Much Ado About Numbers (Age 13-16 and 6th form general interest)
There are two unavoidable topics at school: Shakespeare and Maths. But what happens when the two are combined? What is the maths in Shakespeare, and what was Shakespearean maths? Find out how Tudors multiplied, why Shakespeare never ended a line with the word orange, why King Lear was every inch a king, and why early drafts of the plays could possibly have been written with a pencil. With historical asides about calendars, optics and music thrown in, you might never think about maths or Shakespeare the same way again.
"A fantastic talk - the interdisciplinary element was really valuable." - Head of English, Bromley High School
"Extremely interesting and eye-opening" - Year 10 student, Bromley High.
"The best enrichment lecture we've had" - Year 12 student, St Helens School
Maths on the Back of an Envelope (Age 15+)
Contrary to popular belief, Maths is not always about getting precisely the right answer - sometimes a rough answer will do. This is a talk about Fermi questions, the art of working things out when you aren't given any data. From working out the most efficient way to save energy, to a quick method for answering a vintage Who wants to be a Millionaire? question, Rob guides you through maths that can be done on the back of an envelope.
The Curious Maths Quiz (Age 12-16)
This talk takes the form of a quiz, with audience members pairing up to answer the questions. What's curious about it is that there are only seven questions, and the answers are full of mathematical surprises. It's fun and interactive, and without even realising it, the audience are introduced to important ideas in algebra, trigonometry, fractal geometry and more. This talk has worked well with a whole year group of mixed ability.
From Monopoly to Greed - the Maths of Money Games
If you think games are just for fun, then think again. Games contain some of the most important maths you'll ever need in daily life, from managing money to out-thinking competitors. In this highly interactive talk in which the stakes get ever higher, your students will be on the edge of their seats as they discover the unlikely usefulness of probability, permutations and percentages. And they may even win something. (This talk is ideal for mixed ability Year 9/10/11).
The above talk can be adapted to: From Monopoly to Yukky Choccy (Age 12+)
Hey – That’s Not Fair!! (Age 14+)
Everyone - even a chimpanzee - has a sense of whether something is fair or not. But making things fair is another matter altogether. That’s where mathematicians can help. From sharing cakes to penalty-shootouts, Rob Eastaway explains the maths behind how to keep envious tantrums to a minimum.
Decisions, Decisions (Age 15+)
Life is full of decisions: Which university should I apply to? What mobile network should I choose? Should I get up or lie in? Rob Eastaway takes an entertaining look at what makes a good decision and how maths can help - using examples from TV gameshows, international sport and the high flying world of stockmarket investors along the way. (Oh, and this all matters whether you study 'Decision Maths' or not).
I Wasn't Expecting That! - Maths and Intuition (Age 16+)
As humans we depend on our intuition to make many of our decisions. And most of the time it works. But when intuition doesn’t work it can go spectacularly wrong. Rob Eastaway reveals some of his favourite examples, including several that relate to everyday situations, and explains why mathematicians so often seem to delight in the counter-intuitive. Brace yourself for some surprises…., and be prepared to get things wrong!
Pick a Card, Any Card (Age 13+)
Once upon a time, GCSE probability and combination questions were allowed to feature packs of playing cards. These days - because so many teenagers are unfamiliar with playing cards - we have to make do with contrived stories about Hannah and her sweets. This workshop is a reminder that a simple deck of 52 cards is one of the best self-contained maths kits you can get. You'll encounter a range of games, puzzles, tricks and curiosities that contain a multitude of mathematical ideas, but with a magical twist.
The Hidden Maths of Sport (Age 14+)
What is the best tactic for taking a penalty? Should a 1500 metre athlete lead the pack or hover at the back? Was Chris Robshaw right to go for the try in England's famous World Cup rugby defeat to Wales? And where's the best place to aim on a dartboard? Rob looks at the hidden maths behind a range of sports, with ideas for investigations that will provide great enrichment for sports fans in the classroom.
How to Cheat at Mind-Reading (Age 12+)
From Uri Geller to Derren Brown, mind-reading has been captivating the public for generations. But some of the most mysterious 'mind-reading' of all comes from the world of maths. Rob demonstrates and then explains some of his favourite mathematical mind-reading tricks, some of which date back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci.
Are You Nice or Nasty? (Age 15+)
(AKA Cheating, Competing and Coca Cola)
A famous Coca Cola advertisement used the line "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony". Yet Coca Cola and Pepsi have been competing viciously with each other for decades. Collaboration and competition are everywhere around us, and mathematics and game theory can tell us a lot about why peace, harmony and love are not quite as easy to achieve as the songs might suggest.