On Thursday 13th December 2018, a group of 46 Year 12 students from schools in Lancashire and Cumbria joined STOR-i PhD students for an activity day here on campus. The students from Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Ulverston Victoria High School and Keswick School enjoyed a session with Rob Eastaway of Maths Inspiration in the morning, and then worked with STOR-i PhD students in the afternoon. The hands-on interactive sessions were designed to promote Statistics and Operational Research as a future option and to get students thinking about their choices when applying to University and beyond. They also aimed to demonstrate practical rather than purely theoretical approaches and looked at how these are used in a wide variety of applications.
STOR-i PhD student, Sam Tickle, ran an activity called 'How To Make Perfect Toast and Become Infinitely Wealthy'. During the session the students looked at how `backward thinking' can be used to model everything from the perfect way to make toast, to how to divide resources (or gold coins) between various competing parties (or pirates), to modelling changes in broadband networks, the stock market and the climate as a whole.
Emma Stubington, another STOR-i PhD student, ran a session for the students entitled ‘Radiotherapy treatment planning, a few things that can go wrong’. Through a quick game of articulate, a video of the treatment equipment made of lego and students estimating the area of their feet, they learnt about the complicated process of radiotherapy from diagnosis to treatment. The session included many examples of how error and uncertainty arise in the process and a demonstration using real CT scans to show how everything linked up. The most excitement came when students discovered that there was a practical use to matrices and that Emma uses them every day in her research.
The previous day, Rob had run a training session for the STOR-i PhD students to help them develop a practical session based around their own research, and to build on their skills in engaging and working with young people. These skills were then put into practice during the STOR activity day.