Back to news listing
JUNE 2021

Hello and welcome to the June edition of the Maths Week Newsletter

June is the sixth month of the year in our Gregorian calendars, it contains the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours, and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, with the fewest daylight hours. June is thought to be named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.

Maths Week 2021 will run from 16-24 October, put it in your diary for next term!
If there's anything you would like to see in our newsletter, or if you have something you'd like to share, please drop an email to with the subject 'NEWS'  You can share this newsletter with your friends or colleagues using the links below and there's always lots to see and do on our website

Our digital engagement manager, Ben Dolan is moving on to pastures new. Ben has been a key member of the Maths Week team and core to our move online during Covid. Although more often behind the camera (or Zoom) many of you will have met him virtually. He composed much of the Newsletters  over the last few years.  He leaves us with a much greater capacity in the online space. He is moving onto an Arts project and we wish him the very best there.  
Ben adds: "It has been my pleasure to contribute and sometimes edit this monthly newsletter over the last few years. I got a great satisfaction from finding what's going on in the world of Maths and bringing it to our loyal following."
Best of luck, Ben.

Eoin Gill, 
Coordinator, Maths Week

A parting puzzle from Ben:
Have a look at this simple maths problem I spotted on Belfast Live which has divided (forgive the pun!) the internet on what is the correct answer (or answers! ;)) It just goes to show that there can be more to maths than meets the eye! 

Is the answer 1 or 16?
See below for discussion.
Share on FB Share on FB
Tweet this Tweet this
Send to a friend Send to a friend

In this issue:

Maths Week Wins Best Education Outreach Award!



Maths Week was recognised at the recent Education Awards in Dublin for Maths at Home and Maths Week Campaigns during Covid. 
The prize was awarded to Calmast STEM Engagement Centre in Waterford Institute of Technology the coordinators of Maths Week. On receiving the award, Dr Sheila Donegan paid tribute to all the partners, schools and teachers that make Maths Week a world leader. 

Read the full story here:

Math and our Culture

Two events coming this month celebrate maths in our culture. "Heaventree of Stars" celebrates Maths, Astronomy and other STEM in James Joyce's Ulysses. This is the third annual event forming part of the Bloomsday Festival hosted by DIAS at Dunsink Observatory with the James Joyce Centre, Joyceborough and Maths Week. 


“There will be a total eclipse this year: autumn some time. Now that I come to think of it that ball falls at Greenwich time. It’s the clock is worked by an electric wire …”

Ulysses, James Joyce
On Thursday 10th June at 19:30 there’s a very special Joycean evening of readings, discussion, and music on the day of a partial solar eclipse!
The Heaventree of Stars is a Bloomsday celebration of astronomy, maths, music, and science in Ulysses. The event will be run virtually this year and include readings by researchers from DIAS Astronomy and Astrophysics Section and Maths Week's Eoin Gill among a "stellar" lineup. Full programme is here.
The evening will be run virtually on Zoom. Tickets are free but must be booked beforehand through Eventbrite as places are limited (one ticket per Zoom connection):

26  June 2021
Robert Boyle Summer School

The 9th Robert Boyle Summer School will take place on the 26 June 2021
This year the theme is “Women in STEM: past, present and future”.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it will take place online. 
The school will celebrate the achievements of women in the history of science before exploring issues for women in STEM today and into the future.
Speakers include
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell FRS
Dr Michelle Di Meo who's biography of Lady Ranelagh has just been published. 
There will be a feature about women in Irish Mathematics as part of the programme. 
The programme is free. Visit for more

looking ahead to the new academic year, the Calmast STEMReach programme will commence once more in September.
The initiative was developed to provide sustained engagement through partnership in the South-East in Ireland. The problem solving module is very popular with maths teachers. It will be delivered remotely in the Autumn term, so schools anywhere might be interested to participate. Calmast would also welcome enquires from schools in Northern Ireland.  
STEMreach connects higher education, industry, governmental and non-governmental bodies with primary and post-primary schools and wider society and is designed to benefit educational attainment, economy and culture in the region.
If you are interested in getting involved with STEMreach for TY in the new academic year please email
Find out more

Schools News

NI exams:
NI Education Minister Peter Weir has announced a return to public examinations in 2022 — but students will have significantly fewer to sit. “A planned return to public examinations is not, however, a return to business as usual,” Mr Weir told the Assembly, but added that “young people will have significantly fewer examinations in 2022” with “significant reductions in assessment across the range of CCEA qualifications.” However, AS grades given to pupils this summer will not count towards their A level grade in 2022.
AS and A-level results will be released on 10 August and GCSE results on 12 August 2021.
RoI exams:

The Leaving Cert starts on Wed. June 9th with English Paper 1 and Home Economics. 
Leaving certificate Maths Paper 1  is on Friday 11th and Maths Paper 2 is on Monday 14th.

RoI Primary schools:

Summer provision-

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education Josepha Madigan TD have announced the provision of expanded summer education programmes for pupils with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage, as a Covid-19 pandemic response measure, for summer 2021.
The total funding available to provide the programme is up to €40 million, a one hundred per cent increase on the allocation for summer provision in 2020.
The five key strands of the programme will run, as follows:
  • Numeracy and literacy camps in DEIS primary schools
  • School based summer programme in primary schools with special classes and special schools.
  • Home based provision for children with complex needs where no school based programme is available
  • All primary schools (DEIS and non DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream pupils with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
  • All post-primary schools (DEIS and non DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream students with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage
The programmes for mainstream students in primary and post-primary schools are new programmes for 2021, building upon previous summer programmes in DEIS schools and the programmes for pupils with special educational needs last year.


Friday Fun –  New TargetBoards
We launched a Spring Targetboards campaign back in January which ran for 16 weeks. Since it ended we have had a number of requests from teachers for more Targetboards. So, we have created a Summer Campaign which will run until the end of June. If your class participated in the Spring Campaign, your registration should still work for the new games. If you didn't participate in the Spring Campaign, don't worry, registration is easy. Go to Targetboards page  to find out more.
Targetboards Summer 2021 Campaign Leaders
Weekly leader boards can be still found by going to

Junior Leader Board

St Teresa’s NS (1336)
5th class (Mrs Farrell)

Scoil Éinne an Spidéal (20)
Rang a 4 (Caitríona)

St Patrick's NS (8)
Ms Griffin's 6th Class (Ms G)

Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh (1)
Rang IV na Sionainne (Caoimhe Uí Nioclás)

Senior Leader Board

Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh (213)
Rang IV na Sionainne (Caoimhe Uí Nioclás)

Cloverfield NS (22)
Ranganna 5 & 6 (Noreen O'Dea)

St Teresa’s NS (15)
5th class (Mrs Farrell)

The Irish government has just launched plans to stimulate a national conversation on research and science. 

Creating our Future aims to build on the success of research and science in our battle against Covid-19 and ask the public how we can shape a better Ireland through research and science.The conversation will begin in July and will run until November and will be overseen by an Advisory Forum, which was convened yesterday by Minister Simon Harris. 

The programme will be managed by SFI and we would encourage people to get involved and in particular would urge people to voice the importance of mathematics and its applications. 

See here for more details

Maths Resources

The 24th Maths Ireland Blog celebrating mathematical people associated with various counties, North and South, features County Offaly.
Other areas covered are:
Donegal,  WexfordArmaghLimerickWestmeathMayoBelfastWicklowKerryGalwayMonaghanTipperarySligoCarlowDownCorkCavanLaoisLondonderryMeathLeitrimDublin, and Clare.
This important archive is curated by Colm Mulcahy, professor emeritus, Spellman College, GA.
The Primary Planet 
Mental Maths Challenge
Right, it's time for the MENTAL MATHS CHALLENGE. 15 questions for you to muddle over.

Primary Planet want answers ... and they want them NOW!

Just play the audio and listen up!

Don't forget -- it's about accuracy, not speed.

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
A parting puzzle from Ben:
Have a look at this simple maths problem which has divided (forgive the pun!) the internet on what is the correct answer (or answers! ;))

It is a question of BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division/Multiplication, Addition/Subtraction) or  BIDMAS (Brackets, Indices, Division/Multiplication, Addition/Subtraction) or PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction). These are all of course the same order of operations but can confuse the learner if she/he encounters more than one mnemonic. 

It might be instructional to think why people can interpret this expression in two different ways.
This particular problem probably caused so much confusion because of the mixed notation used in the expression. Perhaps the brain sees 2(2+2) as a unit and evaluates it first.
If it were written as follows, I suspect it would not be misinterpreted:

This would be unambiguous in the following form

Or if the intention was that the expression would equal 1, then extra brackets are required.

It might be a nice investigation for learners who are confident with their arithmetic. It is also instructional about the importance of writing carefully so that people can understand what we mean.
Read what Belfast Live had to say about it.


Junior Cycle Talks is a podcast provided by the Junior Cycle for Teachers support service. The podcasts explore a variety of issues, themes and topics that may be of interest to all teachers, students, parents and school leaders. Listen to Ep.5 HERE

This episode is with Dr Aibhín Bray and Claire Cooper. Aibhín is an Assistant Professor in Mathematics in the School of Education, Trinity College and Claire is a Teacher Fellow with Trinity Access. Some of the topics discussed include active learning pedagogies, technology in the maths classroom and Bridge 21. For more information on Bridge 21 visit 

Sign the Petition!

Every Year during Maths Week, The Hamilton Walk goes from Dunsink Observatory to Brooms Bridge to mark the famous discovery of quaternions by William Rowan Hamiltom. It follows the route of a proposed new cycle route - The Hamilton Way.

The virtual Hamilton Walk can be seen HERE

The  pedestrian and cycle route would link Dunsink Observatory, the Royal Canal Greenway, Ashtown, and the Tolka Valley Greenway and make the observatory more accessible for all. 

Dunsink Observatory is part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and has been operated by DIAS since 1947. DIAS has a long term lease from the owner of the observatory, the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The 450 m long “Hamilton Way” would enable observatory staff and members of the public to access the Observatory in a safe and convenient manner by foot, bike or wheelchair. This would transform access to the Observatory and open it up to many more visitors from the local area and beyond.

Please click here to support the petition to Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council. 
Share your thoughts on the Hamilton Way by emailing All support welcome!

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. It is famous for being the location where Sir William Rowan Hamilton first wrote down the fundamental formula for quaternions on 16 October 1843

If you are interested in contributing please email with the subject MATHS MAP. 
Gathering 4 Gardner Videos

The Gathering4Gardner Foundation celebrates the contribution of Martin Gardner to recreational maths, popularisation of maths, magic, art and skepticism. Their Celebration of Mind series features some of the best and most inspiring maths presenters, including inventors, magicians, mime acts, artists and more. 
See these free videos on their YouTube channel here 


What's On?

Morning, Thursday, 24th June 2021
Policy Forum for Northern Ireland keynote seminar
Next steps for skills and apprenticeships in Northern Ireland
with Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills, Department for the Economy
and Julian DavidTech UKDr Margaret DuddyEducation and Training InspectorateTerry FennellFDQDr Declan KeeneyUlster UniversityJohn KennedyEducation and Training InspectorateRichard KirkWorkplusPhilip McNallyKPMG IrelandGordon ParkesNorthern Ireland ElectricityProfessor Terri ScottNorthern Regional College; and Ken WebbSouth Eastern Regional College and College Principals’ Group
Chaired by:
Dr Caoimhe Archibald MLA, Chair, Committee for the Economy
Stewart Dickson MLA, Alliance Party Economy Spokesperson and Member, Committee for the Economy
Book online here:

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
June 2021

Douglas Buchanan ~ ~ ~ @dcbeagle1

Food for Thought
Mathematics is like building a logical pyramid – one shaky layer and everything built on top is likely to come crashing down. But often a subject that seemed impossible at first suddenly starts clicking into place when you come back to it for the second time.”
Marcus du Sautoy
“I almost never meet a teacher who believes moving through a curriculum regardless of whether or not the pupils have gripped the ideas is the right thing to do.
But also ….
I almost never meet a teacher who doesn’t feel under pressure to ‘keep up with the curriculum ….”
Mark McCourt @EmathsUK
Puzzle of the month (Henry Dudeney 1857 - 1930)
Five cards
I have five cards bearing the figures I, 3, 5, 7, and 9. How can I arrange them in a row so that the number formed by the first pair multiplied by the number formed by the last pair, with the central number subtracted, will produce a number composed of repetitions of one figure? Thus, in the example I have shown, 31 multiplied by 79 and 5 subtracted will produce 2444, which would have been all right if that 2 had happened to be another 4. Of course, there must be two solutions, for the pairs are clearly interchangeable.
    3     1     5     7     9
What is subtraction?
This is the question James Tanton (Global Math Project) is posing. I have worked with James during a Maths Week Ireland festival and like most of us, his philosophy is that maths is all around us and we should exploit it.
What does “borrowing and carrying” really mean? Were shopkeepers (in the olden days!) taught to add on when working out change? Do we “round up” or “round down”? James’ has many thoughts in his newsletter.
Maths activities involving the weather
The weather has not been very pleasant in the UK in May with large amounts of rain fallings and low temperatures hence the search for maths activities – a sphere in our lives where maths is involved.
The Met Office has produced several interesting projects covering all age groups including deciphering the weather during WWII and making your own barometer.
Teacher vision looks at measuring temperature and involves creating your own thermometer.
Let’s play cricket!
Cricket has now become the ‘in-game’ for girls and the game of rounders seems to be fading and only played on the village greens. Cricket is an ideal tool to develop mathematical skills with all the data produced in the game.
Number problems – from Tamworth-in-Arden Primary School
Australian curriculum lessons – the activities looking at graphs, median, medium and mode after a quick fun game of cricket. On this site they talk about Kanga cricket but any similar game will produce statistics for the activities.
My puzzle booklets
I have just completed / compiled nine booklets and they are available at They are free with no strings attached.
 DCBEAGLE Challenges
 The great news is that I will be on the road again from September with my challenges, hoping there are no COVID setbacks. Bookings are now open for all of them.
Puzzle solution
The number is either 3 9 1 5 7 or 5 7 1 3 9. In either case the product of the two pairs 39 and 57, minus 1, results in 2222.

Final words
“What is mathematics? It is only a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature.”
Shakuntala Devi
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 © 2021 Maths Week Ireland Calmast. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Maths Week Ireland, Calmast, STEM Outreach Hub, 

Cork Road Campus, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford 

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.
Sponsor logos