Young codebreakers enjoy maths challenge
Wartime machine gives pupils an insight into today’s technological demands
Monifieth High School youngsters cracked the secret to a fascinating school day when they got their hands on a wartime Enigma code machine.
The legendary gizmo is touring Angus schools as part of Maths Week Scotland, having been brought north from the Bletchley Park intelligence unit in Buckinghamshire, which was home to the famous code breakers of the Second World War.
Bletchley Park education officer Thomas Briggs talked Monifieth pupils through the technology behind the cracking of the Enigma’s code, which played a crucial role in the outcome of the war, and ran practical codebreaking workshops with some of the enthusiastic youngsters.
Science Minister Richard Lochhead also visited the school as part of the event, which followed a visit to Arbroath High by Maths Week Scotland coordinator Katie Oldfield to see for herself the activities and learning experiences being undertaken by youngsters there.
A project spokesman said: “Bletchley Park brings together the dramatic
Bletchley Park brings together the dramatic history of the 20th Century with the challenges we face in the 21st Century in our rapidly changing society
history of the 20th Century with the challenges we face in the 21st Century in our rapidly changing and technologically complex society.
“Maths and codebreaking are stimulating and innovative ways to engage all ages in the logical and computational thinking process that underpins mathematics.
“It also encourages people to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.”
The activity has been funded by the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and the Scottish Government curriculum unit, with the Bletchley Park education team due to visit all Angus secondaries during the week to explore maths and codebreaking.
An Angus Council spokesman added: “It has also been supported by our Angus education team and learning support officer for numeracy, which is part of the Angus Virtual School improvement programme.”
Schools across Courier Country are taking part in the special programme, with maths performer Andrew Jeffrey visiting secondary schools in Perth and Pitlochry.
St Andrews University is conducting lectures in local schools and will also be hosting a viewing of their collection of ancient mathematical texts, combining it with a lecture on the material.
Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister John Swinney is tweeting a daily maths challenge, created for him by the Scottish Mathematical Council.