Welcome to the Parallel Universe

Be challenged, get curious, do maths. Stretch your brain every week.

Introduction for Teachers

The Parallel Universe offers two great ways for your students encounter some brilliant ideas, stretch their brains and explore the wild west of mathematics:

  • weekly web-based maths sheets, known as Parallelograms.
  • weekly online Parallel Circles.

Importantly, everything in the Parallel Universe is entirely free, both to schools and students.

Parallel maths circles (age guide 10 to 16)

A maths circle is a group of students and a mentor who come together to explore the mathematical universe. Maths circles help to build curiosity, creativity, logic and tenacity. Face to face maths circles exist all over the world, from California to Mumbai, and from Iceland to South Africa, but they are hard to find and are often expensive... however now your students can join the biggest maths circle in the world for free, every week.

We have different Parallel Circles maths circles for different age groups, and each one is led by a so-called Ring Master, someone who is well-known for being a brilliant maths teacher.

Best of all, our maths circles are 100% interactive, so students won’t just watch mathematics, you will actually do mathematics. They can answer questions via polls, send us answers in the chat and ask us questions, all live, all in real time.

Parallelogram Puzzles (age guide 11 to 16)

Each Thursday at 3pm (UK time), students will have access to a new set of online mathematical challenges tailored to their age – each set of challenges is called a Parallelogram. We have been offering these for five years, and students have completed over 1 million Parallelograms.

Each Parallelogam is set by Simon Singh, author of several best-selling books. There is a separate Parallelogram for Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 students.

It should take just 15 to 30 minutes to complete each Parallelogram.

As soon as students hit the SUBMIT button, their Parallelogram will be marked, so they will be able to see their score and the full solutions.

As you can tell, we have tried to make everything as easy as possible for teachers, as we realise you are already very busy.

Certificates and diplomas

Students can earn certificates each year for completing Parallelograms and attending maths circles, and when they graduate (usually at age 16) they will receive their graduation diploma, which will document everything they have achieved in the Parallel Universe.

How do teachers make the most of the Parallel Universe?

We recommend that you use Parallel in the following way.

Parallel Circles and Parallelograms are free and open to all students, but we have found that there is generally a better uptake if teachers select a group of keen and ambitious students, with the expectation that they will complete the Parallelograms and attend our Parallel Circles (almost) every week, i.e., it is part of their regular maths routine.

Students can create their own accounts if they visit parallel.org.uk - they can sign up for free using their personal email, school email or a parent email address.

Alternatively, here is a short note that you can send to parents and students that explains how and why they should get involved.

Next, we encourage teachers to create a Teacher Account, which is quick, easy and free. You will then receive your Teacher Code, which you should share with your students. If they enter this code into their Parallel profile, you will be able to use your Dashboard to follow their progress, completion rates and scores.

So, why not give it a try. Creating a teacher account is quick, easy and free.

Simon Singh Simpsons Avatar