Maths Week Challenge at Lochgoilhead

Lochgoilhead Primary School participated in Scotland’s Maths Week Challenge with some exciting enquiry based learning. As soon as the pupils arrived on Monday morning, they attended a specially arranged assembly where they were all invited to help solve a problem. The large grass area surrounding the school was too long and needed to be ready by Friday for a sports event. With the usual gardening maintenance team not able to visit the school until the following week, the children were put into mixed age groups to try and come up with possible solutions.

Many excellent suggestions included borrowing lawn mowers and strimmers to using scissors or even hiring a helicopter to fly upside down and cut the grass, although that did raise a few health and safety questions!
In the end, the pupils agreed that the local farms held the answer and that sheep could be brought in to help. This raised many further questions as the groups had to now work out how many sheep would be needed as well as what type of sheep would be best. Each group had to measure the length of the grass with some blades of grass reaching 32cm. The trundle wheels helped each group work out the measurements required to then calculate the area. Research also included exploring the different types of soil and how that impacts on the quality of the grass.

On Wednesday, all of the groups were set an extra challenge by being asked to calculate the minimum number of sheep required if the sheep arrived on the Monday as well as if the sheep could only arrive on the Thursday – the day before the sports event.

Different types of sheep led to a range of findings. Ovis aries, otherwise known as Shetland sheep, being chosen resulted in a 115 sheep being required to save our sports day event. Much closer to home the pupils researched the local sheep and 50 to 55 sheep would be all that the school needed to have the grass area ship sheep shape in time for the sports event.

All in all, everyone had a lot of fun helping to solve the problem and there were many opportunities for engaging interdisciplinary learning to take place throughout the week. The creative side also came out with each group making their own sheep display for the group photograph in front of our new outdoor classroom.

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