Maths Week Newsletter March 08/03/22

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Welcome to the March Newsletter
Since the loosening of restrictions last month the island has seen a big return to normality in events and interactions with others, with this, preparations are already being made for Maths Week 2022 in-person events.
This week we had eth first day of (meteorological) Spring, Ash Wednesday and Carnival in many countries. We also celebrated Shrove Tuesday, or as it is more widely known Pancake Tuesday and we have a belated pancake puzzle below. 
Next Monday week we will also celebrate the International Day of Mathematics, Pi Day. This worldwide celebration of maths takes place on March 14 (3.14 in US format). 
We also have our regular column from Douglas Buchanan with some thought provoking ideas and excellent resources for teachers. 
 So as we enjoy the stretch in the evenings this month we have a lot of news, resources and coming events to share with you.

In this issue:

Best wishes,
The Maths Week Team
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Maths Week 2022
The dates for Maths Week 2022 have been announced! It will take place from the 15th to the 23rd of October 2022. The Maths Week team are already planning the programme, as a hybrid of online and face-to-face activity. If you have any ideas please get in touch. 

Keep an eye on our website and social media for all the latest updates.
A Puzzle for Pancake Tuesday
The chefs in the kitchen are sloppy, and when they prepare a stack of pancakes they come out all different sizes. Therefore, when I deliver them to a customer, on the way to the table, I rearrange them (so that the smallest winds up on top, and so on, down to the largest at the bottom), by grabbing several from the top and flipping them over, repeating this (varying the number I flip) as many times as necessary. 

 If there are 7 pancakes, what is the minimum number of flips that are required to rearrange them?
Solution below.
Engineers Week 2022

Maths is a huge part of the world of engineering. STEPS Engineers Week takes place from the 5 - 11 March and is run by the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme. There are activities and events for primary and secondary schools, North and South.
This year Calmast is running the South East Engineering Festival in conjunction with Waterford Institute of Technology and IT Carlow who will soon become South East Technological University. Throughout the week there are both in-person and virtual events being run for primary and secondary school students. Be sure to check out the Engineers Week Quiz for secondary school students and the Drawing Competition for primary students with prizes up for grabs for the winner of each. To see the full range of fantastic events taking place, check out

WDM Targetboards
A special Targetboards challenge will take place on on March 14. 

Mathematics Unites Photo Challenge
The theme for this year's International Day of Mathematics is 'Mathematics Unites'. Let's connect the world through photos and the universal language of maths. The challenge is to take a picture of yourself with a mathematical thing and the more people the better. Why not team up with your class, family or pets. These mathematical objects could be anything from a geometrical shape to a statue of a famous Mathematician. For full info on the challenge visit
Maths News

Wordle Spin-off, Nerdle takes off

  • Nerdle converts Wordle into a numbers game by challenging players to figure out an eight-character calculation, for example 7+6/3=9, in just six guesses.
  • The game was created in the UK by Richard Mann, who has worked in tech startups for 20 years, after discussing with his teenage children the absence of a Wordle equivalent for maths fans. His son worked out the 17,723 valid solutions for eight-digit Nerdle.
  • Since launching on January 20th, the game been played by more than 1 million people in more than 200 countries.
To have a go at Nerdle yourself, click here
The Humour of Mathematics

Des MacHale is emeritus professor of maths from University College Cork and a recipient of the Maths Week Ireland Award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths. He has written four books about (his predecessor in UCC) George Boole as well as several books on humour.
In a zoom talk for the Gathering4Gardner Celebration of Mind series Des looks at the role that humour plays in the teaching and understanding of mathematics, with hilariously funny illustrations and examples. The Zoom talk will take place on March 21st at 16:00.
The aim is to show how humour humanises the subject, makes it more enjoyable, and show that mathematicians are prepared to laugh at themselves and their subject.
On a more serious level, Des examine structural relations between humour and mathematics, for example, a comparison between the theorem and the joke, and a look at people who had a foot in both camps, such as Lewis Carroll, Stephen Leacock and Tom Lehrer.

For more information and booking visit:

The Gathering4Gardner Celebration of Mind series is a rich source for recreational maths and maths and art material.
Target Boards for March
Target Boards will make their return this Friday.
If you are not already registered already for Spring2022 campaign, you will have to register your class. 
Targetboards and can be accessed through Games and Competitions.

Maths at Work

Do you have a story to tell? 
If so, get in touch with us about how you use maths at work.
Contact us at or fill in our form at

Maths Anxiety with Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleanháin
Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin featured recently on RTE Radio 1 Drivetime speaking about a recent study of maths anxiety in students. She talks about how students can rub off on each other when it comes to their anxiety and how teachers can help to relieve this. To listen to the conversation in full click here.


Dates for your diary in 2022:

March 4th
John Hooper Statistical Poster Competition - closing date for posters to be submitted. 

March 5-11th
Engineers Week & SE EngFest

March 14th
International Day of Mathematics

March 30th
Women in STEM Summit 2022, Dublin

April 8-9th
Irish Science Teachers Association Annual Conference 2022, UCC Cork

April 12-14th
Mathematical Association Conference ‘Mathematical Visions’, online

April 20-21st
European Science Engagement Association
 22 Conference, Cork

June 20-24th
24th Conference of the International Linear Algebra Society, Galway

July 6-14th

International Congress of Mathematicians 

October 15-23rd 
Maths Week Ireland

IMTA Junior Mathematics Competition

The Irish Maths Teachers Association Junior Mathematics Competition takes place this week. The regional round of the competition is being held online. The entry form can be filled out on their Website. Further information will be sent out after registration.
SciFest@College entry form closing date
SciFest@College ran very successfully online in both 2020 and 2021. However, a virtual event cannot capture the excitement and atmosphere of a 'real' SciFest@College STEM fair in a third-level college.
SciFest@College is open to all second-level students and is free to enter. There is a range of awards available at each of the SciFest@College venues; a list of the awards currently available at each venue may be viewed here
The closing date for receipt of completed entry forms to SciFest@College 2022 for all venues, is Friday 11 March 2022.

Teddy Rocks Maths Essay Competition
The competition is open to anyone and entrants can write about any mathematical topic they choose (no hard word limit but a guideline of 1000-2000 words). The deadline for entry is on Thursday 31st March.
The competition is run by Maths Week regular Dr Tom Crawford.
There are two separate cash prizes of £50 for the best student entry (aged 18 and under) and the best winner overall, with all entries published at
The two winners will also be published on the St Edmund Hall (Oxford) website.
You can see the winning entries from last year (both A-level students) along with more details of the competition - including the entry form - here:

This meeting attracts maths education specialists and teachers from around the world. 
More info here 

Follow us on social media to join in our
Puzzle of the Week every Saturday!
Follow us on social media for updates:
Facebook: @MathsWeek
Twitter: @mathsweek
Instagram: MathsIreland
LinkedIn: Maths Week Ireland
Tiktok: @MathsWeek
Get in touch, give feedback and feel free to share your ideas and resources.
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 would like to add to the Maths Map of Ireland, please email with the subject MATHS MAP. 

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland

Douglas Buchanan ~ ~ ~ @dcbeagle1

It is such good news that there is more and more freedom as the COVID virus is starting to dissipate. May this last. My calendar for February and March has / is full, with me travelling around England hosting my infamous maths challenges.
As you all know creating maths teaching is my pet and I am not ashamed to include more ideas and thoughts in the newsletter this month. Also in this edition is another fiendish Dudeney puzzle for you, many ideas with an Easter theme, descriptions of 28 playing card games and activities (your Easter break homework sorted!) and some videos delivering some fun maths facts.

Creative maths teaching
“The bell rings, you tell students to take out their math work, and then...groans of disappointment.” A quote written in a blog, Prodigy which I am sure resonates with many of us teaching young pupils maths. Do look at the 15 ideas and arrangements on the website which can only benefit the enthusiasm of the pupils in lessons.
Another interesting website I have come across is Build Math Minds and their opening quote is: “Are you ready to Build Math Minds and not just create calculators?” This website is managed by a body of teachers whose original teaching methods were very formal and, like many of us, and including me, found that there is more benefit to approach the teaching on maths differently which would enrich the pupil’s thinking. They have produced over 200 15-minute podcasts with some interesting topics and approaches. “Show me your working …… in fact it should read, …” show me my working!” The world of mimicking in the maths lessons is rife!

Puzzle of the Month (a H E Dudeney infamous conundrum)
A bell rope, passing through the ceiling above, just touches the belfry floor, and when you pull the rope to the wall, keeping the rope taut, it touches a point just three inches above the floor, and the wall was four feet from the rope when it hung at rest. How long was the rope from floor to ceiling?
Playing cards – God’s gift to maths learning and teaching
Being a great advocate of playing cards and its relationship to maths skills I have come across the website, We Are Teachers. There is a page describing 28 games and activities which will be enjoyed by your pupils as well as honing their number logic and skills.

Easter bunny activities
Maths Whizz - Several activities for 9 to 11 year olds covering fraction work and simple equations.
Primary Resources is always a reliable website to give a wide variety of activities with a theme. All ages.
More spatial awareness
Several people have approached me and asked to suggest places to visit to increase the range of spatial awareness in the classroom. Point 7 in their list of 16, I quote, “Spatial Intelligence is believed to enhance cognitive skills including IQ.

  • According to research, a single 20-minute session of mental rotation puzzles improved the maths performance of the children in control group compared to their peers.
  • The evidence is compelling and positions Spatial Intelligence at the forefront. There is no reason for parents and educators to ignore this crucial skill. Spatial Reasoning, is indispensable!
  • When you engage your child in simple activities like blocks, painting and drawing, you are essentially enhancing their spatial reasoning skills.
  • For young children, research indicates a direct relationship between spatial reasoning for kids and their arithmetic abilities at primary level.
  • There is also evidence suggesting that these skills influence early reading abilities of children.
  • And when we do lessons on shape and similar spatial awareness activities? Just before half term breaks or end of term “fun” activities.

Fun maths videos
Five Cool Math Tricks Year 6 – 8
15 Mind Blowing Math Facts – insane but true Year 6 – 8
9 tricky riddles - – Years 5 – 8

Puzzle solution
The bell rope must have been 32 ft. I ~ in. in length from ceiling to floor.
Final words
If you have not tried it yet, Nerdle is similar to Wordle but involving number notation. And, if you are looking for a fiendish word activity, that is Wordle but finding four words, then Quordle is the one for you!

A Puzzle for Pancake Tuesday

If you need an easier tool to solve this or want to use different amounts of pancakes, see the 'Try it out yourself' section Here
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