Two teams of Year 9 students headed to City of Norwich School on Wednesday 10th July to compete in the Year 9 Summer Snack Maths competition. This is the first time the competition has been held for Year 9s and is based on the Year 10 Maths Feast, organised by the Advanced Maths Support Programme.

The weeks prior to the competition saw the two teams get together at lunch times, along with reserves, to prepare and practice possible rounds for the day. Already there was an air of competitive spirit with one team made up of students from 9R1 and the other from 9L1.

The day came and there were some nerves to begin with. Barney, Lauren, Abigaelle and Jimmy made up Team A whilst Shona, Natasha, Hayden and Amelia made up Team B. 6 other schools were represented along with Northgate which included teams from Thorpe, Wymondham, Attleborough, Sewell Park, CNS and The Hewitt.

The first round was the ‘starter’ and was called Merry-go-round. Each member of the team was given 15 questions based on number, algebra and geometry topics and 5 minutes to answer as many questions as they could. Then they swapped papers and had 4 more minutes, then 3 mins and 2 minutes, until they had all had a go at each other’s questions. The final minute they were then allowed to discuss any questions they were struggling with. Both teams felt fairly confident with this round as it was one they had enjoyed when practising. Northgate’s Team A scored a great 45 out of 60 with Team B close behind on 40 points.

The second round – the ‘main course’ was a real challenge. Teams were faced with an aspect of Maths never seen before; in fact it is a topic that students now study at Further Maths A-level. Not daunted by the challenge, both teams read the key information about two algorithms and were able to apply them successfully to the questions with team A scoring 21/21 and team B scoring 15 points. It was interesting to hear students’ ideas as to where this type of Maths could be used in real life including in computer programming, networks, telegraph lines and for delivery drivers ensuring they can take the quickest routes.

Round three, ‘desert’ was a problem solving round. Students were given a set of 10 questions and had to work out whether the answer was higher or lower than the previous answer. This round covered some work which is in the GCSE syllabus however recent work covered in lessons on trigonometry meant this was a strong round for both teams with team B scoring 18/20 and Team A scoring 20 points.

The final round, ‘petit fours’ was the toughest of all, particularly with the time constraints given. It was a relay round with the teams split into pairs. Each pair solved a problem and passed on their answer to the next pair to use in their question and so on. Each round offered a bonus point if all 4 answers were correct. Team B managed to get two of the bonuses scoring 14/20 in total and Team A got one bonus, scoring 12 points.

They had done all they could do and it was now a wait for the results. Certificates were awarded for particular rounds. Team A gained theirs for ‘whirling through the Merry-go-round’ and Team B for ‘problem solving excellence’. We were extremely proud to hear that Team B finished in 4th place out of 14 teams and Team A in 1st – well done Northgate!

It was certainly a very enjoyable competition and hopefully inspired our students to think about their mathematical learning in the future and consider studying A-level Maths and Further Maths. A big thank you to CNS for hosting the event and the Advanced Maths Support Programme for the challenging but enjoyable rounds.

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