#090 Rob Eastaway: Estimation, perception of maths and the importance of haha

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This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly sponsored by White Rose Maths

To find out more about their new purposeful practice worksheets and their online CPD opportunities, just visit: whiterosemaths.com


On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast I spoke to Rob Eastaway.

I have been aware of Rob’s work ever since I started teaching. If I look behind me now, I have many of Rob’s books on my bookshelf. He writes in an engaging, entertaining and informative way, that stimulate me as a mathematician, and also provide plenty of fascinating fodder to use in the classroom. Rob is also one of the people behind the wonderful Maths Inspiration, which offers young students a glimpse into the role of maths in the wider world through a series of fun, informative live shows. And if that wasn’t enough, Rob is a prolific writer – although he would say compiler – of puzzles.

So, in a wide ranging conversation,we discussed the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • Rob describes his incredibly varied career, and how he ended up writing maths books and inspiring students
  • What are some of Rob’s favourite failures?
  • How is many people’s relationship with cricket like many people’s relationship with maths – and as a public warning, the first 20 minutes of the podcast are pretty cricket-heavy, but I promise there is a point, and I promise we also do move on!
  • We then delve deeper into students’ perception of maths, and why saying “maths is fun” is potentially not a good idea
  • Rob picks a few of his favourite anecdotes from two of his best-selling books – and there’s some advice for those of you looking for an edge in the game of love!
  • And then we turn to Rob’s new book – Maths on the Back of an Envelope, and use that as a stimulus to discuss the importance and complexities of estimation.
  • Rob is also a puzzle writer, so I ask how does Rob write puzzles – and he has a cracker for our listeners
  • And finally Rob reflects on what he wished he knew when he first started that he knows now

This was an incredibly fun interview for me to do. I was smiling throughout it, and my brain was whirling. As ever, I will reflect on my key takeaways at the end of the conversation.

Some of Rob’s books are as follows:
Why do buses come in threes?
How many socks make a pair?
Maths for Mum’s and Dad’s
What is a Googly?
Maths on the back of an envelope

Rob’s blog is here
The blog about the humour in maths is here
The Maths Inspiration website is here
You can find out more about the QAMA calculator here

Rob Eastaway’s Big 3:
1. Full fact
2. A maths teacher writes
3. The boring talks podcast

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

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