The Maths With Zombies Training Academy – A STEM Workshop For Primary Schools

Overview: In this workshop, students will use mathematics to work out how best to survive six scenarios that they might encounter during a zombie apocalypse. As well as being entertaining in its own right, this provides a great introduction to the practical application of maths and helps the students understand how maths can be used to solve problems in everyday life. Each scenarios takes place during a different phase of a zombie apocalypse, and has been specifically created to be suitable for primary age children (so there are no guns involved). As well as solving the initial scenario, the students will also be encouraged to come up with their own variations on it, and suggest ways to incorporate these variations into the mathematical solution for it.  Duration: One to one and a half hours.

Intended Learning Outcome: This workshop will aim to show children that mathematics is not an abstract concept which is only of use in the classroom, but that it is something they can use in their everyday lives. In addition, it will show them how to ‘think like a mathematician’ so that they can use maths as a problem-solving tool in real world situations they may encounter.

STEM Areas Covered: This workshop will cover mathematics and its practical application to everyday life.

What Does This Workshop Involve? This workshop involves students working through six scenarios that might be encountered during different phases of a zombie apocalypse. These range from working out whether they have enough fuel to get to a safe house, through working out if they can out-run a zombie horde, and how long their food supply will last to how long they have to remain locked in a military bunker until all the zombies have rotted away and it is safe to emerge. These scenarios are based on problems originally created for The Little Book Of Zombie Mathematics: 25 Zombie-based Maths Problems, but they have been specifically adapted for primary age children. This means that the initial maths problems have been simplified and all references to guns and other similar weapons have been removed.

The workshop will start with a short video introducing the Maths With Zombies Training Academy. After this video, the students will be divided into groups of four before being presented with each of the six scenarios in succession. These are all provided in plain English, and will be accompanied by various props and physical activities to make them more interactive and entertaining.

For each scenario, the students will be presented with the initial problem which they will have to solve in order to work out what actions to take to have the best chance of surviving. Once they have worked out this answer, the groups will be encouraged to share how they came up with their answer so that they can see how the same problem can potentially be solved in different ways. In addition, they will be encouraged to come to up with variations around the basic scenario, and consider how the maths would need to be changed to work out the best survival solution.

Through this, the students will learn about the practical application of mathematics and how to ‘think like a mathematician’ when trying to solve problems in everyday life.

What Type Of Space Is Required For This Workshop? This workshop has been designed to be conducted in either a classroom or an open area, such as a school gym.

How Long Will This Workshop Last? This workshop will last between one and one and a half hours, and can be adapted to fit available time slots. Our preferred time to run this workshop is between mid-morning and lunchtime as this gives children time to settle into the school day, but they are still alert enough to listen to instructions and make the most of the experience.

Is This Workshop Safe? While the students will be moving around during this workshop, none of the activities are inherently dangerous or different from what they would be doing as part of their normal school day.

What Equipment Is Required? Other than providing a suitable space to carry out this workshop, there is no need to provide any additional equipment, and all materials can be supplied by us.

What Age Of Children Can Participate In This Workshop? This workshop is designed for children in P6 and P7.

How Many Children Can Be Accommodated? This workshop is designed to be carried out with a maximum of thirty-two children (divided into eight groups of four) at any one time. However, this upper limit is flexible and the workshop can be repeated several times in succession to accommodate a greater number of children from the same school.

How Much Will This Workshop Cost? This workshop costs £200 for up to thirty-two children (which would equate to a cost of £6.25 per child). If the workshop is repeated on the same day to accommodate more children, each additional repeat would cost an additional £50.

Who Will Run The Workshop? The workshop will be run by Dr Colin D. MacLeod. He has worked as a research scientist for over twenty years, as well as working as an educationalist, lecturer and street entertainer. He is a strong advocate of introducing children to the scientific method, critical thinking, ‘trial and error’ learning and STEM subjects as early as possible in their education. He is also the founder of How To Raise A Happy Genius, and an author of The Little Book Of Zombie Mathematics, which he has published under the pseudonym of Colin M. Drysdale. He is also PVG-registered and has an up-to-date PVG certificate.

How Can I Book This Workshop? This workshop can be booked by emailing colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com. This email address can also be used to request further information, ask questions or discuss any special requirements. Please use the subject line Maths With Zombies Workshop Enquiry in any such emails to help us identify them and respond as quickly as possible.