Cabinet of Curiosities

This book also inspired my blog, too: it’s a collection of factettes and ideas, all betraying an unashamed enthusiasm for maths. Of course, the crucial difference is that Prof Stewart presents original material *blush*

Although much of it isn’t quite right for my pupils (KS3 and KS4, or age 11-16 in non-teacher-speak), or needs adjustment to be accessible to all of them, it’s reminded me of how beautiful and funny maths is. Equally, it has been a reminder that I want my lessons to be a sharp departure from my own experience of maths in secondary school. Although I am indebted to the excellent teacher who guided my through my Leaving Cert (Irish A-levels), and whose effectiveness in behaviour management still inspires me, it saddens me that it took until this year that I could even imagine a maths lesson that involved creativity and surprises. Let’s be honest: for most of us, the only ‘real-life’ application we saw in school was a contrived exam question that used the distance between a boat and a cliff to make trigonometry ‘relevant.’ The mind boggles.

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