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2023-2024

National Numeracy Day 23rd May

On Thursday 23rd May, Thirteen Year 7 students went to University of Nottingham as part of National Numeracy day 2024. National Numeracy Day is all about celebrating numbers and encouraging people to improve their numerical skills, no matter what their current level may be.

The students started the day by being fascinated by the size of the campus as we struggled to find the meeting point. The boys in particular liked seeing the sporting facilities that the students have access to.

The day started with the students receiving a welcome talk by Dr Ria Symonds – who has been working at the University for the past 15 years. She spoke about using maths in engineering, science and, in particular, in the real world.

The students listened really well as she explained how maths is all around us and forever progressing through the use of technology and AI.

Following the introductory speech, the students were introduced to the aspect of probability through a number of different scenarios in which they engaged in activities, and you could really see their love for Maths shining through.

They were able to step into the world of data science and discover the magic of mathematics through interactive activities. They explored how maths powers the cutting-edge technologies of natural language processing and natural networks. From decoding secrets hidden in texts to training virtual brains to think, the activities highlighted why maths is the ultimate key to unlocking the wonders of data science.

 

Let's ask the question… “Do you think you could hit five Heads in a row when tossing a coin?”

 

 

Now let's make it more interesting. If you can, then you will receive £1000, if you can’t you just have to give me £30. Now would you take the bet?

This was the theoretical problem that our students were presented with and so the experiment began, Lorenz did come very close to succeeding in hitting his first four as Heads. Which was a great accomplishment at 1/16 chance. The chance of winning £1000 would have been 1/32.

Following this, the students were told about the birthday paradox! The birthday paradox refers to the counter-intuitive fact that only 23 people are needed for that probability to exceed 50%. The birthday paradox is a vertical paradox: it seems wrong at first glance but is, in fact, true.

 

In the lecture theatre there were a couple of hundred eager Mathematicians who wanted to put the theory into practice. So Dr Ria Symonds asked the student at the back their birthday, she said anyone who can match that shout BINGO! And to all of our surprise, the first person had a matching birthday to someone else in the room. So she asked a few more and, amazingly, from the first six people who were asked, three others had the same birthday!! I wonder how many pairs could have been discovered should the task continue?

So how many people have to be in a room for it to be almost 100%? This was the next task for the students, using the idea of probability and 364/365 x 363/365 x 362/365 and so on… in fact, in a room of 75 there's a 99.9% chance of at least two people matching. So, next time you're in a crowded room/ place, ask yourself “I wonder if anyone else here shares my birthday?”

Session 2 was led by Dr Cerian Brewer who explained how she is fascinated in investigating the mathematics of random growth, showing how maths can link with science and geography. She wanted to try and encourage the students to also inspire a love for investigation too and I think this was achieved.

The workshop was set out to model a process of random growth by investigating the construction of pentominoes. Through an interesting approach of “Tumor growth” and polyonminos the students started to look at the different ways in which a tumour can develop, just one cell at a time and provided an interesting avenue for investigation and further analysis, such as the spread of disease or growth of a cancerous tumour

 

*A polyonmino is the name given to plane figures created by groups of squares touching at their edges. Polyominoes are generally referred to in groups, sharing a characteristic number of sides, ignoring rotations and reflexions. For example, the monomino is the trivial group consisting of a single square*

Session 3 was a little different as the students moved into a seminar room to look at the curious patterns created in data sets.

The session itself was led by Chris Hike, a lecturer at the University. He guided them through a process used to analyse a diverse range of data sets to find unexpected regularity in them, a regularity which has been used to detect financial, election and scientific fraud.

 

 

The students learnt that the first digit alone is key!!

In the afternoon, the students finally got a chance to get out and get some fresh air as they were given a campus tour by a student ambassador. Throughout the tour, the students were fantastic, asking some great questions both about studies and life as a student.

At the end of the day, all students were brought back together in the lecture hall where all speakers and contributors to the day were there for a Q and A session. During this time, the Oakwood students came up with some great questions: “what are your favourite topics in Maths?” “What age were you when you decided you wanted to do this?”

“What jobs include Maths?”

“How many digits of Pi do you know?”

The students showed great courage not only in this session but also throughout the entire day, putting their hands up and asking/ answering questions.

Lorenz also had a great joke that he wanted to share: “Why is six afraid of seven? Because Seven ATE nine!”

 

Other Maths jokes heard throughout the day

“Who built King Arthur’s round table? Sir Cumference”

“What is a Mathematician's favourite food? Pi!”

Overall, it was a great day and the Oakwood students were a credit to themselves and the Academy.

 

Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award Qualifying Expedition 26th – 28th April

Ten of our students successfully completed the qualifying expedition for their silver Duke of Edinburgh award at the weekend, which involved camping in the Peak District for two nights and walking 40km over three days.  They also had to navigate their own way across open countryside, pitch their own tents, cook their dinner and breakfast and carry with them anything they used so that they were totally self-sufficient.

Despite two very cold nights and torrential rain on the Sunday morning, they all got on with the job in hand without complaint and kept each other's spirits up.  Everyone stayed on track and showed great teamwork in camp. Their assessor was very impressed with them and said “every student was a credit to the academy over the weekend”.  They worked really hard both in preparing for and over the course of the expedition and should be proud of themselves and the skills they have demonstrated.  There was also lots of fun and laughter along the way! What an accomplishment. Well done all of you!

Handball Cup 2024

On Wednesday 24th April, 40 select students participated in the Redhill Trust Handball Cup at University of Nottingham. We competed against 9 other trust schools, where al students performed to the best of their ability. They showed fantastic sportsmanship across the day and all showed the perfect OAKWOOD student. We look forward to competing in the same tournament next year.

GCSE Poetry Live, 29/01/2024

Our Year 11 learners attended GCSE Poetry Live at the Royal Concert Hall to hear inspiring performances from some of the poets from the GCSE course.  

Miss Sanderson and a keen group of Year 11s headed into Nottingham and enjoyed a day filled with poetry from some of the leading contemporary poets; Simon Armitage, Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra, Carol Ann Duffy and John Agard. Each poet performed a range of different poems, both from the GCSE anthology and from other bodies of work, and talked about the topics they covered in their words. As poetry is a spoken art form, learners were able to experience the poet’s work in the way it was fully intended. As a result, learners gained a more in-depth understanding of the poems and poets they will write about in their GCSE’s.  


After each poet head recited their work, the audience had the chance to ask the poets questions about their poems, which offered our learners further insight. One of our students, Ellie Pickering, was brave enough to ask a question in front of the auditorium of thousands.  Learners also benefitted from a masterclass exploring how to approach unseen poetry by examiner Tony Childs.

 

TOA Enrichment with Lisa Williamson, 19/01/2024

​Lisa Williamson joined our Year 8 Enrichment students for a range of activities throughout the day which included re-writing stories and designing their own film trailer. Students worked incredibly well with Lisa and we look forward to welcoming Lisa back next year for Year 7 Enrichment.
 

DT House Egg Challenge, 18/01/2024

The DT Department hosted their annual House challenge on 18/01/24. Teams from each House competed to design and make a parachute and pouch that could protect an egg that was dropped from the C Block balcony. 

Teams were graded on how well they worked, how well it protected the egg and how accurate their aim was. The results are below: 

First Place: Virtus = worked well as a team = egg saved = 680mm from target 

Second Place: Robus = worked well as a team = egg smashed = 1170mm from target 

Third Place: Animus = worked well as a team = egg smashed = 1300mm from target 

Fourth Place: Certus = worked well as a team = egg smashed = 1420mm from target 

Thank you to all students who took part in this activity.

 

Food Royal Navy Visit, 17/01/2024

​ Lisa Williamson joined our Year 8 Enrichment students for a range of activities throughout the day which included re-writing stories and designing their own film trailer. Students worked incredibly well with Lisa and we look forward to welcoming Lisa back next year for Year 7 Enrichment.
 

TOA Enrichment with Lisa Williamson, 24/11/2023

​ ​A select group for Year 7 took part in their first "TOA Enrichment" event today with Lisa Williamson, author. They did a range of writing workshops during the day and all the students conducted themselves in a fantastic manner, showing the excellence of an Oakwood Student.
 

BTEC Level 3 Sports - Team building (Ninja Warrior)

This activity was rewarded to the BTEC Level 3 Sports students for their hard work, determination and being successful in the first term. This was a great way to continue/reward the students' commitment to the course and their overall grades.
 

Black History Month Celebration Day

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The Oakwood Academy was proud to host the Royal Navy who came in to deliver a two-hour session for Miss Clark's hospitality and catering class. The children were given the 'Ready Steady Cook' challenge by the Navy, who bought a range of ingredients for the children to cook with. Firstly, the children were broken down into teams of four, two cooking the main course, two cooking the dessert. Each team had a recipe and a set of instructions to follow with a timer on the board. 

The children's enthusiasm was ignited by the colourful display of leadership by the two Navy chefs. Every student had their sleeves rolled up and accepted the challenge. The highlights, of which there were many, were the Navy presentation at the end of the session, the Chicken Kievs and sticky toffee puddings and, over everything else, the vegetable stock in a can. Overall, the Oakwood Academy and the students involved would like to wish the Navy many thanks and look very much forward to working with them again.