On Friday 2 December, the School of Mathematics and Statistics hosted a group of 19 Year 10 high school students, as part of the UNSW Science Work Experience Program.
The day began with a welcome from Head of School Bruce Henry, who gave the students an overview of the School. The students then participated in an engaging panel discussion, featuring School members Anna McGann, Thomas Britz, Jakub Stoklosa, Ana Zumalacarregui, Jan Zika and Daniel Mansfield. The discussion spanned the growth of statistics, maths careers, the difference between high school and university mathematics, and several other topics.
The students then rotated in small groups between maths and stats activities, including problems of mathematical archaeology, angle sums of a triangle, and even determining the height of the Red Centre building.
After lunch, Dr Jan Zika ran a fun and interactive demonstration of the rotating water tank ("Weather in a Tank"), which reproduces some of the features of weather and ocean currents. The students then formed groups and moved among three activities: bubbles and optimisation, marshmallow geometry towers, and the four colour theorem. Prizes were awarded to the group with the tallest tower, the group with the most aesthetically pleasing tower, and to the best individual effort of the four colour theorem.
The afternoon session comprised a gameshow of "Proofs Without Words", hosted by Dr Daniel Mansfield, which saw the students competing in groups for prizes.
A big thank you to all who assisted and ran activities on the day: Daniel Mansfield & Susannah Waters (coordinators), Anna McGann, Thomas Britz, Jakub Stoklosa, Ana Zumalacarregui and Jan Zika.