Maths students explore Paris
Posted on 13 July 2018

43 maths students have returned from a fantastic visit to France, where they put into practice what they have learnt over their first year at College.

Student Sarah Matthews gives her account of the trip:

Ah, Paris. The city of beauty, baguettes and maths!  

The first stop was a tour of Paris’ Latin Quarter, where we developed our understanding of polynomials, explored Buffon’s needle problem and refreshed our isometric drawing skills all whilst taking in the sites. After lunch we sailed down the Seine learning about the landmarks. It’s safe to say, after the tour our knowledge of bridges has never been better.

Because no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower, this was next on the agenda. Those of us who felt up for a challenge, climbed the 669 steps to the second floor of the iconic landmark. This was no mean feat in the heat, but the spectacular view across Paris justified the aching legs. After such a busy day, we were all happy to return to the hotel for a meal and some maths games.

The next day, we woke up bright and early to complete an investigation into the maths behind roller coasters, putting our mechanics knowledge to good use. We focused on the ‘Indiana Jones’ coaster, finding the maximum velocity and potential energy at different points on the track. In light of these findings, the only thing left to do was to try it for ourselves! So off we went to Disneyland for a day of rides, parades and excitement. Great fun was had by all and we stayed long into the evening to watch the spectacular fireworks above the castle.

Before heading home, we visited La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie. This museum was packed with interactive exhibitions including one especially focusing on maths. Amongst many other things, we were able to show off our musical skills on a giant floor piano, have a go on the flight simulator and see the planetarium.

All in all, we had a fantastic time. I’m sure we’ll have ‘It’s a Small World’ going around in our heads all summer. Thank you to Ruth Snelling, Curriculum Manager for maths, for organising the trip and to all the staff who looked after us - you were incredible.