Sixth form students studying Decision Maths as part of their A-level course spent the last morning lesson before half term ‘playing cards’ – or so they thought. The lesson was all about following different algorithms for sorting numbers. To the outsider, it looked as if they were playing, but what they were actually doing was systematically rearranging the cards or rather numbers, counting comparisons and swaps as they did. Algorithms are part of all of our lives, often unknowingly, and although arranging numbers may seem basic, the idea and process behind finding the most effective way is much more complex – especially if large sets of data were involved.
The Further Maths group were also ‘playing’. They had the challenge of integration, finding areas under curves. They were given the card challenge to match the problems and solutions. There is always that sense of satisfaction when it works!
Maths A-level is not always about serious book work and complicated formulae!