Roman paw-marks pose a maths problem in Bath

How do you make Maths exciting? Link it to Classics of course!

This is Bath

For many students, maths can be thought of as a subject with no tangible use in the real world.

But one teacher at a Bath school is trying to change all that.

Head of maths at Kingswood School Garrod Musto is so passionate about his subject that he decided to turn his pupils into history detectives.

He challenged a group of Year 8 students to use maths to find out the size of a dog which had left its pawprints on a tile at the Roman Baths.

Mr Musto said: “I have been encouraging former pupils who use maths in the workplace to come back and speak to the students about it.”

One of these was archaeologist Leslie Cram, who told Mr Musto about a similar project he had done elsewhere.

The curator at the Roman Baths loaned the school a floor tile with paw prints on so the children could work out the size and weight of the dog which left the impression almost 2,000 years ago.

Pupils collected data from different breeds of modern dogs, to work out the relationship between paw size and animal size, and also researched the species of dogs which would have lived in Britain during Roman times.

Mr Musto even visited Bath Cats and Dogs Home to collect paw prints of some of the dogs on wet clay slabs.

The students’ findings revealed that the dog who left paw prints in the Roman Baths was approximately 70cm – just over 2ft tall – and weighed around 31kg.

But the real aim of the project was for the pupils to understand how maths could be exciting and fun and have use in the world of work.

Mr Musto said: “The project was really about opening their eyes to how important maths is in everyday life. I had some good feedback from the pupils, who said it was really interesting and productive.”

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