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The University of Sussex

 21 November 2001 

Schoolchildren learn maths is cool at University of Sussex

Schoolchildren from all over Sussex have been discovering that "maths is cool" at a series of masterclasses at the University of Sussex.

Fifty pupils from state and private schools across the region have been attending the Saturday morning sessions, which aim to stimulate interest by introducing topics outside the school syllabus. For example, Dr John Haigh, a reader in statistics at the university, is holding a session on how mathematical strategies can help you win in games such as "rock, paper, scissors". Other sessions involve the children, aged 13 and 14, being divided into teams and setting each other mathematical problems based on what they have learned in previous sessions.

Dr Derek Robinson, a senior lecturer in statistics at the university's school of mathematical sciences and one of the main organisers of the sessions, says: "The idea is that the students will go away with a positive attitude to mathematics. We want them to understand that it's fun to be solving problems and puzzles and that it's cool to study maths."

The masterclasses, which have been held annually at the university for more than 10 years, are run under the auspices of the Royal Institution and are managed locally by the Sussex branch of the Mathematical Association, which raises the finance.

Schools are asked to send two pupils each from Year 9. Because of the demand for places, a satellite centre for 30 students has also been set up at Ratton School, Eastbourne. The last of the seven masterclasses will be on December 8, when the university's vice-chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith, will award certificates to the pupils who have attended all the sessions.

 Notes for editors 

For further information, please contact Dr Derek Robinson on 01273 877441, or Jacqui Bealing, or Peter Simmons, University of Sussex Press Office,Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or

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