Beyond the classroom
Why do we need to be aware of opportunities to do mathematics outside the classroom, especially for our most able students? What do they have to offer? The first reason is obvious – there is a wealth of activities to supplement the classroom-based curriculum, many of which would be impossible or at least difficult to do in an ordinary classroom. The second is perhaps less practical and more philosophical – it is important for all pupils to be aware of mathematics in the outside world, but for those who are very able and possibly looking to use mathematics as a basis for a career, it’s vital that we as mathematics teachers introduce and welcome our pupils into the community of mathematicians. Just as, for example, able musicians are introduced to playing with other able musicians in a variety of contexts and begin to build up a network of contacts and opportunities, so able mathematicians should have opportunities to experience doing mathematics within a wider community of practice.