How we became Count on Us champions
By Ms Bookal, a teacher at Harris Academy Beckenham, Bromley
As we look forward to the 2023 Count on Us Secondary Maths Challenge, we caught up with Ms Bookal. Ms Bookal is a teacher at Harris Academy Beckenham – the winners of the Count on Us tournament last year.
Ms Bookal describes what it was like to lead her school in the 2022 tournament, from training to the grand final. She shares how participation in the tournament has boosted student confidence, attitude, and performance.
“Last year was the first time I led the Count on Us Secondary Maths Challenge in our school – it had been running in our school for five years. I was hesitant but excited about what this experience could offer me, the school, and our students.
“After the teacher training session, I started planning how to deliver the programme and noted it would take organisation. What I did not expect was how much fun going through the process was going to be!
Picking a (winning) team
“To begin with, we focused on using the Count on Us resources to run activities with our Year 9s in maths lessons and practice sessions. From those activities, we picked our team of five for the tournament.
“The team was made up of students who were independent learners. These students enjoyed taking time during their maths lessons to work together and complete the challenge activities they would face in the lead-up to the Heat stages. They particularly enjoyed playing the 24®Game!
“Their success in the Heats qualified them for the Grand Final at City Hall, which they went on to win! Throughout the tournament, they fostered a brilliant winning spirit.
“As well as giving them a winning spirit, Count on Us also boosted their confidence more generally. They learnt to interact and work better as a team, and as a result, developed their social skills.”
“Following our success at the final, Harris Academy Beckenham ran an internal Count on Us competition for our Year 8s. The activities included Hedgehog, the 24®Game and Algebraic Problem Solving. We had our tournament-winning team as judges on the day.
“Having an in-school competition created a real buzz about the Count on Us Secondary Maths Challenge. Students are already eager to participate in 2023, especially as we are the defending champions – no pressure!”
Making maths fun
“Count on Us has enabled me to motivate my students while making maths fun.
“It has helped me show them maths in another light, not just abstract and numerical – but practical and engaging.
“I grew to understand my students better. I loved seeing how the teams worked together in the different rounds while boosting individual confidence. Seeing my students develop a deeper appreciation for maths and yearn for success in the subject fulfils me as a teacher.”