Not sure if that really works, but I enjoyed my first Maths Jam so much last night that I thought it would make a great topic for my SBPC post today.

If you don't know about Maths Jam (I didn't until Beth (@MissBLilley) invited me along at the last maths conference), it's a monthly get-together for "maths enthusiasts" in your local area, which understandably attracts a lot of maths teachers. It's also something I wish I'd found out about a lot sooner, as I've been back in Leeds for over four years now, and would have really enjoyed going along to these as I was settling back in and making new friends.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for a couple of problems from Solve my Maths.

We kicked off with this great puzzle from the Senior Team Maths Challenge - it's formatted so that half the team have the across clues and half have the down, so encourages collaboration. All the other puzzles are available here, and I'm definitely going to be using these next year, along with the Junior versions.

The competition should take 40 minutes - I reckon we took longer than this, but there was a lot of duplicated work going on. Something I really need to work on is confidence in my own answers - I noticed I was doing what some pupils do in my classroom. I've got a fixed perception of my ability in maths - I'm good, but I'm not amazing - and I can get quite insecure about whether my answers are correct when surrounded with people I perceive as being "better" at maths than me!

Next up, we started working on some problems from Solve my Maths, all themed around circles as today is Pi approximation day, dontcha know?

I started with this one, as I'd done it recently on a training day, but forgotten exactly how. After a bit of fiddling and use of similar triangles, I got an answer I was happy with - note I'm posting the tidy solutions only! You can click to make it bigger rather than squinting...

This is one of the most frustrating problems I've ever done - both Dave and I were working on this simultaneously for about an hour. I used 5 pieces of paper, Dave used 8, and I spent at least 40 minutes rewriting the same set of equations. Problems like these are like annoying itches though - every time I put my pen down and admitted defeat, I'd picked it back up within a few minutes and was redrawing the diagram for the millionth time.

Interestingly, we both arrived at a completely independent solution within minutes of each other. Mine wasn't terribly elegant, but it worked. Again, this is the tidy version... at one point, I ended up trying to solve 17875x - 286x² - 268082 = 0, and even then it didn't give me the correct answer.

I then spent an hour playing an app version, Trio, on my tablet rather than going to bed. I love the summer holidays!

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