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What’s It All About? – Maths in the Animal Kingdom

What’s It All About? – Maths in the Animal Kingdom

Join us in this awesome episode of What’s It All About? as we discover the mathematical marvels hidden within the animal world with multi-award-winning children’s author Colin Stuart.

Imagine bees constructing their intricate hives using the power of hexagons, the ingenious cicadas emerging in cycles of prime numbers, and the symmetrical beauty that nature weaves throughout the animal kingdom.

Whether you’re a student, a teacher, or simply someone intrigued by the synergy of math and nature, this talk is your gateway to a whole new perspective. Get ready to be amazed, entertained, and enlightened as you delve into the enchanting world where mathematics meets the wild.

Colin explores more in the video below and if you think your school would be interested please get in touch.

Find out more in our latest episode below.


Transcript summary below:

Hello, I’m Colin Stuart. I write books about science and mathematics. I also visit schools to discuss these subjects. Today, I’ll share details about my presentation on “Maths in the Animal Kingdom.”

The focus of this talk is to explore how mathematics is present in the animal kingdom. Many different animals display mathematical expertise. For instance, bees have figured out that hexagons are the most efficient shape for building beehives. Cicadas, another insect, have life cycles of 13 or 17 years, both of which are prime numbers. We also delve into prime numbers in this context, along with topics like shapes, sequences, symmetry, and tessellation. These concepts are part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum, but kids might not have considered them from this perspective before.

The intended audience for this talk is Key Stage 2, primarily aimed at primary school students. The goal is to spark their enthusiasm for mathematics and demonstrate its fun and relevance in our daily lives. While giving these talks, I can see the wonder in their expressions as they encounter these ideas for the first time. This is the most rewarding aspect for me. While writing books is enjoyable, nothing beats the experience of being in a school setting, addressing either a class or an entire assembly. Witnessing students engaging with these concepts and teachers sharing their positive feedback about previously uninterested students getting excited about math is incredibly gratifying.

I’ve always had a passion for mathematics, and I believe it’s an underappreciated subject. Through talks like these, we can inspire kids to see math in a new light. As for the format, the talk typically lasts 40 to 45 minutes, followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. It can be conducted in person, where I visit the school and speak to all of Key Stage 2 together, or virtually through platforms like Zoom. Even in virtual settings, interactivity and questions remain a vital part of the experience.

There is a cost associated with these talks, as this is my profession. The exact price depends on several factors, such as whether it’s an in-person or virtual talk, the number of talks required, and the location for travel purposes. To get an accurate quote, the best approach is to reach out and share your specific requirements.

Here’s some feedback I’ve received from students and teachers:

“I realised that math is truly a part of everyday life.”
“Colin managed to explain a lot of math in a short time without making it complicated.”

My next project involves finalising a book about aliens, focusing on our attempts to discover alien planets in space and understanding their similarities to Earth. Although we haven’t encountered aliens yet, we can speculate about their appearance based on the nature of their home planet.

If you’re interested in learning more about the talk, feel free to visit my website: There, you’ll find information about my school talks, along with a contact form to inquire about costs and availability. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.