Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 — Meet the Mathematicians

Mathematical speed-dating. A fun, exciting way to ‘meet’ the mathematicians.

Lesson objectives:

Get to know the mathematicians and realise they are normal people!

Consider some questions students may want to ask the mathematicians.

Broaden the students’ perceptions of mathematicians and contribute to their science capital. Find out more at imascientist.org.uk/science-capital.

Curriculum links:

Select, organise and present scientific information.

Evaluate scientific information and make informed judgements from it.


  • Suggested Questions (can be found below or online at iamuk.ddev.site).
  • Printed copies of the mathematicians’ profiles who have signed up to your live chat. Find them on your dashboard.
  • Paper and pens for drawing a mathematician.

Starter: 10 minutes

  1. Split students into groups – one group for each mathematician whose profile has been printed.
  2. Ask them to think about what they imagine mathematicians are like. Draw a mathematician as a group. Starting at the top of the piece of paper, each person draws a different part of the mathematician (head, shoulders, etc) without others seeing. They fold over what they have done and pass it on (like a game of consequences).
  3. Unfold and look at the pictures – are there any common themes? Do they think mathematicians are really like that?

Activity: 30 minutes

  1. Assign each group a mathematician and hand them a print out of the mathematician’s profile. Get each group to read out their mathematician’s name and job role.
  2. Get the students to read through their mathematician’s profile as a group.
  3. Split each group in half, into A’s and B’s, for mathematical speed-dating. Those in Group A are students who will go around and question Group B, who are the mathematician. Group B will use the printed mathematician profile pages on which to base their answers.
  4. Hand the Group A students the list of Suggested Questions to ask the Group B mathematicians. They can also ask questions of their own. If the answer is not available on the mathematician profile the group can speculate.
  5. The Group B mathematicians will stay seated and the Group A students will rotate between each mathematician, asking questions. Move students on to a new mathematician every few minutes.

Plenary: 10 minutes

Go over the questions for each mathematician and discuss the mathematician as a class. Did students feel they got to know the mathematicians? What are their opinions of each person? What would they like to ask the mathematicians?
Now may be a good opportunity to draft some questions for Ask and Chat.

Suggested Homework:

Log in to iamuk.ddev.site and post at least one question in Ask.


Read some of the other questions and answers on the site. Who do you think should win? Cast your vote (you can change it later if you change your mind).


Do the activity as a class with the ‘mathematicians’ at the front. Two or three students play each mathematician.


Students ask their own questions rather than Suggested Questions to the ‘mathematicians’. Go onto the site and submit some questions in Ask for the real mathematicians.

Suggested Questions

1. What kind of place do you work?
2. What do you do?
3. What’s your favourite band?
4. Do you work alone or as part of a team?
5. How long have you done your job?
6. What is your work trying to find out?
7. Will your work affect people? If so how many people and in what way?

Lesson 1 – Meet the mathematicians (alternative version)

If students have access to computers, this version of Lesson 1 allows for more independent learning.

Lesson objectives:

Get to know mathematicians and realise they are normal people!

Explore the site and interact with real mathematicians using Ask.

Broaden the students’ perceptions of mathematicians and support students’ science capital.

Curriculum links:

Select, organise and present mathematical information.

Evaluate mathematical information and make informed judgements from it.


  • ICT suite or a computer and projector in the classroom, so students can work together with the teacher leading.

Starter: 10 minutes

Recap the I’m a Mathematician activity – reading profiles, posting questions in Ask, live chat and Voting (see page 1).

Or use ‘fold game’ starter from the scientific speed-dating version of Lesson 1 on page 4.

Activity: 35 minutes

  1. In pairs, mindmap suitable questions students want to ask the mathematicians. Discuss them as a class.
  2. Send students to iamuk.ddev.site to log in (independently or in pairs). Read the profiles of the mathematicians who have signed up for your live chat. Find them on your dashboard.
  3. Write down three interesting things from the profiles.
  4. Post a question in Ask.
  5. Read some of the other questions and answers on the site. Who do students think should win? Cast votes (students can change their vote later if they change their mind).

Plenary: 5 minutes

Students present to the class:

  • Three interesting things they found out on the profiles
  • Which mathematician they want to win and why
  • Who they would not vote for and why
  • Are the mathematicians as the students expected? If not, how are they different?

Suggested Homework:

Pick one of the mathematicians. Find out about their area of mathematics and write about it, including:

  • What they study
  • Where they do their research
  • A famous mathematician from the area they study


Continue reading the questions and answers already on the site. Comment or post more questions in Ask. If students change their mind about who they want to win, change their vote.


Give more assistance in thinking up questions. Use the Suggested Questions from Lesson 1 as a basis.


Allow more freedom when looking at the site. Write a short paragraph about what they find on the site to present back to the class. Justify more clearly which mathematician they like best

Lesson 2 — Live chat

Chat to real mathematicians in the online chat.

See the Teacher Guidance notes for information on preparing for this lesson.

Lesson objectives:

Interact with mathematicians in the live chat.

Increase the relevance of maths to everyday life.

Broaden the students’ perceptions of mathematicians and maths.

Support students’ science capital.

Curriculum links:

Apply principles and concepts to unfamiliar situations.

Make informed judgements about mathematics.


  • Live chat booking (important: book in advance from your dashboard).
  • Access to the website for individuals or pairs
  • Suggested questions from Lesson 1

Starter: 5 minutes

  1. Log in to the website (iamuk.ddev.site).
  2. Click Chat at the top of the page to join the session.
  3. While waiting for the Chat to start, as a class go over the Suggested Questions from Lesson 1 and questions students have prepared. If students were hoping to chat with a specific mathematician who can’t make the chat, encourage them to post their question(s) in Ask instead.

Activity: 40 minutes

Chat with the mathematicians, as individuals, pairs or small groups. See the teacher guidance for how the chat system works.

In the Chat students can get to know the mathematicians better, in real time. Remind them that they have a big responsibility because they can vote for which mathematician wins £500.

Plenary: 5 minutes

Students Vote for who they think should win.

Are there any other questions they didn’t get to ask? Post these in Ask.

Remind students that they can use the site to ask questions at home if they have access to the internet.

Suggested Homework:

Pick one of the mathematicians’ areas of work. Find out more about an issue facing that area. Either research an issue that came up in the live chat, or write about the biggest issue facing that area of work. Post a question about this issue in Ask.


Suggest questions or ask mathematicians the mindmapped questions from Lesson 2.


Read mathematicians’ profiles to ask questions about their specific areas of study. What can students learn about the different projects mathematicians are working on?