Maths Week Newsletter Vol 6.  06-05-20

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As we head into Summer, we continue with our range of activities, puzzles and resources. These activities are selected to be suitable for the home learning environment and there is a preview of what's coming out this week below. We have a new section Teacher's Choice which features recommendations from teachers. 
This week in advance of International Women in Maths Day, we celebrate Irish Canadian Mathematician Cathleen Morawetz who died on this day in 2017 and the first female Field's Medalist, Maryam Mirzakhani. We also have a brand new Beyond the Textbook section from regular contributor Douglas Buchanan. We are also featuring a new resource every day through our social media and website. We hope the material delivered via the web and social media will be a help to many. See below for a taste of what's to come this week. Please share this newsletter with parents.

In this weeks Maths at Home Newsletter

Preview of Daily Maths Activities
What's On
Daily Schedule
Teacher's Choice
Beyond the Textbook
During April we had over 11,000 unique visitors to our website from many parts of the world, and our Targetboards have received over 20,000 answers. Our newsletter circulation has grown to over 9,000 subscribers - this is our sixth weekly newsletter (with a break for Easter). We now have 6,188 followers on twitter and in last 28 days we have 283,000 impressions.
Go to
Maths Week Ireland Daily Schedule

8am Targetboards open
9am Activity of the Day
12pm Maths Challenge
5pm Maths at Home info
7pm & 7:30pm Daily Maths Puzzle

See details for programmes here
Preview of Maths activities scheduled for this week:
This week our hands-on maths activities range from arithmetic and measure to logic and problem-solving puzzles that will have the whole family engaged! We would love to see how you recreate these rich mathematical resources using objects you have in your home.
Follow us on social media and share your creations.
All the details and instructions will go live on at 6pm the previous day.

Daily Maths Activities

We bring you a new maths activity of the day each morning on our Maths at Home Activity page. 
Today’ Activity:
Coin Puzzles are a popular type of recreational maths that like the matchstick puzzles develop a student’s logic and reasoning skills. This type of hands-on problem encourages participants to get stuck in and make mistakes without fear of failure or looking silly. These problems are designed so that the solution is not immediately obvious. 

The classic Towers of Hanoi puzzle uses three posts and five disks of different sizes. You may have such an arrangement in your home as these are popular toys for toddlers helping develop motor skills and coordination. If not, you can improvise. Tomorrow we will feature this fascinating mathematical problem that can be played as a game by younger children, but leads to interesting mathematics for the secondary school pupil.  Like many of our activities, this is  also an excellent exercise for developing problem solving skills.


Magic Square. Cut out numbers from 1 to 9 and arrange them into the grid so that the sum of each row, column and diagonal is 15. 


Sticky numbers: Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?  

e.g 10, 15, 21, 4,5  

Follow us on social media each day for updates:
Facebook: @MathsWeek
Twitter: @mathsweek
Instagram: MathsIreland
LinkedIn: Maths Week Ireland
Get in touch, give feedback, why not share your ideas and resources?

Teacher's Choice

In this new section we present recommendations from teachers. First up is Maria Aylward. If you would like to contribute here please email us at
Free offer: Super Sleuth Maths Problem Solving book for 5th class
by Maria Aylward 

Super Sleuth covers practical real life problem solving activities based on all strands of the 5th class maths programme (Suitable for 10 - 12 year olds). Maria Aylward is a primary teacher in Waterford  It is available online as a free ebook during this time:  (Special thanks to Maria Aylward)
The solutions are also provided on this website and there are some lovely maths trails suitable for 5th and 6th class (10 - 12 year olds) on the site as well.
This book provides great 'real life' maths problem solving activities which help the children see how various aspects of their maths programme are so applicable to everyday mathematical scenarios that arise in our daily lives.

Maria Aylward is a teacher at St Delan's Boys National School in Waterford.
Maria recommends a website by Jenny Eather:    "It gives a great explanation and visual examples of mathematical terminology e.g. words like perpendicular, parallel, rhombus, variable, equation etc.  
This website is a great reference website for students of all ages and parents when it comes to understanding specific maths vocabulary. "

More Resources

Mathematics Ireland Blog recently featured mathematicians with connections to County Laois. Link here:

The 18th bi-monthly regional Irish focused blog highlights mathematical people associated with Laois (formerly Queen's County), following on Donegal, Wexford, Armagh, Limerick, Westmeath, Mayo, Belfast, Wicklow, Kerry, Galway, Monaghan, Tipperary, Sligo, Carlow, Down, Cork and Cavan.

If anyone has any names to contribute to upcoming blogs please make contact. Upcoming blogs: June: Londonderry/ Derry; August: Meath; October Leitrim; December: Dublin (before 1900)

RTE and BBC continue Home learning Programmes.

Tune in to RTE Learn each day this week at 11am on RTÉ Junior (RTÉ2). Each featured video has an accompanying fun worksheet which can be downloaded from RTE’s Home School Hub

BBC Bitesize is a free online study support resource designed to help with learning, revision and homework!

Bitesize provides support for learners aged 5 to 16+ across a wide range of school subjects. It also supports children and young people’s wellbeing and career choices. Bitesize publishes daily lessons to help students across the UK with home schooling.

What's on

05th May:

Cathleen Morawetz

Today (5 May) is the birthday of renowned Canadian-Irish mathematician Cathleen Morawetz who passed away in 2017. She was born in Toronto, and split her early years between there and Dublin, when her father John Lighton Synge was on the staff at TCD.  She was educated at the University of Toronto, MIT and NYU. Her career was spent at the Courant Institute in new York, researching nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), and she served as President of the American Mathematical Society. She received honorary degrees from many universities including Princeton and TCD. Her father Mathematical physicist John Lighton Synge (1897-1995) was born in Dublin and educated at TCD and worked there and at the University of Toronto, as well as in the USA, and at the DIAS. Her great-uncle was the famous Irish playwright John Millington Synge. Read more at

12th May:

Mathemagic with a Deck of Cards
with Colm Mulcahy

May 6 at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm EDT (New York)

Maths Week advisor and curator of the Annals of Irish Mathematics Colm Mulcahy is giving a free talk via the Museum of Mathematics (US) on Wednesday.

blogger, author, and Spelman College math professor Colm Mulcahy. is  an expert on mathematical card tricks. Amaze and amuse your family and friends armed with just a deck of cards and a little insider knowledge, after watching this session. It is free but you must register at the link above. 

12th May:

May 12 is International Women in Mathematics day, celebrating the achievements of women in Maths, and it aims to encourage girls and young women to become more interested in maths. May 12 was chosen as the date to celebrate Women in Maths day as it is the birthday of Maryam Mirzakhani.

Mirzakhnai was an Iranian mathematician, who worked in Stanford. In August 2014, she was awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. , She became both the first, and to date, the only woman and the first Iranian to receive the award. International Women in Maths day is celebrated with events and activities all around the world. More information here:

Thanks to Zalafilms and the May12 Initiative, there is a free screening of “Secrets of the Surface” available through the following link
This film follows the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman and the first Iranian to be honoured with a Fields Medal, mathematics highest prize.
13th May: 

National Numeracy Day (UK)
National Numeracy Day is back for its third year on 13 May 2020 raising awareness of the importance of numeracy in our daily lives and improving people’s confidence with numbers.

National Numeracy Day has grown into a genuinely impactful movement, inspiring over 50,000 people to take steps to improve their everyday maths. For 2020, the goal is to empower thousands more to develop their confidence and skills. The campaign is a celebration of numbers and how we use them in everyday life.

Do you want to get involved? You can sign up and get access to campaign materials, a personal shareable link and email updates HERE

Daily Schedule

See Maths at Home for more

  • 8 am: Daily Targetboards open (see below)
  • 9 am: A maths Activity of the Day using household materials. Please share your children’s work using the hashtag #MathsAtHome and check out the hashtag to see other’s work and interact with them.
  • 12 pm: A Maths Challenge – this activity will have your family searching for mathematically interesting items and sharing them. Today is to find Movie Titles with Numbers
  • 5pm: . Each day we will share an Afternoon Resource recommending websites, informative articles, webinars and resources that are useful for engaging students during the school closures. 
  • 7 pm & 7:30 pm: A ‘Daily Maths Puzzle’ to develop flexibility in mathematics. The Licence plate game: There are plates each day for North and South  


Target Boards:
Can your class get on the Leaderboard?

Target Boards are proving to be quite popular with some schools during Lockdown. There have been over 13,000 answers submitted since the beginning of April .
Target Boards are a great fun way for your class to practice arithmetic. Even if you don't make the leaderboard it's still great fun. You can register for a class code and share the link with your class or with parents the code will work each day. It’s a great way to engage students and get their competitive streak working again! Players go to the Targetboard  schedule and click on the active board. 
We will publish the daily leaderboard at 3pm everyday on social media to show how the competition is going.

DCBeagle Challenges

During the "lockdown" I am producing booklets which are suitable for all ages probably starting with nine-year-olds. Do feel free to use them and also do let your staff, parents and pupils know about them. They are completely free with no strings attached. They can be found on my website
(this article has found it way into social media groups – cannot determine the author)
“The schools are broken," they said.
"It must be the teachers," they said.
And so they came for us.
They gave us scripted curriculum so we would know what to teach. Creativity and individuality couldn't be trusted. They imposed state testing so they would know how well we taught. Otherwise, we might just sit at our desks all day. They demanded SMART goals and evaluations so that we would constantly improve. Without them, we would never strive to get better.
We were monitored. We were graded. We were told we were lacking. AND THEN. The world shut down.
"Get rid of standardized,” they cried. And they did. They dropped the scripted curriculum. The SMART goals. The evaluations.
And you know what?
The teachers are still teaching. They're using Legos to teach arrays and cookie recipes to teach fractions. They're infusing creativity and passion. They're staying up all night researching new ways of teaching. They're connecting with students like never before. Students are begging to go to school. Families are coming together to learn. No testing. No curriculum. No evaluations.

And maybe, just maybe, the problem wasn't teachers after all.
COVID-19: Why our schools will never be the same again - Tony Breslin
Public policy analyst and writer, specialising in education
He breaks down his analysis into 5 categories where major changes will probably take place
  • The use of technology in education
  • The culture of tests, tables and targets
  • How we do assessment and examinations
  • Schools as childcare hubs
  • The status of teachers and all who work in schools
To read the full report click here.
Puzzle of the Month
(taken from H E Dudeney’s book, 536 Puzzles and Curious Problems)
Generous Gifts
A generous man set aside a certain sum of money for equal distribution weekly to the needy of his acquaintance. One day he remarked, "If there are five fewer applicants next week, you will each receive two dollars more." Unfortunately, instead of there being fewer there were actually four more persons applying for the gift.
"This means," he pointed out, "that you will each receive one dollar less." How much did each person receive at that last distribution?
Former school inspector rates own home schooling 'atrocious'
A spoof Tweet gone viral
Friend, Andrew Jeffrey (, wrote a spoof OFSTED report as a Tweet and it has gone viral. His aim was to try to give parents a boost and make them feel a bit better about themselves and less guilty.
He sent the “report” to OFSTED and they did reply!!

Puzzle of the month solution
At first there were twenty persons, and each received $6.00. Then fifteen persons (five fewer) would have received $8.00 each. But twenty-four (four more) appeared and only received $5.00 each. The amount distributed weekly was thus $120.00.
Summer holiday work
The annual debate is going to raise its ugly head soon and sadly pupils are going to be encouraged to follow exercise after exercise similar done at school. If they leave the academic year thinking maths is a drudge they are going to return with the same attitude and it is going to be difficult to motivate them. The following links give you and parents ideas of how to occupy the children with activities related to mathematical problems.
Everyday ways to make maths fun                  
Playing cards helps children with maths
Creative maths activities for children early years and KS1            
Maths activities for kids
And finally …..
Keep safe and well.
Follow us on social media each day for updates:
Facebook: @MathsWeek
Twitter: @mathsweek
Instagram: MathsIreland
LinkedIn: Maths Week Ireland
Get in touch, give feedback, why not share your ideas and resources?
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