Crossing Bridges

Age 5 to 18
Article by Jennifer Piggott

Published February 2011.

Lecture :

The NRICH Mathematics Project ( celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006 and is looking forward to its next 10 years. I would like to share with you, through the lens of some NRICH problems, our aspirations for supporting teachers and learners of mathematics into the future.

How can NRICH continue to contribute to a vision of mathematics that is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and accessible to all? I will focus on what we believe makes a good problem and how that might translate into a good classroom experience. This in part depends on what we believe mathematics is and what the learning of mathematics involves, but it also requires us to think about some of the particular bridges that learners have to cross in order to successfully engage in doing mathematics. Perhaps the brief journey we take together will encourage you all to make use of what NRICH has to offer and contribute to its desire to support the mathematics community.

Lecture Slides

Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo by Edward Lear


A journey from knowing to not knowing and back again.
We hope that our learners leave us with an understanding of what mathematics is - its power and potential - and what it means to 'do' mathematics. But, how can we best do our part in making this happen? When looking back on their learning experiences, we would be pleased if our learners are able to say that they had a 'perfect' introduction to the subject and it prepared them well for the 'future' at whatever level is appropriate to their needs. And, that certainly involves more than being able to answer standard test questions. It includes feeling empowered to work independently, try things out, and not think there is something wrong when you get stuck.
When was the last time you felt 'stuck'doing some mathematics and how willing were you to share that feeling, or the few ideas you had about what to do, with others?
This session is about doing some mathematics together, getting a bit stuck and thinking about how we might share that experience with our learners so that we, and they, can feel positive that a problem may be difficult but a solution is worth striving for. Perhaps the brief journey we take together, doing and thinking about mathematics, will encourage you all to make use of what NRICH has to offer. The journey is about mathematics and not knowing where you are at every point on the journey, or necessarily taking a known route, but having the means available to help you find your way.

"Second star to the right and straight on until morning"
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie


Route to infinity (5469 - March 2007)
Product Sudoku (4903)
Making Rectangles, making squares (1052 - Apr 2001)

This month (Sept 2007):
Cantor set (5334 - Sept 2007)
Mobile numbers (5781 - Sept 2007)

Isosceles Triangles (2666 - Feb 05)
Tilted Square (2293 - Sept 2004)
Square it game (2526 - Oct 2004)
Virtual geoboard (2883 - July 2005)
Keep your Distance (2911 - Sept 2005)
Squares in rectangles (4835 - July 2006)
Semi-regular tessellations (4832 - May 2006)
Stars (2669 - Mar 2005)

Probability and graphs:
Odds and Evens (4308 - Nov 2005)
Cosy Corner (4313 - Nov 2005)
Twos Company (4311 - Nov 2005)
How far does it move? (4808 - Mar 2006)

Number and algebra:
Chocolate Bars (1275 - March 2002)
Take three from five (1866 - Oct 2003)
Number Pyramids (2281 - May 2004)
More Number Pyramids (2284 - May 2004)
Sequences and Series (2278 - May 2004)

Smith and Jones (2194 - Mar 2004)
Shopping Basket (1137 - May 2005)
Concrete wheel (4823 - May 2006)