Escaping the fear of maths

1,500 pupils take part in new escape room designed to help them overcome their anxiety about maths

Oubliette – from the French for ‘dungeon’ – allows participants to solve a series of problems, each with an underlying mathematical principle, in embodied and collaborative ways, with the aim of making maths fun.

Following the success of the soft launch in June, the project welcomed schools from across the North West and beyond, with 1,500 children taking part in the attraction already.

In teams of up to seven, pupils worked their way around each of the eight themed challenge ‘rooms’ – stopping at a 1970s disco, an alien planet, in Ancient Egypt, and more.

Now the attraction is set to open its doors to the public over the summer, welcoming families and available for corporate hire for team building events.

Dr Mark Peace, Head of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University and the project director behind Oubliette, said: “Far too many people feel alienated from maths and feel that they can’t do it – the aim of the Oubliette is to undo negative associations and put people back in touch with their innate mathematicality. We want every participant – from young children to math-fearing adults – to feel engaged and enthused with the challenges, and the mathematical principles that underpin it.”

We want every participant – from young children to math-fearing adults – to feel engaged and enthused with the challenges, and the mathematical principles that underpin it – Dr Mark Peace, Manchester Metropolitan University  

Advertisement

Dr Peace drew inspiration for the installation from research taking place at Manchester Metropolitan University, particularly his collaborations with Professor Ricardo Nemirovsky, whose work looks at the interplay between mathematics, embodied cognition and affect. “One of the really interesting things about this project was the way it created ‘entanglements’ in which students could engage with research in authentic ways, as a platform to inspire outreach and impact work.”

Developed and delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University, the installation is the result of a nine month, cross-university live project which spanned most of the university’s faculties, each contributing in different ways. Art, English, Sociology, Engineering, Education, Events Management and Marketing students all contributed to the project during the designing, planning and building phases.

Mark added: “The energy behind Oubliette and the work put into making the project great has come from so many places. It has been a real collaborative effort, but the varied talents of our undergraduate community – from so many disciplines – is a real cause for celebration.”

For more information and to book tickets, visit the university’s online store.

Advertisement

Independent Education Live

Five hours of live discussions with influential heads addressing lockdown plans, diversity, nutrition education strategies and cross-sector partnerships.

(LAST FREE TICKETS REMAINING)