Senior Team Maths Challenge National Final Live Blog

Senior Team Maths Challenge National Final Live Blog

Follow the progress of Moreton's team as they journey to London for the National Finals of the Senior Team Maths Challenge.

The latest updates are at the top of the page, scroll down for previous entries. 

4.40pm - Final Results

This has been the most incredible experience for all involved. 88 teams (all winners of previous heats). The country's best young mathematicians displaying bags of determination, commitment and intellect... and enjoying it all too.

In my wildest dreams I thought a top 50% finish would be amazing. I am incredibly proud to say Moreton smashed that aspiration and came an incredible 24th. WOW!

For the record: Poster Competition won by Royal Grammar School Newcastle. Main Competition won by Ruthin School with runners up Magdalen College School.


4.10pm - Waiting 

All survived - no injuries.

26/48 on that last round.

Wow, what a day. Just the wait for the results now!


3.15pm - Relay Round

 Long a staple of Junior Challenges the relay round has come to the Senior Challenge. In a few minutes the teams will divide up and race around the room passing questions and answers to their teammates. That's 352 highly competitive 17-18 year olds weaving in and out of 88 desks at high speed. It was dramatic enough in the Junior Challenge when they were 13-14. Our girls are tiny and some of the boys dwarf me. Glad I didn't do the risk assessment. Medics on standby... off we go!

PS. Score of 42/60 in the Shuttle Round


2.50pm - Exhilarating

To give you a feel for what this competition means to the competitors, a couple of quotes from the delightful team from Peter Symonds College (who I'm supervising while their teacher looks after our girls):
"My heart's beating so fast."
"If you told anyone at home how exciting Maths is they wouldn't believe you."
"The adrenaline was almost too much then. "
"No other subject could be this exhilarating."


2.30pm - Shuttle Round 

This is the giant killer. Each question comes in 4 parts. The answer to each part forming a piece of the question for the next part. Make a mistake on part 1 and everything is wrong thereafter. Off we go...

PS. 64/66 in the Crossnumber - great score!


2.20pm - Celebrity Spotting 

The group I'm supervising are very excited. They've just spotted last year's winner of the TV show "Child Genius". He's about 12 years old in a room full of sixth formers. He's also sitting doing nothing having apparently finished the round before anyone else in the room!


1.50pm - Crossnumber Round

This is a great fun round! Imagine a crossword but all the answers are numbers. Then imagine two girls given the across clues and the other two given the down clues... with no communication allowed between the two pairs. All answers passed through a teacher who acts as scribe on a master copy of the grid. This round is as stressful for the teacher as it is for the contestants. Off we go...


1.20pm - Lunch 

The morning appears to have gone well, certainly the girls have enjoyed it. Scores are kept secret so there is no way of judging progress. The girls estimate they scored 51/60. Whether that's good or bad in this hallowed company is anyone's guess. Having seen the questions, I should say it's pretty damn good. Plenty still to come... three further rounds this afternoon.


12.20pm - Group Round

The first serious leg of the competition is underway. Ten questions to be answered as a team. Most teams divide them up and take a couple each... you could hear a pin drop here...

Teachers are now separated from their teams and supervising elsewhere. If I really crane my neck, I can just about see our girls. They look focused and busy.


12.15pm - Poster Round

The first round takes place while the staff are being briefed. It's actually a completely standalone competition (separate prizes) and the teams are required to produce a poster on "Cellular Automata". If you were a computer nerd in the 80's you might remember "Game of Life". If not you probably have no idea what this is all about. Our poster looked like this:


11.10am - Thank You

Whatever happens in the next few hours, getting to the National Final is a great achievement. Special mention must go to Mr Fitton who has trained the team. Thank You!


10.45am - Countdown Begins...

The venue for the event is Lindley Hall (part of the Royal Horticultural Halls).  A huge space crammed with 88 teams - 352 outstanding Mathematicians. With 20 minutes until showdown everyone is working through a few warm-up problems. The calm before the storm!

More to follow...


9am - Journey

Today is a massive day for Moreton's Mathematicians. For the first time ever, the Senior Team (Phoebe, Pauline, Vinna and Georgie) are on their way to London for the National Final of the Senior Team Maths Challenge. Starting their day as Moreton's best ever team... a great feeling indeed!

It didn't feel quite so great when the alarms sounded at 5:30 and off we rushed to the station. Then rushed back to school to collect vital pre-prepared materials. Then rushed to the station again. Please understand, it is possible to be extraordinarily clever and a little bit daft too:-)

Equilibrium was restored when Mrs Lang provided sufficient breakfast to feed a 6 Nations rugby squad. You can't do hard sums on an empty stomach appears to be the mantra.

More to follow...