Break 3, the current exhibition/ installation at Rook Lane, kicked off yesterday and has already been explored by over 100 excitable children. The aim of the project is to bring the fun back into maths – by using art and creativity to make numbers and sums less abstract.
There is a selection of activities – all maths related, all VERY fun – spread across the chapel. A hopscotch board is pitched up next to a faux-office desk, giant balls of wool are bundled in a huge pile – for curve stitching – with a blackboard backdrop (chalk is provided – and numbers and sums have been scrawled over it).
The nature corner is piled high with twigs and dried flowers, leaves and other countable natural objects. And then there are large triangular-shaped patches of carpet, in red and black, which are laid out and children are encouraged to join the cut outs to make an animate shape.
The cafe area is laden with number-related story books, giant dominoes and weighing scales. I’ve been listening in as Jo Plimmer, one of the organisers, talks to children about maths – what they like and don’t like. As Jo discusses how maths can be used in useful and creative ways – the subject is immediately lifted from all-too-familiar pages of monotonous textbooks and transformed into a tenable concept.
As one of the classes rushed past my desk, full of adrenaline, a little boy exclaimed to his friend “Wow, that was actually quite fun!”