teachMathematics: Les Fetes des maths!

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Les Fetes des maths!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Hommage to Fermat

A festival of mathematics - what a great idea! This is quick post a terrific day we had in Beaumont de Lomagne on Sunday 11th October at the annual 'Fetes des maths' which is held at the birth place of Pierre de Fermat and organised by Fermat Science. Beaumont is a beautiful little market town and the 'Maison de Fermat' is a must see for any mathematics enthusiasts who are passing nearby. It has recently undergone some significant renovation to include more exhibitions and interactivities. It is a wonderful building and of course steeped in the great history of the famous mathematician and his work! There was a wonderful range of exhibits and activities for people to engage in and many people whiled away the day very happily hopping from one exhibit to another and pausing for a typical French lunch or 'Pique -nique' October in south west France provided us with a beautifully warm today to enjoy. There should definitely be more of this sort of activity. This view point was coincidentally reinforced by this great article about the importance of recreational mathematics, published the day after!

What did we do?

Well we didn;t need asking twice! We established a good link with Fermat Science earlier this year when we brought Simon Singh over to talk at our ISMTF Middle School Competition . He was keen to come and visit the biorth place of Fermat for obvious reasons and so we were able to meet and work with the people at Fermat Science to make this happen. Once we discovered that we shared a love for all kinds of mathematics, we were only too keen to be involved in their annula festival so we headed up to Beaumont with cars full of stuff to run a few stalls for the day. Check out the gallery below for some photos of what we were up to! The theme was 'Mathematics and cooking'


Simon  wrote a post on our school maths blog - Pink Mathematics. You can read more about the Prime Pictures activity (or prime cakes as it was in this case!) Richard ran a stall building 3D shapes with jelly beans and toothpicks and Oliverdid some great colour mixing with ratios and percentages as all comers made their own icing for their cakes!

We also ran a test of the Wisdom of the crowd theory. I plotted the average guess at different times during the day hoping that it would converge on the the avaerage towards the end of the day. Check it out!

There was alos a lovely range of exhibits, puzzles and interactivities provided by a large range of peope and we were busy from 10.30 in the morning until 18h in the evening! Like I said, what a great idea. I think it would be great to see these type of events popping up everywhere. We would love to hear about any similar events that you know about! For now, we felt we were in great company - literally, and we are already looking forward to doing it all again next year.



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