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Events for schools and families

There are a wide variety of mathematics based activities available for schools and families.Here are some of the events and activities that our Open University academics are involved in:

Open University Mathematics Christmas Lecture

Every year in December, students from local schools and sixth form colleges are invited to Walton Hall for a Mathematics Lecture. Previous titles have included: "Mathematics, Chocolate and the Electric Guitar", "Boomerangs, Bouncing Balls and other Spinning Things" and "The Music of the Primes". Speakers have included Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Simon Singh and Rob Eastway. This year's Christmas lecture was given by Colin Wright on the mathematics of juggling.

Open University public lectures

From time to time, Open University academics give public lectures, many of which are available to watch live via the web.  If you missed June Barrow-Green's inaugral lecture: "He denies the very existence of a woman mathematician", you want watch the recording here.

The Winton Mathematics Gallery, Science Museum, London.

Open University academic June Barrow-Green, Professor of History of Mathematics, played a key role in the development of the new mathematics gallery at the Science Museum in London, acting on the External Advisory Board.

The bold and thought-provoking gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, examines the fundamental role mathematicians, their tools and ideas have played in building the world we live in.

From war and peace to life, death, money, trade and beauty, the objects in Mathematics: The Winton Gallery reveal how mathematics connects to every aspect of our lives. The exhibits display maths thematically, including ‘life and death’, ‘form and beauty’ and ‘trade and travel’.

Go to the Winton Gallery to find out more and plan your visit.

Perplex puzzle App

Available as a mobile app or online through your browser.

Test your puzzle-solving ability with incredibly immersive and interactive puzzles from The Open University and UKMT

Ready to be perplexed? Try 8 different puzzles and a whole host of daily challenges from The Open University and UKMT the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.

There's plenty to keep you perplexed:

  • 8 main puzzles
  • Over 40 daily challenges
  • No time limits
  • Stunning graphics
  • Friend leaderboards (mobile app version)

Perplex is a free, interactive mathematical puzzle app has been developed by Open University Staff tutor Katie Chicot in partnership with the UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT).

Go to Perplex to try the challenges.

Free downloads for mobile devices can be found at itunes and Google Play .

Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclass Programme

The Open University is responsible for organising four Royal Institution secondary mathematics masterclass series held at: Bletchley Park, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the University of Bradford and the University of Worcester.

For six weeks, children in year 9 from local schools in Buckinghamshire are invited to participate in exciting mathematical workshops, such as: Games, Goats and Gold and Infinity: Friend or Foe? The aim of the series is to stimulate and encourage young people in the art and practice of mathematics, to develop a sense of enjoyment in the subject.

Charlotte Webb, Lecturer in Mathematics Education at the Open University, has written about her masterclass session on cracking codes and ciphers at Bletchley Park on the Mathematics Education Blog.

You can find out more about these and future series at Royal Institute Mathematics Masterclasses.

If you are interested in delivering a workshop or volunteering to support a session for the next series, please get in touch:

For more information about the Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses national programme, which also includes masterclasses for primary-aged children, go to

Royal Institution Summer schools and Family days

In addition to the mathematics masterclass series run through schools, there is also a summer school programme for children at the Royal Institution.  The RI summer school offers a wide variety of workshops, delivered by experts from across industry and academia. Students can design and build their own underwater robots, have a go at computer coding and mathematical origami, or even try their hand at bioengineering.

In one of these workshops, Open University lecturer Charlotte Webb works with primary children to investigate which regular polygons can form regular and Archimedean tessellations. The children use their understanding of tessellating shapes to collaboratively create a giant tessellation picture based on designs from Islamic art.

Find out more about the summer school programme and how you can book your child onto the programme next year at

The Royal institution also offer events for the whole family, including parents! These include family fun days, family workshops and theatre events. Find out more about what the families programme has to offer at

Maths Hub A-level Mathematics Conference

The Open University hosts an annual “Welcome to your A-level” conference in partnership with the Enigma Maths hub in Milton Keynes. The conference is aimed at students in year 11 who have opted to take A-level mathematics in order to support their transition from GCSE to A-level. The students listen to inspiring lectures about interesting areas in mathematics and hear from adults who use mathematics in their careers. The students spend time working on key mathematical skills, such as algebraic manipulation, that will help them make a head start in year 12.

This event is funded by the Enigma Maths Hub, part of the national Maths Hubs programme, with support from the Open University.

The Maths Hubs programme brings together mathematics education professionals in a collaborative national network of 35 hubs, each locally led by an outstanding school or college, to develop and spread excellent practice, for the benefit of all pupils and students. The majority of events run by the Maths Hubs are aimed at teachers, but there are some events for students.

You can find out more about the national Maths Hubs programme at

Year 9 Mathematical Resilience Day with the London Mathematical Society

In 2018 we were awarded a grant from the London Mathematical Society to host a Girls in Mathematics Day for year 9 students in the local area. The day took place at the Open University campus in Milton Keynes and activities were focussed around building the students’ mathematical resilience.

The students worked on a series of mathematical challenges in groups, discussing strategies for getting “unstuck” and reflecting on how they felt about the mathematics at different stages throughout the day. Dr Clare Lee, Senior Lecturer in Education at the Open University, worked with the girls using the growth zone model.

You can find out more about Dr Clare Lee’s research into Mathematical Resilience here .

The day also included a workshop with mathematics communicator, Zoe Griffiths from Think Maths. Zoe and her team delivered exciting talks and workshops for schools, colleges and public events. Go to Think Mathsto find out more.

Zoe also works for Maths Gear, a website dedicated to interesting mathematical puzzles and games. You can find out more at Maths Gear .

Visit London Mathematical Society, to find out more about the event sponsor.


We often post about new and upcoming events on our social media pages which you can find here:


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