Sum achievement to take top UK prize

Year 9 students Megan Claggett, Jade Leighton, Laura Testa and Amy Thurgood
Year 9 students Megan Claggett, Jade Leighton, Laura Testa and Amy Thurgood

Success in a nationwide maths competition certainly adds up to a remarkable achievement for Cedars Upper School – as they beat over 7,000 teams to claim first place.

Year 9 students Megan Claggett, Jade Leighton, Laura Testa and Amy Thurgood travelled to Edge Hill University in Lancashire earlier this month to compete in the final.

They presented their solution to a problem called “Charlie’s Amazing Age” to a panel of judges and were thrilled to learn that they had been awarded first prize.

The girls’ team name was The Brainy Bakers and they had worked on the Maths problem for several months.

Their presentation included a cake on which they had iced the maze being investigated, a card model of the maze, and a computer simulation of the model using a computer programme called Python.

The girls were able to discuss the development and solving of the quadratic inequalities that they developed and illustrated these both graphically and algebraically.

They had also incorporated the use of autograph and graphic calculators and delivered a very detailed power-point presentation. The judges asked them questions at the end and the girls were able to discuss all elements of their solution confidently.

The girls were each presented with a graphic calculator plus an additional class set of graphic calculators for the school.

The Brainy Bakers told the LBO: “We had to solve a problem to find the age of Charlie and to do this we needed to work out a maze problem first.

“We used algebra and also an Excel spreadsheet. Then we found we could use graphs and a computer program called python.

“It was a really good experience. The trip to Edge Hill University was great and although we were very nervous we tried our best.

“We were really surprised to win but really pleased as well. We each got a graphic calculator as a prize and the school got a whole class set of graphic calculators to use in school.

“We enjoyed working together as a team and solving the problem. It was satisfying to know we had cracked it but good to see how we could use different methods to check our results. We also used what we had learned in computing lessons to help.”

Deborah Adams, Cedars’ Team Leader for Maths, added:“The girls worked particularly hard to ensure that they covered every area of the investigation. They gave up their time at lunchtimes and weekends to perfect their presentation and incorporated lots of different mathematical skills.

“The new Maths GCSE is aimed at developing problem solving skills and the team showed that they have mastered these techniques well and can apply their skills successfully. I am delighted that they won against such a high standard of competition of other students from private, independent and grammar schools right across the country.”

Headteacher Steve Palmer said: “I am so proud of the girls and their amazing achievement. Thanks to Mrs Adams to Mrs Lewis for supporting them, and it is proof that you can achieve excellence if you aim high enough.”