Blackpool Sixth maths teacher Rob Fisher will feature as part of the BBC podcast series, ‘Teach me a lesson’, hosted by DJ Greg James and his partner, the journalist Bella Mackie. The aim of the series is to provide an insight into how fascinating school subjects can be for both young and old, especially when they are taught in a highly engaging way.
Rob, who is currently the acting head of the Maths Department, was approached by the BBC to deliver the maths episode after he was nominated by former Blackpool Sixth student, Callum Wardle, who now studies maths at Oxford University. Rob is a previous winner of the ‘Oxford University Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award’.
The episode featuring Rob is due to be aired later this month. It will focus on the topic of ‘randomness’, challenging our commonly held beliefs about what is random and what isn’t. He will cover everyday topics such as picking lottery numbers and shuffling our Spotify playlists to delve into the maths behind randomness and ‘chance’.
Rob said, ‘I chose this topic because I thought it was a good one for a wide audience as everyone can relate to the kinds of situations when we think something is happening randomly. The truth is though that we often over-estimate the amount of randomness that there is in life, so I’ll be dealing a little bit with psychology as well as maths.”
Rob says that putting together the episode was a challenge as he generally likes to make his lessons as visual as possible – something that is clearly not possible in a radio format. He does hope that the episode will help de-mystify the subject for those without a strong mathematical background. He feels that statistics, which is taught as an A level subject in its own right at Blackpool Sixth, is often the best place to start when showing the relevance of maths to everyone’s lives as statistical thinking crops up all the time in areas such as healthcare, finance, politics, sport and all kinds of data analysis. “If we want to understand risks, such as at the moment our risk of catching Covid-19, we really need to be able to understand what the statistics mean.”