Event date: 23 March, 2023

PIE at Lunchtime: Maths & Intuition

Careers, Events, Guests, News, PIE, PIE talk, Senior School, Sixth Form, STEM

On Thursday 23 March, we were very fortunate to have Rob Eastaway come in and talk about Mathematics from a different perspective.

The Year 8 students were led through some very interesting puzzles, such as what does it mean if you see a gradient of 100% on a road sign. Another interesting problem that Year 8 were given was if you had a copy of The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (which is two volumes), and place one bookmark at Ardvark and one at Zebra, what would be the length between the two bookmarks? I will leave it to the students to explain the solutions to these problems.

At lunchtime, we had an excellent attendance for the PIE talk entitled ‘I Wasn’t Expecting That! – Maths and Intuition’. Students were enthralled with problems demonstrating how Mathematics can be used to prove how misguided and wrong our intuition can be. One of the astonishing facts Rob revealed through Mathematics was how we actually waste 99% of our pencil lead (based on the traditional wooden pencil).

The final talk, titled ‘How to Cheat at Mind Reading’ was given to Year 7. Some of the Year 7 students have written reviews and even a poem about the event which you can read here:

Rob Eastaway Talk

“Rob Eastaway’s talk was not only entertaining, but fun and interactive. The tricks he showcased left everyone in the room speechless and amazed. In the world of Maths, it is hard to impress and shock a group of twelve-year olds, but Rob was able to capture the essence of the room and create sparkling tricks just right to keep the group entertained”.  Kika, Year 7

“On Thursday afternoon, Year 7 were lucky enough to receive a talk from Rob Eastaway about mind reading in Maths which is something Year 7 is very fond off. This experience was inspiring, exciting, and motivating to try new problems and explore what magical things you can do with Maths. Rob gave us an intriguing talk about mind twisting problems that can only be understood when explained. An example of this is where he would ask someone to multiply an age by the numbers 1 – 9 until reaching a number in the millions. He would then ask to name the 6 out of 7 digits in a random order for him to calculate the seventh digit. He did this by adding the 6 digits together to create an integer from which he would see how far away this was from a multiple of 9. For example, if the 6 digits sum to 16, the missing digit would be a 2. We are so grateful to have such a motivational speaker come in and this was truly an enjoyable experience”. Lena and Tuuli, Year 7

Rob Eastaway explaining pencil lead conundrums

Rob Eastaway explaining pencil lead conundrums

Poem about ‘How to Cheat at Mind Reading’


Rob Eastaway

Who came on a weekday

The funniest mathematician

Who’s good at addition

His weird and wonderful puzzles

Left us all super confuzzled

He did not make it boring

And managed to save us from snoring

He is a math magician

Who is also a geometrician

A world while author

Who plays fun tricks on his daughter

He kept us entertained

And of course he explained


by Charlotte and Anika, Year 7


A note of appreciation to the Estates Team and ICT Team for assisting with set-up for the talks. Thank you to Rob Eastaway for coming and enthralling our students with Mathematics, as well as for his donation of books to the library. Finally, but certainly not least, thank you to the wonderful FOPHS for providing the money to fund these talks.

Dr J. Samuel

Head of Mathematics


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