Golf is the ideal platform to promote mind-set maths. That is why Aberdeen Standard Investments, together with the Scottish Government, Winning Scotland Foundation and East Lothian Council, developed a unique initiative to help encourage greater enthusiasm for maths amongst local school children, their parents and carers and the wider public.
With The Renaissance Club hosting the men’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open this week and the Ladies equivalent just three weeks later, the events have provided the perfect backdrop for local pupils to develop their maths skills in a fun, inclusive and exciting way. With the help of educational specialists an education pack containing maths challenges and tasks relating to the Scottish Open and material on the importance of a positive attitude to maths was distributed to East Lothian schools to engage with 7 to 11 year old pupils with the various elements involved in running a major golf event.
As part of the project, pupils from local schools took part in a special maths class run by Winning Scotland Foundation during Wednesday’s pro-am day involving professional golfers Stephen Gallacher, Kylie Henry and Michele Thomson along with University Challenge and BBC Maths Guru Bobby Seagull. The golfers and caddies were also having to use their arithmetic skills to navigate the course with all 18 pin flags being replaced with mathematical calculations to depict their number – all which were provided by pupils from East Lothian Schools as part of the 2018 Making Maths Count programme.
Stephen Gallacher, who is in the Scottish Open field this week said:
“This is a fantastic initiative and it was great to meet all the local school children and see the enthusiasm they have towards both maths and golf. Almost every aspect of golf relies on a numerical calculations so for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open to take that to the classroom is fantastic. Replacing the normal 1-18 with maths calculations is certainly catching us golfers out!”
Celebrity BBC mathematician Bobby Seagull said:
“It’s been a wonderful day at the Scottish Open with a really engaged classroom of children and participation from the pro golfers. All children should be able to approach maths with confidence and it’s important to transform the mind-set that influences our perceptions of who can and can’t be ‘good at maths’. It’s been great to use golf to help young people understand that maths is a creative and engaging subject, with many transferable skills.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“Understanding how numbers underpin the sport of golf is a creative and enjoyable way to discover the maths all around us and promote numeracy as a key life skill.
“The partnership with Aberdeen Standard Investments and the Winning Scotland Foundation is a superb way to engage East Lothian primary school pupils in maths at the Scottish Open – a highlight of the Scottish sporting calendar.”
Aberdeen Standard Investments, Chairman, Martin Gilbert, who is represented on the Scottish Government’s Making Maths Count expert group said:
“Aberdeen Standard Investments are proud that through our sponsorships of both the men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens we can do our bit to make maths more engaging for pupils which is absolutely crucial. I was lucky enough to have an inspirational maths teacher at school and that has certainly been of huge benefit to me throughout my career. Initiatives of this kind raise awareness of the importance of these essential skills and it’s been a pleasure to work with the Winning Scotland Foundation and the Making Maths Count group.”