Lesson 1 – Meet the Experts!

Lesson Objectives

  • Share views about ‘what is a mathematician?’
  • Introduce I’m a Mathematician and explore the experts’ profiles
  • Explore students’ views of people who use maths in their jobs
  • Get to know the experts’ profiles
  • Generate some questions the students would like to ask the expers

Lesson Resources

Starter: 10 minutes

Pose a discussion question:
When you think of a mathematician, what words come to mind?

Explain that these words could be a specific career (e.g. accountant), an adjective (e.g. clever) or an object (e.g. calculator).
Give the students a few minutes discussion time in small groups.
Collect feedback and record it on a whole class ‘mind map’, placing the word ‘mathematician’ in the centre and the students’ words around the outside.
Explain that we will revisit this at the end of the next lesson to see if/how their views have changed.

Support: Students draw a picture of a mathematician, writing words to describe them around the outside.

Activity 1: 15 minutes

Introduce the next discussion questions:
How many different jobs can you think of that use maths?
Can you give an example of how maths is used in each?

Support: Use the Career Cards resource, photocopying and cutting up a set of cards for each group.
Extend: students to generate their own list of jobs.

Collect feedback as a class. Teachers using the Career Cards should refer to the accompanying teacher resource for some possible answers. Conclude that maths skills are used in a variety of jobs beyond that of a ‘mathematician’.

Activity 2: 15 minutes

Display the I’m a Mathematician website on a projector or interactive whiteboard and briefly describe how the site works:

  • Students will meet online a variety of people who use maths within their jobs, such as mathematicians, technologists, engineers, scientists and more.
  • Experts will be working on areas such as mathematics, statistics, probability, big data and machine learning, linking to this year’s Royal Institution CHRISTMAS LECTURES theme – Secrets and lies: The hidden power of maths.
  • Students can ASK the experts their questions, about anything they like.
  • Students will also get one live CHAT session, to have conversations with the experts in real-time during a 30-minute text based live CHAT

Give the students time to read through the experts’ profiles. If students don’t have access to laptops, provide printed copies.

Plenary: 10 minutes

Discuss the experts’ profiles as a class.
Are they as the students expected?
If not, how are they different?
Who would you most like to talk to and why?

If time allows, write down some questions for ASK and CHAT.

Suggested Homework

1) Students set up their profiles using the registration link you can generate on your profile
2) If you have questions for the experts already, post these in ASK.