Fun and challenging

Fun and challenging

Problem solving at Exeter Junior School

The Problem Solving Company ran sessions for every year group in the Junior School this week. This academic enrichment activity was partly funded by profits raised by the Upper Two Virgin Money project last year.

Upper Two and Lower Two attended their sessions in the morning and Form One and Upper One enjoyed their sessions in the afternoon. Our two instructors, Kirsty and Alex ran fun, challenging, and inclusive sessions, with plenty of hands-on practical activities and problems to solve.

Different year groups collaborated in small teams to try to solve various problems, rotating around the Butterfield Hall to take part in a variety of challenges. These included: Pentomino Shadows, Soma cubes, Lego structures created to satisfy certain conditions, Towers of Hanoi, Number Bond trees, Polygon Challenges and Daisy Chains (where petals could only be placed where there were matching colours next to each other).

Henry Batty (U2G) said it got his brain cogs turning and Anna Brookes-Ferrari (U1R) said the block making was brain turning.

"We loved the Rubik’s cube. It was really fun putting it together yet at the same time, really hard," said Dexter Leck F1C), Oscar Wallace (F1H) and Jayden Sclater-Black (F1H).

Andrew Reynolds (U2G) loved it and Hanna Sari (L2B) said she really liked the Towers of Hanoi because they really had to use your team to try to work it out. "We solved the challenge together!" she said.

"We really liked the number bond tree. It was really fun because we had to try to work it out. We got to the other side of the board and only few other groups achieved this. You had to think how the different sides could add up to 10, then 11, then 12, then 13," said Thomas Gordon-Lennox and Catherine Fernandes-Cooke (L2B).

Mr Wood was impressed with the pupils’ ability to work successfully as a team; listening to other people’s opinions, sharing ideas, not discounting theories out of hand.

"Also, delightful to see the joy on their faces when they solved the problems – they really cared about the tasks, and showed great determination/resilience throughout," he said.

Maths Coordinator Jacquie Barnes, who organised the day, said: “During these sessions, not only were our pupils developing a wide range of key maths skills: sequencing, ordering, patterns, logic and reasoning, verbal reasoning, estimation, trial and improvement, elimination, tessellation, permutations, area, visual/spatial awareness, 3-D construction, positioning and shape, but also key life skills: collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, complex problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, judgement and decision-making and emotional intelligence.

"Well done to all our problem-solvers!"