Mathbusters Day

mathbusters logo

Dates: 2018 – dates to be confirmed.

Cost per School  – £25 per School

Time: Up to 50 mins per session

Theses sessions work best as a competition between two schools, but still work well splitting the class in half.

Use the button below to book your preferred time (On Mathbusters Day). We also have a “flexible” time booking if you’re available any time.

Note we will endeavor to connect you at your preferred time but may need to be flexible depending on numbers taking part .

We also run this session on-demand at a time convenient with you, either throughout the day or as a twilight session contact to arrange.

On-line £25 per endpoint

What is the video conference about?

Based on the popular “Blockbuster” TV show this video conference has classes competing against each other answering questions based on past numeracy SATs papers.

Children from the Grange Primary School winners of a 2015 mathbusters session

Children from the Grange Primary School winners of a 2015 session

Age Range

The session is aimed at Y5 or Y6 pupils, based around a wide range of numeracy questions, (primarily focused at Level 4) in the style of those questions presented in SATs papers for KS2.

The session will last between 45 and 60 minutes.


To take part in this video conference you will need as a minimum a web cam with microphone and a speaker set connected to a computer running windows connected to the internet, and preferably connected to a projector and screen so the whole class can see the presenters . With this you can use the FREE video conferencing software Janet Desktop.  We can also connect to schools registered with JVCS on their usual video conferencing system or PVX software.  We will also be using our own system , a web tool to display the questions, allowing a number of laptops connected to the internet in each school to be linked and the questions delivered. The laptops will be controlled by us . Prior to the event we will run a connection tests over the VC, schools will also need to check they have access to the collaboration tool and that its not blocked off the network.

Teachers can click here to test your system.

If all ok you will see

What do I need to do to prepare for the video conference?

Four pupils at a time will be the ‘contestants’ in the quiz and so ideally a desk suitable for them to sit alongside each other should be placed centrally such that the webcam can see and hear them clearly. They will need access to paper, pens or pencils and a calculator.

It would be useful for the pupils who will appear on webcam to have stickers or nameplates with their names on. First names only please. 

Time permitting there will be three rounds played during the video conference, with each round having up to 16 questions. In general, the questions will get progressively more demanding as each round takes place. If we run out of the time the winner will be the highest scoring team.

Depending on the size of your class, you can have a different group of four pupils acting as ‘contestants’ in each round (smaller classes might want to keep the same pupils throughout the quiz). Remember, in general the questions will be harder in the second and third rounds so you may want to bear this in mind when choosing pupils. Please have pupils chosen beforehand for a quick transition.

The questions will be broadcast over the web so access to additional laptops on the internet will be required. You can have up to 10 laptops or mobile devices connected and will only be used to show the questions. The link you will need to use will be sent to you prior to the session. Each student can enter as a guest, first names only please.

Although the rest of the class, for practical reasons, will not be answering questions live on the webcam, they can still tackle all the questions in the quiz, and so ideally the video conference should take place in a classroom where all pupils will be able to sit at their desk. They will need access to paper, a pen or pencil and a calculator.

Alternately, you may wish to arrange the rest of the class differently, for instance they could sit on the floor with access to paper and a calculator in front of them, or have miniature whiteboards and markers to work on instead.

What will happen in the video conference?

The conference will link your school with another school, and is hosted by our very own quizmaster Professor Bob Bloggs, Professor of Very Difficult Mathematics from the University of Impossibly Hard Mathematical Problem Solving.

Once both schools have linked successfully, Professor Bob will take over and run the session, instructing both schools as necessary. You should not need to do anything else, other than general supervision of your pupils.

Schools will take part in up to three rounds of the quiz.

Each round of the quiz will involve schools choosing questions which will be presented on the screen. Pupils will need to work out the answers as quickly as possible, and raise their hands when they have an answer. Bob will choose one pupil to answer the question, with the opportunity for the question to be passed over to the other school if incorrect.

Bob will provide quick explanations to most questions, and for more demanding questions will occasionally show in detail how the answer can be worked out.

Some questions will be directed at one particular school to answer first, other questions are open to the quickest pupil from both schools. The format of the quiz has been designed to ensure questions are shared out between the two competing schools such that one school will not be able to dominate the conference.