11:30am saw us watching the carpark for the immanent arrival of a Merton Community Transport mini-bus which (we hoped!) had stopped at Wimbledon Chase Primary School to collect our visitors. Thirteen pupils and two members of staff were on their way to sample the delights of a mathematics-based day with AFC Wimbledon which we hoped would be both fun and instructive!
Jim had set up the back bar for us and we had hung flags on both sides of the room-divider in preparation. Not just decoration, they were also to form part of the first activity...
|Yellow team's table with Crewe programme, pencil and flagged clipboard|
To our relief (and pretty much bang on time) the Merton Community Transport mini-bus turned up and before we knew it a crocodile of excited faces were filing into the bar. They made their way to the seats on the side of the room and after some basic introductions we had our very own FA Cup draw as each pupil came up to find which team they would be on, Yellow or Blues. Once they drew their counters they made their way over to their team table to bet by their managers; Ms Wilson was manager of the Blues, ably assisted by Eileen Samuelson as her chief coach. Ms Morris was manager of the Yellows, less ably assisted by myself as her right-hand man (when I wasn't doing something else!).
|Five minutes before arrival - Team tables are all in place!|
First exercise - To get everyone's minds working and focused, the first activity of the day was an observation test. Everyone had five minutes to look around inspecting the school flags on display. After time was up they returned to their team tables and the flags were pinned up to remove temptation and I asked the teams ten questions -one of which was 'On the Dundonald school flag, what was the womble standing on?' (can you work out the answer?)
Although they recorded their own answers they had to agree a consensus and feed their team answers back to their manager. Answers were provided and Blues won by 7 to 6. In keeping with the event, Blue team were awarded the first goal of the day
1 - 0 to the Blues!
Second activity - We used the projector and a prepared powerpoint for our next activity, which was based on a league table of games between four London teams; Chelsea, Millwall, Fulham and Wimbledon. Three rounds of games with three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. We followed their fortunes through three weeks of exciting games and at the end..... well revealing the winners might well spoil the surprise!
This activity proved quite a challenge and by the time we had worked through it we were ready for our packed lunch.
|Getting to grips with league tables. Possibly harder than times tables!|
Lunch It was a lovely day, so we took advantage of the laptop rests in the press area of the Main Stand to eat our lunch which was very nice. Having finished, we returned to the back bar and all gathered around to watch last season's nerve-racking Luton penalty shoot-out, which doesn't get much easier to watch how ever often you see it! By the time it was all over the children certainly knew who Seb Brown was and were all ready for our third exercise. But first....
|Yellows rule OK?|
...Phil stopped by for a special treat!
Taking time off of work, Phil opened up the main control room for us to go up and have a look at all the cameras and to hear what is involved in making sure everyone is kept safe on a matchday. He also answered questions and gave us a tour of his room!
|Phil going through his matchday process|
Third activity Into the changing room where we had a look around and then split up to have a go at the problems associated with each player. How many goals has Jack Midson scored in all competitions? Exactly how much dried fruit does Gareth Gwillim eat at half time (and why does he not eat his prunes?), how many songs can Sammy Moore listen to on his iPod in the time it takes him to get changed? All these and more were to be revealed. The questions are all laminated so with luck we can build up a range of problems of all levels of complexity over time.
|The strikers end of the room, with Christian Jolley on the left|
|Sam and Gareth - possibly a little too much space between them...|
Add all the scores together to get a team total and guess what, Yellows won! Goal to Yellows making the final score 2-2 and everyone's honour was satisfied.
We returned to the back bar where everyone collected their things and were presented with a certificate and a handshake. We hadn't had time to do two of the exercises so everyone took their Crewe programme and Ms Wilson took the questions about it to do in class. She also took the simple feedback forms for the pupils to tell us what they enjoyed (or not!) about their day and we'll be collecting them in the near future.
It was a real pleasure to meet the children and it felt as though they had really enjoyed themselves. We had learnt a lot about timing and levels of complexity for our exercises and we are all looking forward to our next visitors. If you think your school might benefit, why not ask them to contact us. It won't cost them anything and we can tailor the day to their needs!
Many thanks to Eileen, Phil and Jim for all their help and special thanks to Ms Wilson and Morris for taking time out to visit us!