Published on: 10 August 2023


Last week, Years 5 and 6 students participated in World of Maths – an interactive, travelling maths show tailored to children aged 5 to 15. Students are asked to work together to solve a range of mathematical problems and conundrums that require critical thinking, mathematical ability, and teamwork.

World of Maths Instructor, Sascha Hentz, greeted the Year 5 boys in Sandover and placed a problem at the end of each table and gave the boys a sheet to fill in the answers. He explained to the boys that they must work in groups of four to solve the problems and write the answers in the boxes on the answer sheet. He then informed the boys that there were two very difficult conundrums, pointing to the two boards, and to not get upset if they couldn’t solve them. One required boys to use a magnet to move a steel ball from a starting line to the finish. The boys had to find the correct path to the finish line, adding up numbers along the way. “By the way…”, Mr Hentz warned, “nobody from any other school has solved these two problems this year so do not worry if you cannot work it out.”

The boys were completely absorbed in the challenges before them. All of a sudden, a group of boys summoned Mr Hentz to tell him that they had solved the magnet board problem. Hovering over the board, the boys deftly moved the silver ball across the surface to successfully work out the answer to the puzzle. Mr Hentz looked perplexed and asked the boys to explain the answer again to prove it was not a fluke. Looking amazed, Mr Hentz turned to the boys and said “Well done! You are the first group to solve this conundrum this year. Congratulations.”

A few minutes later, a different group beckoned Mr Hentz to say they had solved the other difficult board. Again, the boys demonstrated their answer to Mr Hentz who looked incredulous. Once again, he stated “You are the first boys to solve this riddle this year. Well done.”

Mr Hentz was impressed by the boys’ approach to the day. “Wow, these guys are sharp. I love the way they relish a challenge, and they all love to solve problems”, he commented. Mr Griffin explained that the boys have Mrs Feaver, an amazing extension Maths teacher, and each classroom teacher uses explicit instruction to engage the students.

All of the problems were solved except one: the prisoner chains. Mr Hentz put the boys out of their misery and showed them the trick to break out of the chains. At the end of the lesson, Mr Hantz thanked the boys for their diligence and industry; he was also impressed with their enthusiasm and ‘dog with a bone’ attitude.

Year 6 boys attended World of Maths the following day and had an equally fun time.