Ark Swift celebrates World Number Day with journalist Alex Bellos

Author and journalist Alex Bellos met children during a special assembly at Ark Swift today, as they marked World Number Day.

Children from Years 1 to 6 were encouraged to put their number skills into practice and enter Ark Swift’s puzzle competition. They were asked to produce either a maths puzzle or game, with a clear set of instructions.

Entries were very strong and it was difficult to choose a winner. Mr Bellos, who regularly writes about maths for the Guardian, used his expertise to judge the winners of the puzzle competition.

Mr Bellos said: “It’s great to see a school so enthusiastic about mathematics, and whose students came up with creative and well-presented games and puzzles.”

The creativity in the entries was clear – football games, snakes and ladders and games of chance and risk all made an appearance. Children even raised money for the NSPCC, by donating £1 to wear clothing featuring a number.

Ark Swift Principal Jason Marantz said: “It’s wonderful seeing creativity and excitement around the school, and I congratulate all of the children who took part in the competition."

Mr Bellos also took the time to tell the children about his work as an author. He revealed that after surveying 40,000 people, he discovered that the most popular number is the number seven. The children also heard that chimpanzees and parrots are the only animals that can be taught to count, and that numbers as we recognise them today originated in India around 1,500 years ago.

Here are the winners in full:

Key Stage 1

  • Tasnim, Year 1 (1st place)
  • Rafia, 1 (2nd place)

Lower Key Stage 2:

  • Leila, Year 4 (1st place)
  • Julian

     

    a, Year 4 (2nd place)

Upper Key Stage 2:

  • Muhammad B, Year 5 (1st Place)
  • Yusra O, Year 6 (2nd place)