SERENA TANG, a 7 year old pupil at Llwydcoed Primary in Aberdare, has won the “Sum it Up” maths competition in the Year 1-2 category with her visual interpretation of how she pictures maths at a birthday party.

The competition, launched by leading edtech provider Renaissance Learning, invited local primary school children to get creative to mark World Maths Day.

Open to all primary school children across the UK and Ireland, the competition encouraged children to think big about how maths can be found in the everyday and create imaginative artwork showing their vision of where they can see and experience maths in the world around them.

Serena’s winning picture was chosen by a panel of expert judges including Catherine Magee, Teacher of the Year in a Primary School Silver Winner and Kjartan Poskitt, author of the Murderous Maths series. 

The judges were really impressed by the inventive and inspiring ideas in Serena’s winning entry, pointing out how Serena created a great party scene with lots of different maths including shapes, a right angle, numbers on the clock and bunting… plus an ingenious demonstration of quarters on the present wrapping!

Winner Serena says: “I had lots of fun. We all put the maths goggles on and went for a walk around the school and then we thought about other times we could see maths around us. I learned to look for patterns, numbers and shapes and that they are everywhere. I also learned about halves and quarters. I decided to draw a party because we couldn’t have parties with Covid and I like going to birthday parties because they are fun and also really colourful. There are always lots of people in parties and candles and balloons and banners with numbers on and lots of presents so there would be lots of maths at a party.”

Serena’s teacher Michelle Lloyd says: “It is fantastic that someone from our school has won a national competition and I am really pleased for Serena as she is always very creative. Her work is always beautifully presented and she chose a picture that had lots of maths included in it so it was well deserved.”

With designs featuring maths represented through the children’s interests such as horse boxes, football pitches, gardens, supermarkets and even superheroes, five entries from budding artists across the country were chosen as winners. The artistic talents of the winners has won Serena and her fellow artists a Kindle Fire and a year’s subscription to Renaissance’s Freckle and Star Maths practice and assessment solutions for their class or school. Winning entries may also appear as future ‘Depth of Knowledge’ questions in Freckle, and every entrant will receive a certificate to thank them for taking part.

Catherine Magee, Teacher of the Year in a Primary School Silver Winner and Head Judge for the competition, says: “I was delighted to be involved in judging the entries received from schools and I took great enjoyment in looking through all the wonderful entries. All the children had taken such care and attention in creating their visual representation of maths. It’s so important that we engage children in maths in an exciting and accessible way and this competition has given teachers and pupils the tools to do that.”

Sarah Haythornthwaite, Marketing Director at Renaissance Learning, says: “We were so impressed by the quality of the competition entries. It’s clear that all the children who entered had great fun thinking about how maths is all around us in everyday life. With energy and ideas like Serena’s, it’s great to see how children are taking ownership of their learning by connecting maths to their everyday experiences. 

We’re also proud to be supporting teachers and schools with their mission to keep pupils excited about learning maths.”

Renaissance already works with almost 8,000 schools in the UK and Ireland through the provision of adaptive solutions that support the practice and assessment of reading and maths. As part of this competition, however, teachers from participating schools were offered free access to Freckle, Renaissance’s new primary maths practice solution.

More information about Renaissance and Freckle can be found here: https://www.renlearn.co.uk/freckle/