Maths Week Newsletter August 28/08/20

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Maths Week Newsletter August 2020
Welcome to the Maths Week August newsletter. For all our teacher subscribers, this marks the start of a new year, and a welcome return to the classroom. Schools in Northern Ireland started back last week, and schools in the Republic are starting back this week and next.
We know it has been a remarkably busy and stressful time for everyone, making sure the classrooms are ready and safe for pupils to return.

With the Covid-19 restrictions, we know that school, and in fact life for us all, is going to be a bit different this year and Maths Week will be too. The 15th Maths Week Ireland will be going ahead from October 10-18, so please register your school as taking part at and read about our plans for Maths Week 2020.

Results for the GCSEs and A levels are already out in Northern Ireland. There was a lot of controversy and a lot of media interest in the awards, with students now being awarded the highest grade either predicted by their teacher or awarded officially. The Leaving Certificate results will be out in the South on September 7, and many are looking forward with interest to see what these bring. Hopefully, the system will be as fair as possible to the students.

In this newsletter, we will feature:

Maths Week 2020 is coming!

REGISTER your commitment to spreading a positive attitude towards maths in your school.

By filling in the registration form you will be in with a chance of winning one of five high spec tablets or a set of IZAK9 cubes for your school


The Maths Week team have been busy, gearing up for the 15th Maths Week Ireland , which this year will take place from October 10 -18. This year, it’s going to be a bit different, with a focus on online and in school activity. We will have streamed live maths shows, and workshops, fun and interactive maths videos, online competitions, connected classrooms and much more!

For the past few months, we have been busy developing resources and activities to make it easier to run a Maths Week event in your school or community. We are continuously adding events, activities and resources to the website, so please check regularly for updates.

We know that schools will be busy this year as teachers and students work hard to make up for lost time. Maths Week 2020 will be more important than ever, as the festival offers a great way to increase motivation among young people studying maths. All our maths week activities have been developed with the curriculum in mind and we have a wide range of activities available online that are suitable for all ages and abilities.

We hope that schools will participate in the huge numbers that they have in the past, so please register your school as taking part at

Our Maths Week posters are in print now, and will be arriving in schools shortly, so please look out for their arrival!


The 2020 Maths Week Posters have been designed and we are delighted to be able to preview them with you today! One of them celebrates Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday!

You can preview them on the website here 
Tá siad ar fáil anseo as Gaeilge freisin

We will be sending them out to all primary and secondary schools shortly. 

There are many great reasons to include maths trails in the teaching and learning of mathematics. As a maths trail typically takes place outside the classroom / school it creates an atmosphere of exploration and excitement.

Participants share a sense of anticipation and discovery, which naturally leads them to communicate the mathematical concepts which are evident along the trail.  As participants engage in stimulating conversations about mathematical ideas, they will begin to make connections and problem solve.

At we have a definitive guide to Maths Trails that will support you and your colleagues as you create rich learning experiences for your students in your surrounding environment.

If you have developed a Maths Trail that you would like to share with our viewers then please send us a link to and we will promote it.
Go to
Follow us on social media 
Facebook: @MathsWeek
Twitter: @mathsweek
Instagram: MathsIreland
LinkedIn: Maths Week Ireland
Get in touch, give feedback, why not share your ideas and resources?

What's on

August to October 2020

Education Authority HealthWell Restart Programme for Principals and Teachers in Northern Ireland

EA’s Health and Wellbeing team have planned activity to support staff health and wellbeing during the next three months. Education Restart will be a challenging time for many, and it is the intention of the EA HealthWell Programme to support staff as we move forward. Full details of all EA HealthWell Restart Programme events can be found on the EA Website

17 September

Global Maths and Science Session: Super Stats

Join Bubbly Maths and thousands of children all around the world for a 30 minute maths lesson in your own classroom, group or home, at the time that suits you best. This year the 30 minute lesson is called People Stats and there are many additional cross curricular activities around maths and health. It also celebrates Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday.

The lesson will be held online on Thursday September 17. Primary School teachers and their students from all around the world are invited to join.

This free event is organised by our friend Bubbly Maths in aid of AIMSSEC The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Schools Enrichment Centre. Follow this link to find out more

17 September
The Talking Maths in Lockdown series returns!

During the Covid -19 pandemic the team at Talking Maths in Public organised a series of online events for maths communicators. The six sessions offered an opportunity for like minded people to discuss topics related to maths communication. If you missed any of the sessions over the summer, they're all now on their YouTube channel and linked to from the TMiL section on the website.

This week they have announced that they will be running more Talking Maths in Lockdown (TMiL), events, roughly once a month on Thursdays at 3 pm, starting on 17th September. The next session will be about Teaching Maths Communication in Universities - details are on their website.


19 September 9:00 am to 1:30 pm


The Institute of Physics Ireland invites you to join them for a series of talks and workshops at the Frontiers of Physics 2020 online teacher conference.

The keynote speaker, Professor Jens Dolin, University of Copenhagen, will be discussing how teachers are adapting to new approaches in physics teaching and learning. Teachers will also be given a choice of interactive workshops to attend which will benefit the teaching of physics at Junior and Leaving Certificate levels including Isaac Physics, Virtual Physics Lab, virtual resources for teaching Earth & Space, guidance on what makes a good physics question and more.

This free day of workshops is open to all teachers including newly qualified and trainee teachers.

Please register through the conference page here:



3 October 

FÉILTE 2020 will take place this year online from 10:00 am to 04:30 pm on Saturday 3 October 2020

FÉILTE is The Teaching Council’s annual Festival of Education in Learning and Teaching Excellence. It is always an inspiring and uplifting festival that allows teachers to connect and collaborate.  Throughout the years the festival has moved around the country to be accessible to the different regions, however, this year this event will be run ONLINE for FREE!  

Among the highlights for this year’s digital festival are former President Mary Robinson delivering the opening keynote address, teachers sharing their favourite methodologies and insights in the TeachMeets, there will be StudentMeets, ResearchMeets, LeadershipMeets, live workshops and panel discussions hosted by Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin.

In among this jam-packed programme Maths Week Ireland will be showcasing how we are supporting teachers, to instil in their students, an appreciation for Maths post Covid-19.

You should click here and register your attendance to Féilte 2020.


Maths in the Media

Taylor Swift donated £23,373 to London student Vitoria Mario to fund her mathematics studies at University of Warwick. Vitoria launched a GoFundMe as she was ineligible for government loans, after migrating to the U.K from Portugal four years ago

 Image courtesy of Good News Movement 



BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
August 2020

Douglas Buchanan ~ ~ ~ @dcbeagle1
Welcome to the new academic year.
Let us have an open-ended start to the year!
How many times in your career have you collected the marks of the mental test in the first week of an academic year?
Punch: “3 wrong miss.”
Judy: “7 wrong miss.”
The first approach to negativity towards maths! Would the atmosphere be different if the solutions are open ended or you do not mark anything “wrong”?
It is difficult to convince colleagues, parents and the inspectorate when they see examples in books not marked except for the “ticks”. My approach was to question the pupil about their error and in many cases asked them to do it again to receive a tick – not a “correction tick”. Other times I would ask them to do a similar example. Positive reinforcement.
Opening Minds with Open Ended Math Problems
“Noah saw 18 legs pass his office door. What could the animals be?”
In the detailed article in the website, Model Teaching, it covers the following topics:

  • What are open-ended math problems?
  • Why should I use open-ended math problems with my students?
  • How do I incorporate open-ended math problems into my math instructional time?
  • How do I make sure to provide students with open ended math problems during math each day?

There is also a booklet giving many examples of open ended problems
There is also a comprehensive guide of activities and investigations from the Hamilton Trust. If the activities are the property of the Trust they ask you and / or your school to subscribe. Many of the tasks are from other sources.
“Maths was my favourite subject today, Mummy, because I did not get anything wrong!!!”
Puzzle of the month
Buying turkeys
A man bought a number of turkeys at a cost of €60.00, and after reserving fifteen of the birds he sold the remainder for €54.00, thus gaining 1Oc a head by these. How many turkeys did he buy?
Numerical phenomena – divide 1 by 998 001
Using’s Big Calculator insert:
X = 1
Y = 998001
Precision: 5996 digits
Click on X / Y
What do you discover? More at the end of the newsletter.
Finland has one of the most successful education systems but what makes it so successful?
There are no standardised tests
From the age of six, students in the UK are tested to assess their academic capabilities. But in Finland, throughout the course of a child’s education, there is only one test that is mandatory -- the matriculation exam -- which comes at the end of vocational senior high school.
Homework isn’t as widely used
Statistically, Finland issues a lot less homework to students than most countries on earth. Though it is a myth that there is no homework at all, most of the education happens in the classroom. Which is, after all, where you would expect it to happen. This is built on a mutual trust between teachers, students and parents. Parents especially know that their kids are being taught by the brightest people in society. So they back whatever happens when their children are in the school environment. In Finland, home time is there to develop soft skills, gain life experience and foster close family bonds.
Source: Celsian Education
Video: Why Finland has the best education system in the world
Activity of the month
Use the digits 2, 0, 2 & 0 and any operations to make a value from 1 through to 100.
This is an ideal open question exercise and it could be a communal effort with pupils putting solutions on wall charts. There will always (I think!) be more than one algorithm for each value. Do take images of your charts and send them to me!
Website of the month -
This website has a comprehensive array of activities for all subjects in the curriculum and caters for the age range of 3 to 14 year olds.
Puzzle of the month solution
The man bought 75 turkeys at 80c each, making €60.00. After retaining 15 he sold the remaining 60 at 90c each, making €54.00, as stated. He thus made a profit of 1Oc each on the 60 birds he resold.
Numerical phenomena – revisited
You will discover all the values from 1 to 999 are in numerical order except 998 is missing!
Maths Week Ireland – 10 to 18 October
We are all aware that the focus will be trying to give the best education in these unusual times and time is the essence. If you are looking for inspiration for maths week do visit the following websites or if you are desperate do contact me. ; ; ; ;

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?
Copyright © 2020 Maths Week Ireland Calmast. All rights reserved.

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