Millennium Maths/London 2012 Credit: Keith Finlay
How many medals might the UK win in the 2012 Games? Does the host country have an advantage? Can you help a heptathlete plan her training programme? How does the geometry of the Velodrome contribute to speed? What is the perfect shape for a football?
What is the perfect shape for a football?"
An exciting project from the award-winning Millennium Mathematics Project (MMP) at the University of Cambridge is helping young people in particular to answer these questions. Maths and Sport: Countdown to the Games , created to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, is designed to educate school pupils and the wider public about the links between sport and maths. It features a wealth of online materials on the mathematics of sport, including activities for Key Stages 1 - 5 and articles aimed at older students and the interested public. As part of the project the MMP also created a Maths of Sport Schools Roadshow suitable for ages 7 - 18 which has visited schools across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Gibraltar this year. The Maths and Sport: Countdown to the Games project is part of Get Set +, the London 2012 education programme, featured in the Practical Learning strand.
With input from the Millennium Mathematics Project, BBC Two Learning Zone recently commissioned ’3, 2, 1 GO!’; a series of video challenges for Key Stages 1 - 3. The videos feature athletes who set problems relating to various Olympic sports, including rowing, cycling and football as a means of teaching young people about key branches of mathematics such as probability, geometry, and algebra. One athlete who features in the videos is Anna Watkins. Anna, who started to row during her time as an undergraduate at Newnham College, won Bronze in the Women’s Double Sculls in Beijing and will be competing for Team GB at the London games. Also involved are Arsenal footballers Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky.
These clips are now up on the Maths and Sport website for individuals or for schools to use in the classroom. To view them,† click here.
The Millennium Mathematics Project was founded in 1999 in collaboration with the University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Faculty of Education. In 2005, it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. In the 2010/11 academic year, MMP’s web-based resources attracted 19.9 million page views, and over 35,000 pupils were involved in their face-to-face activities and events.