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YouTube maths hero Eddie Woo explains the maths of the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House has launched a new video series, Maths of the Sydney Opera House, developed in collaboration with Eddie Woo, award-winning maths teacher and star of the popular YouTube channel Wootube.

The four-part series unveils the innate creativity of maths by using the construction of the Opera House and design solutions of its architect Jørn Utzon to teach mathematical concepts including geometry, acoustics and tessellation.

The episodes, approximately five minutes in length, are accompanied by worksheets for students in years 5-10 and explain the science behind the Opera House’s construction through an educational lens. Designed to deepen students’ understanding of how art and creativity intersect with all disciplines of STEM, each episode also features guests who have consulted on the design of the building and even worked directly with Utzon himself. 

Eddie Woo says:

The Sydney Opera House is a modern example of how profound mathematical concepts lie beneath the most aesthetic experiences we have in the real world. I’m delighted to be working with the Opera House to help the next generation of our community to see and appreciate this building with fresh eyes, as well as find surprising ways to be creative with maths.”

 Sydney Opera House Head of Children, Families and Creative Learning Tamara Harrison says: “I’m delighted that the digital team have collaborated with Eddie Woo on this project to capture the imagination of our youngest audiences and to show there’s a home for creativity in every part of the building.

With a new centre for creativity now under construction and due to open next year, we’re looking forward to exploring more ways we can explore learning  connections between creativity, maths, science, technology and engineering through the lens of the amazing Sydney Opera House building.”

With over 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Eddie Woo has revolutionised the way that maths can be taught with his accessible and engaging approach to teaching.

Currently Leader for Mathematics Growth in the NSW Department of Education, Woo collaborates with other educators to engage and inspire students across the state. He has also published a number of books on maths and science and appears on ABC ME as the host of Teenage Boss.

 Maths of the Sydney Opera House features four episodes:

·         Acoustics – Mathematics to Make Your Ears Ring, released Wednesday 14 October, deconstructs the science of acoustics and sound and features Mitchell Allen, Acoustics Lead from engineering firm Arup, whose founder worked directly with Utzon on the structure of the Opera House.

·         The Purity of Geometry, to be released Wednesday 21 October, describes how geometry and Utzon’s ‘Spherical Solution’ resolved the construction dilemma that the arched sails posed. Peter Mould, former NSW Government Architect, explains how maths was a key component in enabling the unique design of the House.

·         Calculating an Impossible Number, to be released Wednesday 28 October, investigates how maths was used to calculate the exterior tiling of the sails and features Ken Kobayashi, a BIM Integration Specialist who has digitally reconstructed the Sydney Opera House using modern computer technology.

·         Nature Inspiring Design, released Wednesday 4 November, delves into how Utzon took inspiration from elements in the natural environment. The episode features Richard Johnson, an architect who worked directly with Utzon to ensure the Sydney Opera House could reflect its harbourside location.

 Maths of the Sydney Opera House is part of the Opera House’s Digital Creative Learning program, which provides free, accessible learning opportunities for school students year-round.

 The first two episodes are available now, with new episodes to be released each Wednesday.

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