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Hello everyone

Welcome to the Grand Random Challenge site.

The content has been developed to supplement the Grand Random Challenge cards which a few of you might already have. Please like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @grchallenge  and get in touch to find out more.

Take a look at our promo video.

Introduction

“The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated but to make complicated things simple”

- S. Gudder

How many times have you encountered a learner who looks at a mathematical problem and says “I can’t do that – I don’t know anything about cakes” or similar? As a Functional Skills lecturer, it is something that I encounter almost on a daily basis. Learners can do the maths, but they just do not understand how to use it. Traditionally as teachers we have just kept on feeding learners with a varied diet of exactly the same thing – no wonder they become disengaged! As a profession we can do better than that and our students deserve that much at least.

These Grand Random Challenge cards stem from my agricultural background (no pun intended) and perhaps indicate more about my mental thought processes than my natural mathematical ability. However what they do provide is an opportunity to help learners develop self-confidence with using numbers and an ability to put thought into the process skills required in order to answer a random mathematical problem. Generally there are no exact answers to these questions; it simply depends upon assumptions and estimations made. For the pure mathematician this might be a step too far, however for the pseudo scientist or mathematician it is this process that lets many down. The intention is that by participating in the Grand Random Challenge learners will be able to travel from what they do know to somewhere they had never considered previously. A canal full of tomato ketchup for example!

The concept of using completely bizarre and random questions to teach mathematical skills is not new. The only difference with these cards is that the questions are not like any learners will ever have encountered before. They will need to show a willingness to ask and investigate, imagine and estimate and be prepared to accept completely ridiculous ideas. An ant diving into a ball pool for example!

If in some small way learners develop a greater sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity together with a self confidence in “having a go” and trying things out, then it will have been successful. If as a result of challenging a single learner’s apprehension with numbers and opening up a whole world of innovation, then it will have exceeded expectation by a considerable factor.

Basically just have some fun with them and enjoy something a little different.

Thank you for “having a go” and please share what you are able.

Phil Gulliver. BEd

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