There was a real buzz of excitement and anticipation in the school library as Year 10 students from schools across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire settled themselves down for the West Berkshire Year 10 Maths Feast. This is a nationwide event organised by the Further Maths Support Programme – a body whose aim in life is to try to bring the pleasure and enjoyment of maths to students, in the hope that they will be tempted to study the subject further. The students got their brains into gear with the Mathematical Word Searches which were awaiting them on their tables when they arrived, and then it was time for the “feast”.
After the “Starters” (a thought-provoking true or false round) the competitors tried the first of the “Amuse Bouche” Countdown rounds. These were intended as little brain teasers, and were held between each of the main rounds. The “Main Course” this year introduced the students to “tables of squares” which some people may remember from their school days, before the advent of calculators! And then it was time for “Dessert” – a problem solving round. Finally there were the “Petits Fours”. This gave the students a chance to work in pairs, passing their answers (like a relay baton) on to the other pair so that they could then answer their question.
Eight students from the Downs School took part in the Maths Feast - Jason Brook, Olivia Hankin, Joely Hopkins, James McLaughlin, Charlie Perek-Jennings, Elizabeth Ruddell, Jack Thackray and Ciara Thatcher.
Each team was also accompanied by an adult to help supervise and mark. Our helpers were Mrs Coombes and Sixth Former Cameron Arthur.
The Downs School showed great team spirit and scored highly in all the rounds. Team 1 won both the “Amuse Bouche” and the “Dessert” and came second in the “Starters” while Team 2 also came second in the “Starters” as well as in the “Amuse Bouche” and “Petits Fours” rounds. As a result our teams gained second and third place behind the winners, Reading School – a really excellent result and a tribute to our outstanding students and teachers.