Contest aims to roll out the red carpet for numeracy skills
Are your pupils having trouble learning their times tables? Perhaps it's time to don a long curly wig, unleash the air guitar and rock 3 x 8.
That's the approach that Bruno Reddy, pictured right, took with his Year 7 class. Now his vision of turning a tough maths chore into a hard rock celebration is set to take centre stage in a spectacular event for pupils across London.
The Times Tables Rock Wrangle in June aims to do for multiplication what the spelling bee has done for onomatopoeia. Some 160 students from 40 schools in the city are being invited to receive red carpet treatment for a week, before challenging each other to race through their times tables via an online test at the grand finale event.
There will be an air guitar competition, fancy dress photos and roving paparazzi - all adding to the heady atmosphere of students being worshipped for their prowess at mental arithmetic. And in true rock god style, the overall winner and their team will be treated to a helicopter ride over London.
Mr Reddy, formerly head of maths at King Solomon Academy in London, said: "It began five years ago when I realised my Year 7 class didn't know their tables off by heart. I wanted a fun way to practice, so I gave them rock names and played rock music."
As the students got quicker at times tables calculations, they moved up the rankings from "wannabe" (taking more than 10 seconds to answer a question) to "rock star" (less than 3 seconds) and finally "rock god" (less than a second).
At the end of the year, the school held a red carpet day to celebrate everyone's achievements, with the top scorers battling it out in a times tables competition.
"Then one of my students said, `Why not turn Times Tables Rock Stars into an online game?' " Mr Reddy recalls.
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