The Ouseburn Primary Maths Trails were developed from Newcastle primary school teacher networks over the period of one year, to allow children to practise numeracy skills in a real place - a post industrial valley close to the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Ouseburn Valley has a fascinating heritage and a vibrant present that includes a city farm, a riding stables and Seven Stories , the Centre for Children's Books.
Schools have used the trails as a stand alone activity or as an extension to visiting these other attractions. Both children and accompanying adults have loved doing the trails. Teachers have particularly appreciated how they fit in with a cross-curricular approach to teaching maths.
How to approach the questions
The following note explains why not every question has a neat solution, though solutions to most questions are given on the map page.
“Taking part in maths outside the classroom empowers learners to learn themselves.
A child could walk the whole trail and never put pen to paper yet still be totally absorbed in the experience; and the opposite to this can also be true. It all depends on the approach you take.
The reason I feel the maths trail idea is a good one is not to do with the numbers of questions you get right. Some questions have straightforward answers. Other questions give children the chance to express in words their ideas and methods for arriving at an answer. So treat each question as an opportunity to discuss, in pairs or as a group.
We, as group leaders, should come at the trail as if we have never seen it before; react to questions as if we too are puzzled and want to find out more; cultivate discussion but allow children to lead; and most important allow children individual time to think.”