and Ireland through the provision of adaptive solutions that support the practice and assessment of reading and maths. As part of this competition, however, teachers from participating schools were offered free access to Freckle, Renaissance's new primary maths practice solution.

More information about Renaissance and Freckle can be found here:

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