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Fashionable maths at Shoreham Academy

This project aimed to raise confidence and motivation levels in maths, amongst a small group of academically-able Year 9 girls. Through ‘fashion’ and costume design the girls explored everyday applications for maths. This included a range of processes such as measuring fabrics, budgeting for materials, pattern cutting and tessellations.

Who was involved

  • 12 Year 9 girls from Shoreham Academy, West Sussex (then known as King’s Manor Community College) and teachers Nina Patel and Clare Eddison
  • Creative practitioner: Lulu Allison

Enquiry

How can we use ‘fashion’ to help make maths relevant to every day life for a group of Year 9 girls?

Objectives

  • To increase levels of enjoyment and engagement in maths
  • To boost confidence and risk-taking
  • To enable maths to become relevant to everyday situations
  • To encourage problem solving

Outcomes

The school decided to opt for a single-sex project to see if the girls’ enjoyment and attainment in maths could be improved, without the distraction of the boys. They felt that the girls grew in confidence working in a smaller group, and the participants acknowledged that they enjoyed working together as a team. The 12 girls were involved with the planning of the project from the outset, and decided that the kind of artist they would most like to work with would be a fashion designer. They learnt a wide range of creative skills including painting, sketching, design, Photoshop, sewing, pattern cutting, designing, applications of mathematical equations and information about various designers, artists, fashion designers and mathematicians.

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Maths was inherent in nearly all the tasks the girls undertook. One girl in particular is interested in pursuing a career as a fashion designer as result of the project and the skills she learnt, and the staff noted an increase in their motivation and confidence. One of the highlights of the project was a trip to the V&A Museum in London to see their costume collection.