Primary Maths

Year 6 Royal Institution Masterclasses

Target Audience: year 6 students that are able and enthusiastic about maths are within easy reach of Exeter.

Format: five workshops at EMS that run approximately fortnightly from 1630 to 1730 in the autumn or spring term.

Aim: to have fun, provide inspiration and challenge, and help sustain enthusiasm for maths.

How to get involved: nominations for the 2019-20 programme are now closed – please email if you have missed the deadline.

Capacity: 100 ( four groups of 25)


Children enjoy lively sessions, which, through games, activities and investigations, develop their mathematical reasoning, problem solving and communication skills.

Within each class, children have the opportunity to explore the subject individually and in small groups, with help always close at hand. The children in a Masterclass always come from a number of schools in the area, so it’s also a great chance to make new friends.

How it works

Classes are free of charge and, owing to the popularity of the programme, we now run the programme in both the Autumn and Spring terms.

Students nominated should be interested and enthusiastic about Mathematics, as well as being from among the most mathematically able students in Year 6 at your school (though not necessarily as measured by test success).

How to join

Click here to nominate students for the 2019-20 programme! 

We cannot accept a student to participate unless signed forms are returned to teachers and subsequently passed to us.  Without this, students cannot be accepted for nomination. 

As the programme runs straight after-school, local schools are invited to join. However, should you be a teacher at a school outside the Exeter area without a nearer Ri host school and you would consider travelling to EMS for the course, do please get in contact:

Those from further away may find a masterclass series closer to home; an interactive map with the network of masterclasses is available here.

Students will be allocated a place in one of four groups. Schools will be advised which group their students have been allocated a place to once all nominations have been received.

Ri Primary Series A

Five Monday afternoon sessions from 1630 to 1730 (student registrations from 1615) as follows:

14th October 28th October
11th November 25th November
9th December

Ri Primary Series B

Five Thursday afternoon sessions from 1630 to 1730 (student registrations from 1615) as follows:

17th October 31st October
14th November 21st November
5th December

Ri Primary Series C

Five Monday afternoon sessions from 1630 to 1730 (student registrations from 1615) as follows:

20th January 3rd February
24th February 9th March
16th March

Ri Primary Series D

Five Thursday afternoon sessions from 1630 to 1730 (student registrations from 1615) as follows:

23rd January 6th February
27th February 12th March
19th March

Year 6 Poster Competition

Target Audience: all year 6 students from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Format: students create an A3 poster on a theme selected by us. The posters are judged by EMS students and winners announced at the end of the summer term.

Aim: to get creative with maths.

How to get involved: information is sent to all primary schools, timed perfectly to use post-SATS. Teachers can request to be added to our mailing list by emailing

Capacity: no limit at the moment!

Please note that the deadline for entries has passed – keep an eye on our website for details of the 2020 competition!

Produce an A3 poster with the title: Natural occurrences of the Fibonacci Sequence


The Fibonacci Sequence is a series of numbers that starts with a one or a zero, followed by a one, and follows the rule that the next number is always the sum of the previous two numbers:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, …

Each number in the Fibonacci Sequence is a Fibonacci Number.  The next Fibonacci Number in the sequence above is 89 (34 + 55 = 89).

The sequence is named after the Italian Mathematician called Leonardo or Pisa (his nickname was Fibonacci).  He wrote about it in a mathematics book and used it to describe how rabbits increase in number.  It can be used to make a physical pattern, is frequently found in nature and has other real life applications too.


Explore the natural occurrences of the Fibonacci sequence.

  • Find out about Fibonacci Tiling and Fibonacci Spirals, show how they link to the Fibonacci Sequence
  • Can you find examples of these in nature? (e.g. spirals on a pine cone or sunflower, the more obscure the better)
  • How does the Fibonacci sequence link to breeding rabbits?

Your poster should include:

  • Information about the Fibonacci Sequence, what it is and how it became well known
  • The results of your research into natural occurrences of the sequence
  • Some ideas of your own

Your poster will be given marks for:

  • Mathematical content
  • Creativity
  • Overall presentation

Natural Occurrences of the Fibonacci Sequence was the theme for this year’s poster competition, leading to some eye-catching designs from our primary school competitors. We were as delighted as ever by the quality of design, research and mathematics on display; well done to everyone that took part.

Marks were awarded for mathematical content (50%), creativity (25%) and overall presentation (25%).  After much wrangling and careful analysis, the following posters emerged triumphant:

First Place: Finn, Molly, Mimi and Alex, Silverton CoE Primary School, Devon

Second Place: Amelia, Esme and Daisy, Ermington Primary School, Devon

Third Place: Isla, Evan, Sofia and Georgia, Trythall Community Primary School, Cornwall

The winning poster impressed with a combination of detailed research and unique ideas which were well combined to create an interesting poster.  The poster included a good range of links to the Fibonacci sequence, including art, fir cones, flowers, rabbits, spirals, cabbages and honeybees.

The second place poster scored highly for its combination of clear explanations and eye-catching design. The use of a tree and its branches was particularly appreciated for its uniqueness.

The judges appreciated the effort that the third place team had gone to in getting out in nature and taking photos of the plant they found that linked to the Fibonacci sequence.  The inclusion of the angle-o-tron also raised a smile.

Special Mention to:

Evie-Grace, Erin, Millie and Eben from Chumleigh Primary School in Devon who narrowly missed out on a place in the top three.  The judges appreciated the level of information contained in your poster in addition to its attractive design.


Molly from Flushing Primary School in Cornwall deserves particular congratulations for her artistry, illustrating the formula for the Golden Ratio.

Thank you to all the students who submitted a poster for consideration and thank you to the teachers that supported them to part.  We hope they enjoyed exploring this creative area of mathematics, we certainly loved reviewing their work.

Triangle mountains