Maths Week Newsletter September 24/09/20

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Maths Week Newsletter September 2020


Coming up in this newsletter:

Next month will be the 15th Maths Week across the island of Ireland and we are not about to cancel it because of Covid19. In fact, we're putting a lot of work into making it accessible to all schools.  
You can get involved in a Covid-safe way through
  1. Online events
  2. Online activities and games
  3. In-school activities
All are available at our website. We have lots of options for every age so that you can choose what best suits you and your groups. You can also develop your own activities.  
Already we have almost 80,000 registered from all over the island. Make sure you register and show your school is a Mathstastic School. 

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.

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
MathsWeekTV will be live everyday with a show for primary at 10:10 am and a show for secondary at 11:11am (the times are to allow teachers time to organise the class and set up the technology). The shows will be normally 30 minutes presentation with some discussion afterwards. Details of how and where to watch will be posted soon on the MathsWeekTV page
Primary 10:10 Daily
Monday 12 October
Age: 8-10 

 Maths Week welcomes one of UK's most popular Maths teachers, Susan Okereke. Discover patterns as she demonstrates how times-tables are related to each other through the magic of colouring in. Showing how different times-tables develop patterns on a 100 grid. Make sure to have your pens and pencils at the ready!
Tuesday 13 October
Age: 4-6

 Caroline Ainsley
A show all about scale and the importance of scaling different shapes using balloons, soap bubbles AND paper, participants will have hands on opportunity to make two different scale models of a paper airplane.
Wednesday 14 October
Age: 7-10
Wednesday 14 October
Andrew Jeffrey

Maths Rocks features a series of mathematical surprises that you never knew about. You might even learn some magic tricks you can show other people.
Thursday 15 October
Age: 10-12

Ken Farquhar

Pick a card any card, is this it?? No? Any of these? Yes? How does that work? Could it really involve Maths? A show with no sleight of hand, just some fantastic maths. 
Friday 16 October
Age: 8-12

 Kjartan Poskitt

Possibly the world's biggest selling maths author, Kjartan has sold over 5 million copies of his Murderous Maths books. Join him for Momentous Maths with lots of tricks, puzzles and laughs. 
Secondary 11:11 Daily
Monday 12 October
Age: 12-15

Well known TV personailty, Bobby Seagull brings his infectious enthusiasm to everything from the right number of friends to have. To the power of prime numbers controlling credit card numbers to cicada insect hibernation habits. You’ll never look at your maths lessons the same way again!
Tuesday 13 October
Age: 15-19

Maths v Sport with Tom Crawford
How do you take the perfect penalty? What is the limit of human endurance? Where is the best place to attempt a world record? Maths has all of the answers and Tom will be telling you how to use it to be better at sport (results may vary).
Wednesday 15 October
Age: 15-19
Wednesday 14 October
Rob Eastaway was the very first presenter at Maths Week. Rob is a mathematician, author and broadcaster. His show Puzzling Surprises – will present entertaining examples of counter-intuitive maths, from Pythagoras to Pascal’s Triangle. 
Thursday 15 October
Age: 15-19

Royal Statistical Society Guy Lecturer Dr Laura Bonnett will deliver this year’s Guy lecture to school students across the island of Ireland on the topic of ‘Driving is a risky business!’. The lecture covers various aspects of road safety where statistics can illuminate people’s decisions. 
Friday 16 October
Age: 12-15
James Tanton is a research mathematician deeply interested in bridging the gap between the mathematics experienced by school students and the creative mathematics practiced and explored by mathematicians. He worked as a college professor for a decade, as a high-school teacher for a decade, and is now the Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America 
Back again - the ever popular free Mangahigh challenge is on the lookout for the top school across Ireland! This web-based maths competition will see all schools across Ireland compete with each other in an online challenge to be a maths ninja across the 9 day challenge period.

This is a great opportunity to see the impact digital game-based learning can have on your students whilst also increasing the profile of maths across the school.
It’s free to join, and amazing prizes are up for grabs!
Back again - Targetboards
During the Lockdown from March to July Targetboards ran every day, with thousands of pupils playing and practising their arithmetic. 
Targetboards will run during Maths Week with a junior and senior board each day. 
The class works together to find as many ways they can of making up the target number using the numbers given on the board.

Hands-on, interactive and Team based Maths Activities

We will have other online games available for Maths Week, but also lots of resources for hands-on, team based maths activities that will inspire and motivate pupils. 
During the lockdown we have been busy preparing lots of resources for schools. See here for details
Scoileanna lán-Gaeilge, bain úsáid as na hacmhainní atá ar fáil ar ár suíomh iderlíne chun foghlaim na matamaitice a spreagadh agus straitéisí fadhbréitigh a fhorbairt i luathfhoghlaimeoirí.

The Maths Week 2020 posters have been sent to all schools on the island. If you haven’t already checked them out you can do so now online here. 
We have lots of suggested maths questions that you can use to spark the mathematical thinking behind the primary school posters. For example, below we have some questions that will develop positional language skills and spatial awareness.


Tá na póstaeir ar fáil anseo as Gaeilge freisin

Wheels on the Bus poster activities
Positional language & spatial awareness questions:
What can you see behind the bus shelter? ​
What can you see in front of the bus? ​
Describe the passenger at the back of the bus. ​
What is written on the front of the bus? ​Where is the Stop sign? ​
If the boy in the wheelchair looks in the wing mirror of the bus, what can he see? ​

Maths in the City - Poster activity

You can do these activities based on places in your locality. Maybe you live in a city or large town. If not, you can use the internet to look these things up. Maybe even Google Maps Street View. 
For lots more suggestions check out the poster resources on the Maths Week website. and why not try it out with the young mathematicians in your class – take photos and share on your school’s social media channels and tag us. We would love to connect with you this way!
For younger secondary pupils we show the importance of maths in jobs. We want them to see that maths will be useful in all jobs, not just the obvious ones like accountancy, engineering, science, computing and fintech.  
We will be adding more information about maths in jobs over the coming weeks. 
For senior students we celebrate Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday in a graphic novel style. It tells how Nightingale used maths and statistics to show the importance of hygiene in disease control. She showed the importance of handwashing and data collection, two of the most important weapons in the fight against Covid-19. 
The Hamilton Walk cannot go ahead as usual with Covid restrictions. 
In 2006 Maths Week was established around "Hamilton Day", the 16 October. For, it was on this day in 1834, while walking from Dunsink Observatory into Dublin City that William Rowan Hamilton in a flash of inspiration scraped a formula into the wall of Broome Bridge on the Royal Canal. In 1990 Prof Tony O'Farrell (Maynooth University) established the Hamilton Walk to celebrate this event that is known to mathematicians all over the world. We are working to present a virtual walk that all can enjoy on Friday 16 October. Keep an eye on the Maths Week website and social media for updates. 
This year Galway Atlantaquaria are taking their Maths workshops to the beach! During this tailor-made workshop students will be engaged in investigating symmetry, measuring, comparing & ordering while exploring the wonders of the seashore in a non-contact nature. Students will then discover the numbers behind marine litter, learning how long they take to break down and subsequently, will complete a 2 minute beach clean to help protect the local environment.
Students will work in small groups, or their pods from school while working on the shore during this Maths Workshop. As the weather in Ireland is very unpredictable, a backup workshop can take place in the aquarium with a limited group size.
Audience: This workshop has been tailored for Primary School students.
Date: 10th – 18th of October 2020
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Venue: Grattan Beach 
Booking: For more information call 091 585 100 or email
October 15 @ 18:00 - 19:00 
Maths4All TeachMeet 

Audience: Teachers Are you willing to share your ideas about maths teaching? Would you like to take a peek into other teachers’ classes? Maths4All will host an online TeachMeet on Thursday 15th October from 6 o’clock. A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights 
Events and activities will be added continuously between now and Maths Week watch the website and social media
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 Else Is On?

The Future of Mathematics

Tuesday September 29th @ 2pm IST 


UCD Discovery is delighted to invite you to join thought leader Peter Lynch, Emeritus Professor at the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, on UCD Discovery's Zoom for Thought 15-min chat series on: "The Future of Mathematics"

Join the UCD Discovery Zoom for Thought chat via zoom

 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

Maths Cats

A sad story was reported this month about a man and 110 cats that were evicted from an apartment in Spain. It claims that the man took in a pair of cats 3 years ago and all the cats descended from those.  
Is it possible that 110 cats came from 2 cats in 3 years? Can maths help us find out?

We go back 800 years, meet Leonardo of Pisa and find a useful starting point for our model. 
We can also learn something useful about the modelling of COVID
Read all about it here
Beyond the Textbook

Douglas Buchanan

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 Calculator.nets 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?
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