Maths the order of the day during Hanford School event

THE thought of a whole day dedicated to maths might send a shiver down the spine of many, but was enjoyed by youngsters at a Blandford school.

Mark McSweeney, the new head of mathematics at Hanford School, and his department ran a day of maths activities that pulled out all the stops.

Year 8 were introduced to newly established ‘Hanford Jewel Exchange’, an exchange that is surely soon to rival London, New York and Hong Kong, where they set up investment companies, bought and sold jewels and followed the market.

There were cries of joy and despair at the vagaries of the local jewel market as prices rose and fell.

Continuing the business and finance theme, Year 7 girls became entrepreneurs, setting up small businesses running ice cream vans. They had to work out start-up costs, running costs and determine the best price at which to sell their ice cream.

Of course, for quality control purposes, the product had to be sampled.

Year 6 girls exhibited their Hanford gung-ho sense of fun with a semaphore activity – a system of sending messages by holding arms or two flags in certain positions according to an alphabetic code.

They learned the code and were tasked with passing messages to and fro across the school lawn.

Pupils in Year 5 explored the art of Piet Mondrian, which involved careful use of straight lines and right angles and finally the youngest pupils made their business contribution by working as greengrocers, weighing and categorising vegetables in preparation for creating nutritious packages for potential customers.

Rory Johnston, head at Hanford, said: “Behind all the fun was a serious motive; the need for sound mathematical skills is an essential requirement for every girl at Hanford.

“Numeracy is an invaluable life skill underpinning everything from managing a bank account to running a company.

“A fun activities day like this, focused around mathematical skills, will help the girls move through the school and beyond with confidence and a sense of achievement.”

Year 8 pupil Clara said: “It was a really fun experience and it was educational.”

And fellow pupil Blanca added: “It was so much fun and showed us how to work in teams.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.