Cambridge University Millennium Mathematics Project

Taking a creative approach to maths

A week of maths might not sound like something many young people would get enthusiastic about. But Cambridge University’sMillennium Mathematics Projectoffers students something a bit different – including a WW2 enigma cipher machine, puzzles and a maths triathlon.

The Millennium Mathematics Project is a roadshow that travels across the UK. Run by the Mathematics and Educational faculty at the University of Cambridge, it uses creative and imaginative approaches to maths to increase young people’s confidence and understanding of the subject, and help them develop problem-solving skills. Most importantly, it’s about making maths relevant and fun.

The Department of Education in Gibraltar had identified Maths as a key subject where students needed extra motivation and additional support. So we arranged for the roadshow to visit schools offering a very different perspective on a traditional subject.

  • More than 2,000 students in Gibraltar were inspired by the Millennium Mathematics Project between 2012 and 2016.
  • A-level advanced maths students were given the opportunity to discuss maths-based careers.
  • A World War II enigma machine was used to demonstrate code breaking to students as well as members of the public.

Applying mathematical thinking

“So much of what we do each day requires basic maths skills,” says Soma, Kusuma Trust’s Executive Trustee. “Lots of young people are put off the subject because they don’t feel they’re good at it. The roadshow helped inspire them to engage with maths and improve their skills.”

We supported the project for five years with a total grant of £49,153. It has meant more than 2,000 Year 8 students(aged 12-13) could attend Maths Week in Gibraltar.

One of the most popular parts of the programme was the Enigma project, a presentation of the history and mathematics of codes and code breaking including a demonstration of a genuine World War II enigma machine. The students got to try out code breaking themselves. There were several other workshops designed to help students apply mathematical thinking and communication processes in a range of situations.

“We are extremely grateful to Kusuma Trust Gibraltar for funding this initiative. The experience for the children and young adults was priceless. We look forward to the maths roadshow coming again in the future. The enigma presentation was the highlight!”

Darren Grech, Chief Secretary of Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar and former Director of Education

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