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March 2021
Hello and welcome:

For the Love of Numbers | Radiolab | WNYC Studios

We've been having great fun with number patterns - 
today's date for instance is 4.3.21

We recently had the palindrome date 12-02-2021 and of course international sound engineers day 12.1.21 🙂 See if you can find other dates and number patterns as a fun activity in class or at home. And don't forget that the clocks are changing at the end of the month, find out the maths of time HERE

We have lots more to tell you about, from our own Target Boards competition which has been running for several Fridays now, to International Maths Day on the 14th March. And please join us next Monday 8th for the Robert Boyle Winter School with Luke O'Neill.

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'

And don't forget, there are always great activities over on our website

Ben Dolan
Digital Engagement Manager
Maths Week

In this issue:

March 8th 5pm

Prof Luke O Neill to speak on the success of science in the Covid pandemic

Calmast , the founders and coordinators of Maths Week Ireland, are also founders of the Robert Boyle Winter and Summer Schools, designed to bring scientists and non scientists together to discuss important current and historical advances in science.

On March 8th 5pm, ,in the second lecture of the Robert Boyle Winter school series , we are delighted to have Prof Luke O Neill , Irelands best known scientist, and now a household name speak about the success of science in the fight against the global pandemic of Covid 19.
For bookings and more information:

In the meantime, you can take a look at the Maths of Covid
with our own Kayleigh Foran HERE

Feburary 27th - March 5th
Engineers Week

This week is STEPS Engineers Week  and events are taking place across the island. As you know maths is very important in engineering. Events are online and you can still join in.

The festival is a partnership between Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow who are working together to become a technological university for the South East Region of Ireland. See South East Engineering Festival for details.  There are some excellent careers videos aimed at pupils 15/16+ years old.

Engineers Week is a week-long festival of nationwide activities celebrating the world of engineering. 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
Seachtain na Gaeilge
March 17th is St Patricks day, and the weeks leading up to it have been designated Seachtain na Gailege. In celebration of this, Maths Week is happy to announce that we have many resources for schools in Irish on the Maths Week website.

In addition, Our friend Colm Mulcahy, has also developed some mathematical videos in Irish, check out the latest below...

Check out a list of Colm's upcoming blogs also, perhaps you can help him with his research on The Atlas of Irish Mathematics: Clare (Feb 2021)

International Women's Day is celebrated on 8 March.

Perhaps you could use the occasion to celebrate Women in Mathematics.
Here are some resources
Film recommendations: Hidden Figures.
Fact-based drama about three women whose genius made significant contributions to the space race. Showing on Film4 8 March at 9pm.

Celebrating Women in Mathematics from and on the Island of Ireland
See the material on our sister site mathsireland
Including pen-pictures of female mathematicians in this presentation:


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.

Each year there is a theme for IDM - this year it's 'MATHEMATICS FOR A BETTER WORLD'
Find out about the maths of digital music, insurance, wild fires and loads more at this link:
Events around International Day for Mathematics

12/03/2021         24 hours math buffet
Math Buffet: 24 hours of math puzzles, stories and art will entertain, mesmerize and tickle your fancies.  If you’re fed up eating mathematics by yourself - this is your day! Come and celebrate - solving puzzles together - dancing like a happy fractal - cooking up coordinate cakes."
14/03/2021         Pi Day: International Day of Mathematics
Celebrate in your classroom
15/03/21            "International Day of Mathematics, NMC Series, conference NMC nederlands mathematisch congress”
UNESCO has declared 14 March, also known as Pi Day, as the International Day of Mathematics. In the second edition of the International Day of Mathematics on March 14, 2021, we will celebrate Mathematics for a Better World. We are happy to invite you to our official celebration, organised by EWM-NL taking place online in the afternoon of March 15th.

Schools News

Friday Fun – TargetBoards
Our TargetBoards Competition has been running online each Friday during lockdown.
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

The Leader Boards as we go to press:


Maths at Home Resources

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
Feburary 15th - 28th

With over 120 events across 14 days, NI Science Festival was delivered online through February. There are a few events available to watch online, but sadly not the maths events. 

Video - Zonohedra with George Hart
George Hart is a sculptor and applied mathematician who demonstrates how mathematics is cool and creative in ways you might not have expected. Whether he is slicing a bagel into two linked halves or leading hundreds of participants in an intricate geometric sculpture barn raising, he always finds original ways to share the beauty of mathematical thinking. Recently retired from Stony Brook University, he holds a B.S. in Math and a Ph.D. in EECS from MIT. His research explores innovative ways to use computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork, which is exhibited widely around the world. Hart co-founded the Museum of Mathematics in NYC and developed its initial set of hands-on exhibits.
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.

What's On?

Feburary 27th - March 5th
Engineers Week
Full details at

March 14th
Pi Day: International Day of Mathematics (see above)
8/03/21 -30/05/21          MOOC "Task Design for Math Trails"
Are you interested in doing outdoor mathematics with your students? Do you search for interesting and motivating ways of teaching? Do you want to get in contact with teachers all over Europe? With our MOOC   

09/03/2021         Webinar “Inquiry tasks in university mathematics teaching and learning
We cordially invite you to participate in the webinar focusing on the teaching and learning of mathematics at the university level organized by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships Project PLATINUM (Partnership for Learning And Teaching IN University Mathematics).

09/03/2021         Mathematical Structure in Fiction            
Mathematical concepts have often been used to create new structural forms in fiction, as in the works of Raymond Queneau and Jorge Luis Borges. In this lecture by Gresham Professor Sarah Hart, she will look at how the members of Queneau’s Oulipo group (including Georges Perec and Italo Calvino) sought to create works using various constraints as an impetus to innovation. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (2013) continues in this tradition. And mathematical concepts have even been used as plot devices, such as series of dastardly murders made possible by the mathematical idea of “non-transitivity”.

11/03/2021         Picture a Scientist – panel discussion       
EWM and MATH+ are organizing a panel discussion on gender balance in mathematics in connection with the movie "Picture a Scientist" The panel discussion will take place on March 11

11/03/2021         MathsWorldUK - Evening of Mathematical Surprises
We depend on our intuition to make many of our decisions. Most of the time it works. .. but when it doesn’t it can go spectacularly wrong! Best-selling maths author Rob Eastaway reveals some of his favourite examples of the counter-intuitive. Brace yourself, and be prepared to get things wrong…. Details:

12/03/2021         24 hours math buffet
Math Buffet: 24 hours of math puzzles, stories and art will entertain, mesmerize and tickle your fancies.  If you’re fed up eating mathematics by yourself - this is your day! Come and celebrate - solving puzzles together - dancing like a happy fractal - cooking up coordinate cakes."

March 23rd
SciFest@College Deadline

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions the SciFest@College STEM fairs will again take place virtually in 2021. There are 16 virtual venues and the range of awards currently available at each venue may be viewed here.
Entry is online in the normal way. The entry form is now available here. SciFest@College remains free to enter and is open to all second-level students. The closing date for receipt of completed entry forms to SciFest@College 2021 is Tuesday 23 March 2021.

April 17th - 23rd
Tech Week
Tech Week is a nationwide series of events, showcasing and celebrating Ireland’s application on technology. We provide a platform for students to learn, share ideas and create connections to enhance our future world.

It is much more than a festival; it is an unforgettable lifetime experience for the students who take part.

The intention behind it is as simple as fostering the growth of technology and innovation that have been growing rapidly. Workshop, competition and company visit are some of the activities involved during the event. With numerous event options, there’s something for everyone!

 27/04/21             “Where do Mathematical Symbols Come From?”
Where do we get our mathematical symbols from? Why is the set of integers called ℤ ? When was the equals sign first used? How about zero? Good notation tends to catch on quickly, whereas bad notation can obscure beautiful theory. This lecture by Gresham Professor Sarah Hart explores how the introduction of new notation has paved the way for new leaps in understanding, and considers some mathematical quirks of language, such as what the number 4 in English has in common with the number 11 in Russian.

21/05/21             “The Maths of Life and Death”
Every time you look at the world you are building a model. With every new experience these representations of your environment are refined and reconfigured. Each piece of sensory information you perceive makes the model of reality in your head more detailed and complex. The building of mathematical models, designed to capture our complex reality, is the best way we have of making sense of the rules that govern the world around us. The key to exemplifying these rules is to demonstrate their effects on people's lives: from the extraordinary to the everyday. This talk by Dr Kit Yates will relate true stories of life-changing events in which the use (or abuse) of mathematics has played a critical role. We will meet athletes banned by faulty tests and patients crippled by faulty genes; innocent victims of miscarriages of justice and the unwitting victims of mathematical bugs. We follow stories of investors who have lost fortunes and parents who have lost children, all because of mathematical misunderstanding. We wrestle with ethical issues from abortion to anti-vaccination and examine pertinent societal issues like medical screening, political referenda, disease prevention and criminal justice, on all of which mathematics has something profound or significant to say.

07/05/2021         "The “Mathematical Summer in Paris”
This Paris summer school, July 5-9, 2021, will bring together young people who are passionate about mathematics and allow them to discover some of its many facets. Lectures by famous mathematicians will cover a wide range of topics. There will also be problem solving activities.
If you have highly motivated students  between 16 and 20 years of age, or between two years before and two years after your high school degree, and if you love mathematics, then this school should interest them!
The school will be 100% online, and free of charge."

Maths in the media

Enter the Scratch National Competition 2021

The Scratch National Competition in Ireland is brought to you by the Irish Computer Society team that bring you Tech Week. Scratch is a visual programming language that makes it easy for young people to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share their creations on the web.

The competition is open to students in primary and second level schools in Ireland, and to students attending after-school coding clubs such as Coderdojo. Projects can be about anything the only limit is students imagination.

Find out more and register here.

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
March 2021


Back to School!
With schools in many countries now preparing to “return” to school there will be anxious times and there is bound to be pressure from the parent body expecting accelerated learning. However, is this wise in mathematics? Being a conceptual area of education, maths it is not all about rote learning. Reasoning and logic skills are the areas to develop and this comes from effective teaching methods.
When I was at Teachers’ College at the beginning of the 1970s the Nuffield Foundation was prominent with the philosophy of “I see” - “I do” – “I understand”. How true this statement is still embedded in effective teaching skills. We know rote learning can be harmful in pupils’ mathematical progress and interest in the subject.
Learning tables
Punishments, detentions, sleepless nights, faking illness in the morning. I am sure many will recall these activities and emotions because of the tables test. Learning tables by rote handicaps pupils who are not confident in number concepts. Many and varied tables activities need to be done for them to grasp the importance of tables. It is like learning music notation and not playing an instrument. To help the reluctant learner I have found that giving ownership to them has been effective. Give them a task from the above resources and they produce the display / apparatus and they get their peers or young children in the school to try out his efforts.
Let’s have fun
With pressures of moving back into schools some light relief will make a more comfortable environment.
  • Puzzling – nine mathematical puzzles for 11 – 14 year olds
  • Maths crafts and activities – 20 projects involving art, craft and maths. 7 – 14 year olds (creating extensions of some of the activities will interest the older pupils.
  • Five minute fun – many activities involving dice, counting, art 4 – 8 year olds
Final words
I wish you all well for those returning to “normal” school days and hopefully it makes your lives easier as the routines set in. My aim is to start my maths challenge programme around the country in September. Fingers crossed!
Looking forward to meeting you in person in October during Maths Week! We will find the light at the end of the tunnel very soon!
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.

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