This was an online event for Open Challenge
entrants and their teachers.
Attendees joined the event, then had fun navigating a virtual venue,
challenging themselves with a variety of mathematical puzzles, finding
their way through different mazes, and finally enjoying a presentation
of the solutions and prizes.
The timing for the evening was roughly as follows
- 19:00 Doors open
- 19:15 Explanation of the site and puzzles
- 20:15 Presentation of sample solutions
- 20:30 Presentation of prizes
- 20:55 Evening closes.
Prizewinners were able to have photos taken, which were displayed
during the presentation. This was entirely voluntary.
With the current COVID situation, it was decided not to have an
"in-person" event for the Open Challenge Prize Giving Evening.
Instead, an on-line event was arranged using the "Gather Town"
A 2D "Cartoon-Like" space was created with puzzles, mazes, and
an auditorium for the presentation of the Sample Solutions and
the announcement of the winners.
The evening started at 19:00 and officially closed at 21:00,
with the sample solutions presented at 20:20, and the winners
being announced at 20:35.
During the initial 20 minutes or so many of the attendees were
simply running around in the space. Several needed prompting
to go and explore, despite the instructions. If this sort of
event is run again we might want to have an ante-room that is
effectively bare except for a door on one side, and attended by
someone simply announcing:
- Go through the door, press "X" on anything that glows, and explore the puzzles.
Perhaps something more could be done, and suggestions would be
Also during this time the prize winners were found and asked
if they would consent to having a screen shot. Most did, with a
few declining, and a few not having cameras. These screen shots
were then shown during the announcement of the winners.
Tony Carter presented the Sample Solutions, with Colin Wright
operating a Screen Share of the slides, and Gaynor Bahan gave
a short introduction, handed over to Tony, and then came back
to read out the lists of winners. Any available screen-shots
were shown as a Screen Share by Colin Wright.
The evening was generally regarded as a success. Records show
that most of those attending were attempting puzzles and mazes
right up to, and some after, the presentations, suggesting that
they were engaged and active throughout the evening.
Our thanks to all who attended and assisted:
- 31 people register via EventBrite and subsequently attend
- Eight people register via EventBrite but not attend
- Two subsequently shared a single connection and registered;
- Three were certificate winners;
- Two were other students;
- One was a teacher.
- Ten people who attended without registering via EventBrite
- Six were assistants;
- One was a parent;
- Two were students who contacted us after registration closed;
- One was actually a pair of students sharing a connection.
There were 21 other students on our lists who neither registered nor
attended. Of these:
- One was a fourth place winner;
- Three were Highly Commended;
- Seventeen (the remainder) had won certificates.
There were 34 students present, including 11 out of 15 prizewinners
and 11 out of 31 certificate winners.
It is to be noted that in some cases there will have been other
"attendees", parents or other interested individuals, attending
by "shoulder surfing". We have no way of knowing how many such
attendees there might have been.
Comments in the chat were uniformly positive, with many attendees
saying that it had been fun, and saying thank you.
The official request for feedback resulted in 12 responses. One
has been analysed separately, the other 11 are summarised as follows.
Question 1: "Please rate the evening overall."
Nine responses scored this as a maximum 5, and two as a 4.
Average 4.8 out of 5.
Question 2: "Please rate the ease of use of the Gather Town platform."
Eight responses scored this as a maximum 5, and three as 4.
Average 4.7 out of 5.
Question 3: "Would you recommend attending the Prize Evening to others?"
All responded "Yes"
Question 4: "What did you particularly like?"
In alphabetical order:
- "how the questions were set out and how easy it was to access them"
- "I liked the fact it was like a game and we all had our own avatars!"
- "I liked the puzzles and ease of using the avatars"
- "interactive aspect, all staff were very helpful, mazes were super fun"
- "Running around solving the puzzles and mazes"
- "The challenges"
- "The dancing"
- "The fact that it was interactive really intrigued me."
- "the mazes"
- "The puzzles were fun to solve."
Question 5: "What could have been better?"
- "Better instructions at the beginning"
- "I believe that the evening could have been better if there were some hints for the maze's."
- "If the questions and answers were closer to each other so you know where to go when submitting your answer"
- "I got stuck in the maze but that was my own fault"
- "I think we got too long to do the puzzles and stuff, it did get a bit boring after i'd done the puzzles and the maze"
- "More activities like the jumping maze"
- "There was quite a long wait between the start of the event and the presentation with the solutions and winners - perhaps it could have been a little sooner?"
- "What the correct answers for the challenges were and the correct rules for the maze"
The take-away from this is that the timing could have been different,
perhaps with 30 minutes of puzzles instead of an hour, and then go
back to the puzzles after the prize-giving.
Some wanted more instructions, and some wanted the answers. Otherwise
this seems to be extremely mild criticism.
The omitted response
There was one response omitted from the above analysis, because it is
significantly different, very much an outlier. It's from a teacher.
Here is that response:
- "Please rate the evening overall."
- "Please rate the ease of use of the Gather Town platform."
- "Would you recommend attending the Prize Evening to others?"
- "What did you particularly like?"
- Answer: "The puzzles were good."
"What could have been better?"
- "One of the mazes was very difficult/glitchy.
- It was not very satisfying to play with no feedback that this is how it was meant to work.
- Also, the pressure of having to turn on your camera to be seen by lots of strangers was a little too much.
- I appreciate the concept, but in reality no teenagers, let alone teachers, will want their cameras on.
- It is very different to a real life situation where you might be with a parent/friend and therefore feel more comfortable walking around a new space with new people.
- It was fantastic that an event was put on, however.
- Thank you very much for the time and effort that went into the evening and thank you for the certificates/prizes, which have come through for students at my school."
This is a real mixed bag. Clearly this teacher's answers are very
much at odds with those of the others, wanting more certainty and
reassurance. Interesting that a maze named "The Truly Evil Maze"
is described as "very difficult".
The point(s) about the camera are definitely worth noting.
An analysis of the puzzles set is available to members on request.
There were ten puzzles and three mazes. A brief summary of the
- Puzzle 1 was answered successfully by 31 people
- ... and unsuccessfully by only one person
- Puzzle 5 was answered successfully by 2 people
- ... and unsuccessfully by 24 people
- Puzzle 10 was not attempted by 13 people
- Puzzle 1 was attempted by everyone.
The Truly Evil Maze was only completed by two people, while both
the Jumping Maze and the One Way Maze were completed by fourteen
people, albeit not the same 14.
There is no record of how many made unsuccessful attempts.
C D Wright