Elgin Academy pupils escape with top maths challenge title

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Elgin Academy pupils win national Cracking the Code Challenge

 A team of students from Elgin Academy have been announced as winners of a national Cracking the Code challenge, held at The Crystal in London.

The competition, set up to encourage students to use maths creatively, inspired the Moray students to design the winning ‘space prison’ escape room.  As their reward, the team took home a £2000 prize fund to support maths programmes at Elgin Academy and their design will become a reality at the school this Autumn.

Carrie, 13 years old and a member of the winning team from Elgin Academy said, “It was a great experience and I cried when I found out we’d won. We developed our teamwork a lot and all became much better friends.”

The competition asked students to design their own crystal maze style escape room by coming up with a storyline and a series of puzzles that must be solved to escape. The Cracking the Code competition is a part of the Maths Mission, a series of pilots seeking to find the most effective ways to increase young people’s interest in maths, and improve their collaborative problem-solving skills.

The winning team of 11-14 year olds, going by the name of HMS Supanova, set its escape room scenario in a space prison of the future. The team went above and beyond the brief, created a video, 3D printed the escape room and made an impressive presentation.

The final of the competition saw nine teams of finalists from schools across the UK present their ideas to a panel of eight judges.

118 schools registered for the competition from across the UK, with 400 students participating.

The competition, was run by Nesta, the innovation foundation, in partnership with Tata group and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Currently the UK is not as good at maths as it should be. Maths is the foundation of learning and achievement in science, technology and engineering, yet UK teenagers came 27th in the OECD’s most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) international rankings for Maths.