Press Office


Maths in the mall


It’s a shoppers’ paradise but could Europe's biggest retail centre, the Metrocentre, also be a secret weapon in improving numeracy?

Youngsters from across the region will find out more than just how to count the pennies on Friday (8 Feb), when they head to Maths in the Malls at the Metrocentre.
Steve Humble from Newcastle University’s School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, has devised a tour of the centre where children have to answer 14 different maths questions.
They will start at the coach and railway station and go around the different sections of the retail centre, before ending up in the blue mall. The questions include estimating the number of people who go up an escalator in an hour and calculating the size of glass panels.
Around 600 youngsters aged between six and 12, from 14 different schools and family members will take part. Their parents and carers have also been invited along so they can see for themselves how to find maths in everyday life.
Steve, who is known as Dr Maths in the Evening Chronicle, is also Guinness World Record holder for the most children learning maths outside the classroom.  He said: “I‘m really looking forward to Friday. The whole idea behind Maths in the Malls is to show that you can learn about maths anywhere.
“There’s this idea that maths is very hard and you have to be very clever to do well in it. That’s just not true and it’s the reason why I’ve invited parents and carers along – we want to show them that you don’t have to have a degree in maths to help your child. All the tools you need are out there in everyday life, you just need to understand how to use them.”
Helping Steve out will be Newcastle University education students and maths magician Martin Duffy, who will be showing the children that maths really can be magic.
Local charity COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) which was founded by former athlete Steve Cram, will also be there on the day. The charity works with communities in the developing world to alleviate poverty which prevents children’s education.

The organisation has invited the schools on a ‘waterwalk’ to raise funds, where youngsters will attempt  to walk at least 50 metres whilst carrying a bucket of water.  The charity will also have  a maths station in place where the pupils can play  two African maths games to really test their  ability to problem solve and play with strategy.

published on: 8 February 2013