The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has today launched a ground-breaking new numeracy campaign, Bullseye Maths, to help improve numeracy levels amongst Key Stage 2 schoolchildren.
Studies show that children’s numeracy levels have been affected throughout the pandemic as school closures meant many young pupils’ education was disrupted at such a crucial time in their development.
As a sport that requires players to use numbers, the PDC has launched this maths programme using darts as a fun and inclusive way to help children improve their basic numeracy skills.
Bullseye Maths encourages children to play with maths through an in-school activity programme and a dedicated learning section on the PDC website via pdc.tv/maths. Here, children and their families will be able to access the online darts-based maths game, Mathlete, download fun maths activity sheets to use with a dartboard and watch videos from PDC players and referees talking about their experiences with maths growing up.
Bullseye Maths was launched with world number four Michael Smith returning to his old school, Broad Oak Community Primary School in St Helens, to take part in a darts-based maths class with 12 schoolchildren, boys and girls, aged between 9-11.
The launch comes on the eve of the Liverpool leg of the Cazoo Premier League Darts, which will take place on Thursday at the M&S Bank Arena, and is the first of a series of school visits that will follow PDC events around the country.
Talking about returning to his old school, Michael Smith, said:
“Growing up, numbers weren’t my thing. I really didn’t enjoy them at all, and always got so nervous going into maths lessons. I hated the feeling of not understanding the lessons and it really knocked my confidence.
As soon as I started playing darts at 14 years old, and learning the different numbers, checkouts and ways of playing, my confidence began to grow.
“I wish I knew then what I know now and that I had started to play darts much younger using the scoresheets. My son’s maths is unreal, he loves playing darts with me and enjoys the numbers side of the game. He was marking games at four years old, and that’s what darts does for you; it’s not only a sport people enjoy playing, it can help you with your numbers and also, like me, with your confidence.
“It has been a fantastic experience to return to my old school and launch Bullseye Maths. It’s a great initiative and hopefully, by using darts as a fun way to grow confidence with numbers, it will help benefit children the way darts helped me.”
Talking about the initiative, PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter said:
“For many people, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be long-lasting. As a sport that requires a degree of numerical ability, when we heard about the impact that had been seen with children’s numeracy we wanted to see what we could do to support young children and families with maths.
“We are therefore delighted to launch Bullseye Maths, and we hope the games, tips, tricks and player stories will help make learning maths fun and inspire youngsters to believe in their ability.
“A dartboard is like a big puzzle with a number of different combinations. It’s up to you how you get to the needed number, and that’s a lot of the fun.
By playing darts and unlocking the combinations, you are doing simple maths and the more you play, the easier numbers and patterns will come to you.”
PDC President Barry Hearn OBE added:
“I’m incredibly proud of the way we have grown this great sport over the last 20 years, and even more proud of the way we are now using it to help children and families improve one of the most important and basic skills in life, maths.
“Sport teaches us all a lot of life lessons. It teaches respect for an opponent, communication with team-mates or officials, drive and determination to push yourself to be the best you can be, and in darts there’s the added benefit that it can be so beneficial with maths.”
Talking about his own experiences with maths, two-time World Champion, Gary Anderson, said:
“I struggled a bit at school but then I took up darts and I found playing very easy, but my biggest problem was counting.
“Darts has certainly helped my maths, it’s just like a big calculator, and there are so many fun games you can play to help learn your numbers and help your maths.”
The PDC has been working closely with Maths on Toast, the family maths charity, to create the webpage that will meet the needs of Key Stage 2 pupils.
In addition to the benefits to schoolchildren, the charity explains that government statistics suggest that 49% of the working age population have the numeracy level expected of a primary school-aged child
(1); and that fear of maths or ‘maths anxiety’ is a real and debilitating emotional reaction to maths
(2). They strongly advocate that ‘playing’ with numbers as part of fun activities and everyday life, is key to a positive attitude towards maths.
Lucy Davis, Maths on Toast, CEO, said: “Maths on Toast is pleased to support the PDC’s Bullseye Maths initiative – darts is a perfect example of how maths is part of everyday interests. Exploring the score combinations is all part of the fun and builds a confident, can-do attitude to maths.
Taking your time and exploring how to work it out your own way encourages maths mastery – a deeper understanding of how numbers work together.”
The Mathlete game has been developed by GoDartsPro, and the activity sheets by the Room 180 Academy, which is linked to the PDC’s junior darts partners, the Junior Darts Corporation and based at Nottingham College.
The activity sheets will also be used as part of a nationwide schools tour which is being planned to run alongside the Cazoo Premier League and other PDC televised tournaments during 2022.
The school visits will feature PDC players and representatives from Room 180 Academy running darts-based maths games using child-friendly darts and dartboards.
Lead Image: PDC
Useful notes and information:
(1) The Essentials of Numeracy: A New Approach to Making the UK Numerate
(2) Nuffield Foundation ‘Understanding Maths Anxiety’ 2013 https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/project/understanding-mathematics-anxiety
Maths on Toast, the family maths charity, on a mission to help everyone in the UK feel positive about maths
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