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MAY 2021

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

Traditionally May (Bealtaine) in Ireland is considered to be the beginning of summer, The name May is the modern-day English adaption of the Latin word Maius, which has origins going back to the Greek goddess of growth, so May is truly multi-cultural! 

As many of us across the country prepare for exams, spare a though for the students of MIT in 1876 who had this tricky puzzle on their entrance exam - CLICK HERE

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

Enrica Amplo
Public Engagement Co-ordinator
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In this issue:

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!

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 

Now that students are back in school, Calmast STEMreach programme is running once more. The initiative was developed to provide sustained engagement through partnership in the South-East in 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. The problem solving module is very popular with maths teachers. 
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:
All GCSE, AS & A level exams have been cancelled in Northern Ireland for 2021. Instead, a student’s grade in each qualification will be based on their school or college’s professional assessment of the student’s performance on the content they have covered. Schools and colleges can submit their so-called Centre Determined Grades from the end of May and students are expected to have their results by the end of August.

RoI exams:
This year’s Leaving Certificate students have the option to sit their exams, opt for an accredited grade or both (in which case the student is awarded the highest grade). The portal for students to make their choice closed over the weekend (1st May). From student choices on the portal, it seems that students are more likely to sit maths and science subject exams. 84% of students have chosen to sit maths, 85% biology, 87% physics, 88% chemistry and 96% applied maths.

Primary school:
230 3rd- 6th class primary school teachers were surveyed ahead of the ESB Science Blast. 2 in 3 of them felt that maths was the subject most affected by school closures due to COVID-19. However, teachers also reported that 36% of students were showing a greater interest in science since the pandemic began. [ESB Science Blast entries to be submitted by 21st May].
Research from the USA reflects that students are falling behind in maths:

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 Spring 2021 Campaign Leaders
Weekly leader boards can be still found by going to
Junior Leaderboards
St Garvans NS Caroreigh (3039)

(Ms. Bradley)
St Teresa’s NS (2055)
 (Mrs Farrell)
Glinsk N.S. (1453)
(Gráinne Nolan)
St. Mary's & St. Gerard's N.S. (1077)
 (Nicola Healy)
Glenswilly N.S. (445)
 (Ms. McGrath)
lettergesh N.S (356)
 (j harty)
St Oliver Plunkett PS, Beragh (293)
(Mr B Conroy)
St Canices Primary (67)
(Joanne Mooney)
Gaelscoil na Daróige (66)
(Fiachra Ó Donghaile)
St Canices (50)
(Mrs Mooney)
Senior Leaderboard
Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh (3177)
(Caoimhe Uí Nioclás)
St. Mary's & St. Gerard's N.S. (1348)
(Nicola Healy)
Banbridge High School (516)
(Mr Beck)
lettergesh N.S (192)
(j harty)
Scoil Mocheallog (177)
 (E O Dea)
St Teresa’s NS (70)
(Mrs Farrell)
Glor na mara (57)
(Ms Hearne )
St Mary's NS Cobh (32)
(Miss Walsh)
St Canices Primary (22)
(Joanne Mooney)
Scoil Chaitlín Maude (19)
(Múinteoir P)

Maths Resources

Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT)
is a dedicated continuing professional development (CPD) support service of the Department of Education and Skills. The aim is to support schools in their implementation of the new Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) through the provision of appropriate high quality CPD for school leaders and teachers, and the provision of effective teaching and learning resources.
Check out the Maths CPD page


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
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 


Maths Week tops the poll in STEM attendance!

The SFI Science in Ireland Barometer 2020 is a survey and analysis of the Irish public attitudes to science. The results presented in the Barometer are important in informing all stakeholders who are working to support and stimulate greater public engagement and dialogue on STEM. Maths Week once again leads the field, with 28% of people polled attending. It is third in awareness, which is no mean feat given the resources of BTYSTE and Science Week. Maths Week is supported by funding from SFI.

Click on the link for the full report:

What's On?

15th - 23rd May
Bealtaine Living Earth Festival

The 17th Bealtaine Living Earth Festival this year will take place from 15 – 23 May.
Our very popular Living Earth TV will be back this year, with daily broadcasts from 5.30pm daily from 15-23 May. Click below for more details on our broadcast schedule.

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."


Heaventree of Stars is a now annual Bloomsday celebration of astronomy, maths, music and science in Ulysses. Normally a summer’s evening of readings, discussions and music in the original meridian room of the observatory, it will happen online on June 9th.
We will have details in the June Newsletter, but it will book out fast. The James Joyce Centre should have an early listing 

26 – 27 June 2021
Robert Boyle Summer School

The 9th Robert Boyle Summer School will take place from 26 – 27 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
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell 
Dr Michelle diMeo Biographer of Lady Ranael
Visit for more

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
May 2021


The excitement around the world now is watching the workings of the space probe sitting on Mars at the moment. Pupils become obsessed with space and space travel and, of course, the best videos of this topic is from NASA - There are many topics in which you can inform the pupils that it is through maths that all of the missions could happen.

Why use math puzzles to teach?
The website is the complete site explaining why puzzling is essential in maths learning and listing classic puzzles and games to accommodate all ages. “I would love to introduce puzzles but we do not have the time because of the curriculum.” You may be ploughing through the programme but are you taking the pupils with you?

Math puzzles encourage critical thinking
“Critical thinking and logic skills are important for all careers, not just STEM-related ones. Puzzles challenge students to understand structure and apply logical thinking skills to new problems. A study from the Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education found that puzzles “develop logical thinking, combinatorial abilities, strengthen the capacity of abstract thinking and operating with spatial images, instil critical thinking and develop mathematical memory. ”All these skills allow young students to build a foundation of skills they’ll draw on for the rest of their lives, no matter what kind of post-secondary route they pursue.”
Instead of yawns and bored stares, get ready to see eager participants and thoughtful concentration.
Puzzles of the month (Henry Dudeney 1857 - 1930)
“Simple” arithmetic
I asked two people to give me their ages. They did so, and then, to test their arithmetical powers, I asked them to add the two ages together. One gave me 44 as the answer, and the other gave 1,280. I immediately saw that the first had subtracted one age from the other, while the second person had multiplied them together. What were their ages?
Meeting trains
At Wurzletown Junction an old lady put her head out of the window and shouted:
"Guard! how long will the journey be from here to Mudville?"
"All the trains take five hours, ma'am, either way," replied the official.
"And how many trains shall I meet on the way?"
This absurd question tickled the guard, but he was ready with his reply: "A train leaves Wurzletown for Mudville, and also one from Mudville to Wurzletown, at five minutes past every hour. Right away!"
The old lady induced one of her fellow passengers to work out the answer. for her. What is the correct number of trains?
Maths matters in everyday life
The material in this website from Northern Illinois University is ideal for PSHE discussion for 11+ year olds and the opportunity for a range of posters for the classroom wall.
The article lists how people are using maths in their everyday life. Topics include managing money, recreational sports (Are you are darts player?), home decorating and remodelling, cooking, shopping

Resource of the month
From there is a 80-booklet of puzzles which is suited for pupils from 9 years old upwards.

Puzzles of the month solutions
“Simple arithmetic
64 and 20
Meeting trains
Nine trains
Final words
If anybody would like me to do any research for them to find appropriate material for a topic, for a certain group of pupils, for family participation please do contact me.

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