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This is a really interesting and fun Maths investigation that you can work on at home by yourself, with a friend or with your parents if you like! It’s good because it helps you to be a more creative Mathematician.

What does creativity mean to you?

Perhaps you think of painting a beautiful picture, or composing a song, or writing a poem.  But did you know that you can be creative while doing maths?  Mathematicians will tell you that their subject is also a very creative one. 

Here are some of the things that creative mathematicians do.  They:

  • ask good questions
  • link ideas from different areas of maths
  • spot patterns
  • make conjectures
  • find new ways to use skills they have learnt
  • find new ways to ‘see’ maths
  • find examples
  • invent new ways to show their thinking
  • are not afraid to take risks
  • are curious
  • keeping trying even when things go wrong
  • don’t give up.


Maths creativity activities like this are a little bit different from the maths you might be used to doing at school and more like what real mathematicians do.  In school, the teacher often takes you step by step, until you can tackle a really hard problem yourself.  Here, you sometimes are offered a very challenging problem and it’s up to you to find a route through to a solution. Be playful, explore, try things out and choose for yourself the directions you take.  You might enjoy exploring for its own sake and experience the beauty of maths.  There are some starting questions to investigate but hopefully you will also think of your own mathematically interesting questions to explore.

Take on the Approaching Midnight Maths Investigation by clicking HERE and scrolling through the activities to find background information and the activity. Alternatively just click the clock picture at the top of this page and dive straight in!

After you have played the first time and had a few goes, why not think about and consider these reflective questions.

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What is it about this game that you’ve enjoyed?

What elements of the game do you find engaging?

What do you think makes a good game?

Can you find a winning strategy?

 

 

-With grateful acknowledgement to the Cambridge University Nrich Mathematics Project.