Maths Workshop - “The Real Reason”
Year 7 and 8 maths students immersed themselves in the syntax of mathematical discovery. They raced to stake their claims on good conjectures – trying to express the kernel of their ideas in a clear enough format for others to work on. The students revelled in the hunt for those all-powerful counter-examples which would crush their friends’ conjectures to oblivion. Some conjectures survived all our demolition attempts, so we set out to create absolute proofs.
By the end of the fast-paced session, we had managed to upgrade a handful of our conjectures to the status of fully proven theorems. In the process we discussed Sherlock Holmes’ edict not to theorise in advance of the data; we identified some good and bad strategies for problem solving; and we reflected that on this occasion, the girls’ decision to break some of the mathematical rules was actually a profoundly smart thing to do.