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Setting up TeachMeetMaths 2016

on June 15, 2016

Yesterday, something like 30+ maths teachers descended on Ormiston Bushfield Academy for TeachMeetMaths 2016.   I was very grateful for my need to overplan, when the heavens opened (complete with thunder) as everyone was due to arrive, and my student guides simply opened up their golf brollies, and escorted everyone (in a relatively dry fashion) into the building 🙂     (FYI – at least one staff member had to be excused from supervising / helping them, due to being ‘scared of thunder’….. It did make me chuckle!)

I’m going to share in detail what I did for the following reasons:

  1.  Some of you might want to do your own, and can steal ideas.
  2. I will be repeating this, and it’ll save me trying to remember it all.
  3. It was chuffing awesome.
  4. I totally forgot to press record, having set up the video…. duh.

First up, student guides.  Our car park is round the side of the school, and I didn’t want people struggling to find the way to the front entrance.  I’d put up signs to the carpark, and the signs through the school towards the maths dept, but our student guides were amazing at shepherding visitors.  They were rewarded with a cookie and some house points, and it was totally worth it for a positive first impression for visitors.   Also, have a stash of brollies if it’s likely to rain.

Publicity – I emailed details directly to any HoDs I knew / could find locally, as well as using our local network of Secondary Heads to share the details.   I tweeted both generally, and also directly to as many people as I could think of that might attend.  I kept up the mentions, particularly in the fortnight running up to the event.   I used ‘buffer’ to schedule reminder tweets in advance, complete with silly excited memes to catch the eye of scrollers….

Table setup – I picked out some nice puzzle-ish GCSE questions from the new spec, and some puzzles from  (in the google drive shared folder), and laminated them.  I put out whiteboard pens, and baby wipes for cleaning the table afterwards, so that people could have a go.  Each table also had a set of Twinkl travelmugs, which Twinkl resources kindly donated as our sponsors (these were VERY well received!), and a bowl of starburst sweets (because why not).   We put out some of our Happy Puzzle cubes too, because they’re fab.

Each table had a card or two with the wifi access details, and the details of the shared folder on google drive where all the presentations and shared resources would be stored. 

We also set up a puzzle corner, with our giant soma cube, the nrich teacup problem, and some iPads set up on :


Starting them young…..!


*A quick aside about the cube – I made it using 27 x 20cm foam cubes bought online, some vinyl material, a sewing machine, lots of time and cursing.  TOTALLY worth it.  Cost under £100 from our dept budget!*


Raffle prizes – I tweeted / emailed some very lovely people, who were kind enough to donate some awesome prizes for the raffle.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 20.21.11Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 20.20.56


We ordered pizza for all, and had tea, coffee and juice available.   I believe it’s important when asking people to give up their time, to provide pizza.  And starbursts.

I’ll talk about the actual presentations in the next post, so as not to confuse the organisation with the outcomes of the event.

Tech – I made sure that we had a cable ready for presenters to plug in their device to the IWB, and that there was a desktop  if not.   I emailed the weekend before to ask presenters to email me / add their presentations to Drive, so that I could get them lined up beforehand.   Our tech team are great, and were on hand to help make sure all the tech went smoothly.

Collaboration – It all worked out perfectly, in that we had 7 speakers for a 2 hour event, which meant we had lots of time available in between and at the end for people to actually talk to each other.  Not everyone is comfortable standing up and presenting, but everyone has something worth sharing, so making time for them to do so in a smaller group is always productive.

Support – I am part of a very supportive team, who kindly worked their way through my setup list an hour before the event, getting the room set up and everything arranged.  The site staff were also great, as well as the kitchen staff who got the refreshments set up.  Delegate.  You can’t do it all on your own (but choose wisely who you delegate to…).

Thanks – be certain to thank everyone who helped, from presenters to attendees to people who donated prizes to people who stuck around to help you pack up afterwards to the site staff who stayed late for you, and the kitchen team who fed you, and even the cleaners that rescued the room after you’d gone.  Don’t take any of it for granted.  Without those that do help, you’d be doing it ALL yourself….

ENJOY IT!  Just because you organised it, doesn’t mean you have to spend all evening bustling round worrying.








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