The Winds of Change: KS2 Maths investigations for British Science Week - Topical Maths 
Try these British Science Week investigations on the theme of change to bring a STEM purpose and context to Key Stage 2 Maths in your primary school; fifth in a series of blogs linking classroom KS2 Maths lessons and resources to topical, calendar-based events.
This year, the 10th till the 19th of March means only one thing - British Science Week. To us here at Third Space Learning it’s an exciting opportunity to add British Science Week (BSW) to our roster of blog posts on topical, calendar based Maths activities with the aim of increasing engagement in KS2 Maths. For more Summer-term 2017 activities linked to topical Maths in the classroom, download your your free topical problem solving resource.
BSW is a ten day celebration of all things science, technology, engineering, and Maths - with ‘fascinating, entertaining, and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages’. For a taste of the inspiration and fun brought to communities all around the UK by BSW last year, see this video of last year's shenanigans.
Putting the M in STEM
Excitement aside, it’s imperative to remember that Maths is an important part of the STEM block, and bleeds over into many aspects of it. It would be difficult to become an engineer without a sound understanding of Mathematical principles, or a Scientist without basic Mathematics qualifications.
Indeed the ability to solve problems, which the 1982 Cockcroft Report describes as ‘the heart of Mathematics’ is often the starting point of many STEM projects. What is the problem? How do I approach it? How do I solve it?
If, as the report suggests, ‘Mathematics is only “useful” to the extent to which it can be applied to a particular situation', then the importance of topical Maths is clear. It is a way to bridge the gap between learning Maths in the classroom and applying Maths in the real world.
Science Week - Change
The theme for this year’s BSW is ‘change’, the aim is to encourage young people to think about and investigate changes happening in the world all around us; from seasons and climate change, to materials and energy supply.
Change is an integral part of life, but never more so than in the current day and age. Society and technology are changing at a speed like never before, to the point where we begin to question if what we teach is becoming out of date before pupil's have even left school! More Mathematically speaking, change comes in the form of computerised Maths, and the dwindling supply of problem solvers, engineers etc. in the UK's workforce.
With this in mind here are three science-based Maths investigations for you to try in your lessons:
Medicine Madness: George’s Marvellous Medicine
Roald Dahl’s famous book ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ is about how a young boy experiments with a strange concoction of ingredients which causes weird and hilarious changes in his grandmother. He has to recreate the recipe in the story, and realises that even the slightest change would mean it wouldn't work.
The 6 matchstick questions below form an investigation that can be done in lesson time which encourages your learners to look at how new shapes and meanings can be created through the smallest of changes.
Tweet us @thirdspacetweet and tell us what you think is changing most in Mathematics and STEM?
Follow the links below for our topical Maths investigation series for summer-term 2017:
- Share-a-Story Month activities
- Walk to School Week activities
- Election Maths
- FA Cup Maths activities
- Ramadan Maths activities
- Child Safety Week activities
This post is number 5 in the topical maths series. Follow the links below for the rest:
- Heart Month Months activities
- Shrove Tuesday Maths activities
- World Book Day Maths activities
- International Women's Day Maths activities
- British Science Week Maths activities
- Holi Maths activities
- Red Nose Day Maths activities
- Easter/Lent Maths activities
For more topical problem solving tasks linked to calendar-based events for the Spring Term don't forget to download your free topical problem solving resource.