Maths Week Newsletter January 2021

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January 2021
Hello and welcome:
Hello and welcome to another edition of the Maths Week newsletter.
We want to wish all our readers, teachers, parents and students alike a Happy New Year and wish you all the best for the year to come.

As the island of Ireland begins to navigate a new, more contagious wave of Coronavirus, the education sector is very much in the spotlight. Schools are to remain closed and students across the island enter another period of remote learning. For us at Maths Week that means that we are redoubling our efforts to provide students and teachers with useful and practical resources designed to complement their schoolwork. As always, we welcome input and feedback from you to refine that offering - email suggestions to or tweet @mathsweek. Thanks.

Maths at Home

We have developed a series of appropriate resources to help support the learning of maths at home. You can catch up on all the activities we have released to date at

Schools News

In Northern Ireland primary and post-primary schools are closed for the majority of students until after February mid-term break (only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers able to attend, creche, primary and secondary) Remote learning is in place and special schools remain open.

All schools in the Republic will remain closed to students from Monday 11 January. The Government decision, taken on foot of public health advice to reduce mobility in the community, was to close schools for the vast majority of students for a period of three weeks. As of Monday 11 January students, including children with special needs, will resort to a programme of remote learning in line with the rest of the Government restrictions.

So, we find ourselves back with schools closures again. We all have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience but there is a lot more expected from us. Nevertheless, it is a gigantic task for educators, parents and pupils. 
This situation should help wider society realise, that for all the failings of our system, the irreplaceable role of of the dedicated teacher present with pupils in the classroom.

In this issue:


Maths at Home Resources

Maths at Home
With schools all over the island preparing for another period of remote learning, we decided to re-visit some of our Maths at Home resources. These have been designed to be used at home with basic everyday materials and combine fun with learning.

ZOOM lessons with Douglas Buchanan

Douglas Buchanan is offering FREE 50-minute live presentations to classes all over the island of Ireland. These presentations will be via ZOOM, are interactive with several puzzles to solve and also surprising outcomes to tasks which are presented to the young mathematicians. There will also be material for teachers to follow-up in future lessons. 

THERE IS NO CHARGE TO TAKE PART. You can register at the link below:
Friday Fun – TargetBoards
Each Friday for the next number of weeks we will run our TargetBoards Competition online. Teachers can register their class and get a code to share with their students so the whole class can play together in cyberspace!
 Register HERE
Popular Maths Events - New Website
An exciting new resources is coming for those interested in popular maths events. A new website is being developed by the European Maths Society's Raising Public Awareness of Maths committee. It is primarily designed to post events from all over Europe. It will be launched on 21 January and we will be posting links then on Social Media. 

What's on?

January 11th Onward
Lockdown Learning: BBC puts school materials on TV, iPlayer and online
The BBC is helping school children keep up with their studies amid the latest lockdown to control Covid-19 in the UK. Primary and secondary schools are closed to most pupils, and from Monday 11 January, lessons and programmes will start to be broadcast on TV - on BBC Two and CBBC - as well as on iPlayer, with additional content online.

January 11th Onward
RTÉ Home School Hub
The RTÉ Home School Hub returns to RTÉ2 for two hours every weekday starting at 10am. You can plan and access all the resources on

January 12th Onward
SciFest’s main object is: To promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through the provision of a forum for students at local/regional/national level to present and display their scientific investigations.

The SciFest programme consists of a series of one-day STEM fairs for second-level students. The aim of the programme is to encourage an interest in, and love of, the STEM subjects. The programme is designed to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Visit

January 13th - 15th
33rd Annual Meeting of the Irish Mathematical Society

January 14th
Teaching Mathematics in the Present Context (Webinar)

The PDST Post Primary Maths are hosting a webinar entitled "Teaching Mathematics in the Current Context - Remote Teaching and Learning", this Thursday 14th of January from 19:00 to 19:45. The webinar will look at some key elements for effective remote teaching and provide some examples of these in practice. Participants will also get the chance to ask questions of the presenters and avail of follow-up support. We understand the challenging circumstances at the moment and this webinar is intended as some support for you in continuing teaching, learning and assessment over the coming weeks. 
Anybody wishing to attend must first register at Bookings will close on Thursday at 12 pm. The webinar will be hosted on Zoom and instructions of how to attend will be emailed to those who register.

For those who are unable to attend, we will make a recording of the webinar available on after the event.

If you have any questions about the contents of this email, or you wish to avail of support please contact us at
January 21st - February 11th 
Online Financial Maths Course: Series of 4 Sessions

January 24th
IMTA Team Maths Regionals
January 24th
John Hooper Medal Registration deadline

January 25th
Robert Boyle Winter School: tbc

Feburary 1st
Irish Maths Teacher Award Nominations Deadline

Feburary 6th - 7th
International Conference on Mathematics Education and Student Performance, Lisbon

Feburary 6th - 15th

In 2021 the theme of the International Day of Mathematics is Mathematics for a Better World. Create a poster that shows one way to make the world a little bit better using mathematics. Instead of words, use pictures combined with numbers, formulas, geometric shapes, and other mathematical elements to express your idea. Use mathematics so people worldwide can understand it, even if they don't speak your language.

You can send us your posters until February 15, 2021. We'll share the best ones we receive so you can use them to create an exhibition for your IDM events. Full details on

February 15th-28th

120 events across 14 days, a mixture of virtual talks and interactive workshops from science communicators around the globe, exploring the Science of You, The Universe and Everything In-Between.
Free event Kyle Evans: Maths Madness
How much would you pay for a £1 coin? Why are no numbers boring? Some, but certainly not all of these questions will be answered as award-winning maths entertainer Kyle D Evans puts down his guitar for once to bring you a rib-tickling, brain-scratching, family friendly sample of his new mathematical poem collection
Feburary 27th - March 5th
Engineers Week
STEPS Engineers Week 2021 takes place from Saturday, 27 February – Friday, 5 March. Engineers Week is a week-long festival of nationwide activities celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland.
The aim of each activity is to positively showcase engineering as a rewarding and creative career choice in all communities. The annual event is coordinated on a national basis by the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme - funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme call. Full details at
March 14th
Pi Day: International Day of Mathematics
The International Day of Mathematics (IDM) is a worldwide celebration. Each year on March 14 all countries will be invited to participate through activities for both students and the general public in schools, museums, libraries and other spaces.
The Maths Map of Ireland
The Maths Map of Ireland is an exciting new project from Maths Week Ireland and the ESB. The project will see the creation of a Maths Map; to include historical places and people relevant to maths; maths trails and contemporary maths figures and places of interest. If you are interested in contributing please email with the subject MATHS MAP.
24 Puzzle 
 is a good game to practice your arithmetic. It is usually played by dealing four playing cards, but car license plates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are ideal for it. The aim is to make 24 using the set of numbers to the right of the plate. You can use addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, but you must use all of the digits. We will be posting randomly generated new plates each day so that you don’t have to leave your home. You’ll be surprised how many of them can make up 24.

Maths in the media

Are live online lessons better than recorded ones?

As we enter another period of online learning, primary school principal @SimonLewis explores the debate on the pros and cons of live versus pre-record. Read the full article here

Why pooling expertise to tackle Covid-19 works

Coronavirus: Second COVID-19 wave twice as big as the first without  effective test, trace, isolating strategy, says new modelling study | UK  News | Sky News

Peter Lynch on why modelling work is a wonderful example of blending the techniques of applied mathematics and statistics. Our lives have been severely restricted in recent months. We are assured the constraints have been imposed following “the best scientific advice”, but what is the nature of this advice? Among the most important scientific tools used for guidance on the Covid-19 outbreak are mathematical models.
Read the article in the Irish Times HERE

BT Young Scientist

West Cork student Gregory Tarr wins this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition with a program to detect ‘deepfake’ videos on the internet.

Gregory’s project can be viewed on the BTYSTE portal HERE
The winner of the 57th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) has been announced as Gregory Tarr, aged 17, a 6th year student from Bandon Grammar School Co. Cork. Gregory has taken home the top prize of €7,500 and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy for his project titled “Detecting state-of-the-art deepfakes”. The announcement was made at the first ever virtual BTYSTE awards ceremony streamed live from the Mansion House. Gregory presented his project in the senior age group of the Technology category.

Chair of the Technology judging panel, Mr Leonard Hobbs from Trinity College Dublin, said that “the winner this year demonstrated an expertise in computer science which was well beyond his years. The level of coding he deployed in developing the extremely complex program which detects fake videos, was guided by his deep understanding of the state of the art of this leading edge technology”. He went onto say that “the judges have been continually impressed by Gregory’s projects at the BT Young Scientist competition over the past few years and they were delighted that he had progressed to winning the top award this year”.
Gregory will also represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, which is scheduled to go ahead in Salamanca Spain in September 2021.

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
November 2020


Happy New Year!
Because of the world we are living in, at the moment, is surreal I have decided that the normal format of newsletter will not follow. I do have some interesting material on teaching methods so they will appear in future newsletters when life is more settled.
Over the last 9 months most people can visualise a two-metre length and there have been some interesting illustrations: two sheep or one cow or a bed length or three Chows or one reindeer.
100 000 is a different cup of tea. Very few can visualise or understand a statement such as “250 in 100 000 people”. I suppose one can think of large stadia which hold about 50 000. Sadly, the press has not tried to simplify the ratio because the values make ‘spectacular’ reading. “2.5 people in 1000” does not have the same impact. Many a time the maths abilities of reporters have been tested!

Puzzles of the month (H.E. Dudeney)
Speed of the car
"I was walking along the road at three and a half miles an hour," said Mr Pipkins, "when the car dashed past me and only missed me by a few inches."
"Do you know at what speed it was going?" asked his friend.
"Well, from the moment it passed me to its disappearance round a corner took twenty-seven steps and walking on reached that corner with one hundred and thirty-five steps more."
"Then, assuming that you walked (3½mph), and the car ran, each at a uniform rate, we can easily work out the speed."
A walking puzzle
A man set out at noon to walk from Appleminster to Boneyham, and a friend of his started at 2:00pm on the same day to walk from Boneyham to Appleminster. They met on the road at five minutes past four o’clock, and each man reached his destination at exactly the same time. Can you say at what time they both arrived?
Welcome to 2021
Interesting facts:
2021 reversed is 1202
20212 reversed is12022
DCBEAGLE challenges
This term I am holding a series of ZOOM presentations during the week beginning Monday 22 February. The 50-minute live presentations, via ZOOM, are interactive with several puzzles to solve and also surprising outcomes to tasks which are presented to the young mathematicians. There will also be material for teachers to follow-up in future lessons. 

THERE IS NO CHARGE TO TAKE PART. From a GDPR view I do not have to see the pupils so consent forms are not required because your video does not have to be on.

Monday 8 February                            9:30 Third Class 11:00 Fourth Class
Tuesday 9 February                           9:30 Fifth Class

Thursday 11 February                        9:30 Third Class 11:00 Fourth Class
Friday 12 February                             9:30 Fifth Class
Maximum number of ZOOM links per year group is four. Click here to register

N.B. For those schools who participated in the Year 5 and 6 Maths Week England sessions this term’s presentations will be similar, repeating some of the material.
This month’s resources
Rich Resources (click here)
There is a vast array of material mainly for 10 – 15 year olds but younger mathematicians will be able to cope with many of the materials, especially the puzzles. The folders have come from Mr Barton’s website and they can be downloaded directly without having a DropBox facility.
Entertaining podcasts
Andrew Jeffrey and Rob Eastaway have now produced six maths podcasts. In these lively and laughter-filled podcasts they set puzzles and talk about the quirky ways in which maths crops up in their everyday lives – with occasional special guests for good measure: Andrew also has some new resources on his website:
Puzzle Solutions
Timing the car
As the man can walk 27 steps while the car goes 162, the car is clearly going six times as fast as the man. The man walks 3½ miles an hour: therefore the car was going at 21 miles an hour.
A walking puzzle
It will be found (and it is the key to the solution) that the man from B. can walk 7 miles while the man from A. can walk 5 miles. Say the distance
between the towns is 24 miles, then the point of meeting would be 14 miles from A. and the man from A. walked  miles per hour, while the man from
B. walked  miles per hour. They both arrived at 7 P.M. exactly.
Final words
I do hope that January is not too much of a burden. We all need to be strong.
Follow us on social media each day for updates:
Facebook: @MathsWeek
Twitter: @mathsweek
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Get in touch, give feedback, why not share your ideas and resources?
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