On such a beautiful day, what better way to spend an afternoon than counting flowers in the sunshine? This was the task set our Year 9s. The whole year group were split into randomly selected groups of 3 or 4 and provided with a metre rule, paper and whiteboards, given the simple task of counting all the clover flowers on the fountain lawn. The gardeners had been asked not the cut the lawn especially to give us the best chance of finding the most flowers, but the students had to devise their own strategies for counting, as well as creating a scale drawing of the fountain lawn and describing their method.
Thankfully none of the groups chose to count every single clover flower but instead explored different sampling methods with varying degrees of success and accuracy. Given the time available and with no calculators permitted, certain approximations were necessary. Success of the teams was based on a number of aspects – team working, method and the scale drawing – with the actual number of flowers being less important (and difficult to verify). Some groups worked very well together and some individuals showed great initiative. All in all a very enjoyable and successful afternoon. What better way to spend the afternoon indeed!
Peter Walsh, Head of Maths