Bath Rugby players were put to the test this week as they swapped tackling opposition on the field of play for tackling algebra and long division in the classroom.
Semesa Rokoduguni, Henry Thomas and Sam Nixon visited St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Writhlington, Radstock, as part of the innovative and engaging Aviva Tackling Numbers programme.
Run in partnership with Premiership Rugby, the programme aims to make learning about numbers and financial education more fun and rewarding for seven to nine-year-olds.
It is delivered by the 12 Premiership clubs across England and integrates interactive classroom maths sessions with practical, number-based rugby games.
As part of their visit, the Bath trio put their knowledge to the test against parents in a quiz made up of rugby-themed maths problems created by children on the programme.
With quiz-master and Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood helping the children mark the answers, tighthead prop Thomas admitted his competitive side quickly took over during the quiz.
“All the questions had a story and were rugby based and some in our group struggled, especially Semesa Rokoduguni – he told me they don’t do maths in Fiji,” he joked.
“The programme is about enjoying maths and linking it with rugby and it’s an awesome way to incorporate physical activity as they also do number-based rugby games.
“Will Greenwood was leading the quiz between us and the parents and he did a great job involving the kids. The questions the kids came up with were not simple.
“I went into it thinking it would be nice and chilled out but my competitive side soon took over and I wanted to win. Thankfully, Sam Nixon was very good and knew his stuff.
“It’s so important that the kids enjoy what they’re doing as you want them to be able to continue their interest in maths and physical activity after they finish school.”
One of the core aims of the programme, which can be downloaded for free online, is to put in place foundations for financial literacy in later life by using rugby-themed scenarios to increase children’s understanding of number skills and boost their confidence.
It also helps them to become fitter through tag rugby, with community coaches from Bath Rugby leading a session at the school.
And the practical side certainly appeals more to Bath winger Rokoduguni, who said the effectiveness of the programme was demonstrated by the difficulty of the children’s quiz questions.
“It’s been a couple of years since I have done maths so I was a bit rusty and I said to Henry (Thomas) that I think I’ll stick to rugby,” said the Bath Rugby winger.
“The questions were really tricky and the fact that they were rugby related made it really interesting for the kids, but we all struggled with the difficulty of some of them.
“It really helps to make maths more interesting and by introducing the rugby aspect as it relates the questions to things in everyday life.
“The kids also enjoyed the competitive element side of it, especially with the tag rugby session, which also encourages them to be more active.”
To learn more about Aviva Tackling Numbers and download the resources, click here