Maths Week Newsletter April 04/04/22

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Maths Newsletter April 2022
Welcome to the April Newsletter
There are some Egg-celant activities going on throughout April and we can't wait to tell you about them. In our April newsletter you can find out what famous comedian won the 2021 Maths Week Ireland Award, how your class can win prizes by solving maths challenges and how the mind of a mathematician may not fit your sterotype.
We also have our regular column from Douglas Buchanan with some thought-provoking ideas and excellent resources for teachers. 
So as we look forward to the improving weather this Easter we hope you enjoy the news, resources and coming events we have 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.
Dara Ó Briain presented with the 2021 Maths Week Ireland Award for Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics

Left to right: Sheila Donegan, Dara Ó Briain, Eoin Gill 

Mr. Ó Briain received the award in an online ceremony during Maths Week 2021 but due to covid restrictions and scheduling, he has now been presented with the award. The award was inaugurated in 2016 to honour outstanding work in raising public awareness of mathematics on the island of Ireland. Ó Briain’s infectious enthusiasm for maths, demonstrated across a variety of different platforms through the years, make him a worthy winner of this award.

Dara had this to say on receiving the award“I’m very flattered and privileged to receive this award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths in Ireland. Maths Week itself is a great initiative as it shows us maths and numeracy are for everyone regardless of your level of proficiency. I would like to congratulate the Maths Week team for their work in promoting maths, it’s incredible to see the huge numbers participating. I’ve always had an interest in maths and am very pleased that I’ve been able to share that interest with a wider audience.

“I don’t consider myself an expert in maths, but I’m an enthusiastic fan and I do try to help promote the work of those who are. To that point, I would like to dedicate this award to Professor Seán Dineen (Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, UCD) who helped to inspire me and my love of maths.  Maths is the language in which the universe is written. It’s innate to the human brain and a spectacular thing that we’ve discovered. It permeates our lives, so it’s important to engage with it positively and I’m delighted to be able to help people to do that.”

The award was individually crafted by Irish silversmith Seamus Gill and is modelled to represent a Mobius Strip, a twisted strip that, bizarrely, has only one side.

IMTA Codebreaking in Transition Year

Irish Maths Teachers Association's final CPD session of the 21/22 academic year. Feel free to share poster with maths teacher friends. CODEBREAKING in Transition Year. Register here
Maths News
Northern Irish schools urged to sign up to national maths challenge
  • Popular learning programme, SplashLearn, has announced the second UK edition of its popular Springboard Maths Challenge. The SpringBoard Maths Challenge 2022 is open to all classes from Year 1 through Year 6 in the UK, and runs from March 1 - May 8, 2022.
  • Participation is free and once enrolled, students can immediately start solving maths problems that will earn them points individually as well as adding up and counting towards the total class score.
  • The best performing classes with the highest points win weekly prizes at both a county and national level. The final winners will be announced at the end of SpringBoard, with prizes worth in excess of £8,000 up for grabs.
  • Registration for teachers and entry to the competition is open, and teachers can sign up by visiting the Splash Learn website.
To read the full article Click Here
The mind of the mathematician

This recent article by Peter Lynch in the Irish Tmes discusses the stereotype of mathematicians being scatterbrained individuals but in reality, they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
  • Sweeping statements about groups of people are risky but can be fun too and can provide insight. At the risk of cliche, we might start with absentmindedness.
  • Stories abound about mathematicians oblivious to their surroundings, missing lectures and appointments, or forgetting to eat their lunch. They have been known to drive to work, take the bus or train home and wonder next day where the car has gone. Are they really so chronically scatterbrained?
  • Mathematical research involves sustained and focused work. The months or years of concentrated and intensive work required to develop a proof can be exhausting. A somewhat scattered mind and eccentric behaviour may be an inevitable consequence.
  • In general, mathematicians are happily married, reasonably competent parents and good citizens. They are not noted for orgiastic behaviour, violence or excessive use of drugs.
To read the full article visit the Irish Times website.
Target Boards for April
Target Boards will make their return this Friday.
We apologise for missing last Friday (well, it was April Fool's day!). We will continue the Spring Campaign to the end of meteorological Spring which is the end of May, so we will run every Friday until 27 May. 
If you are not already registered already for the 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
The Atlas of Irish Mathematics: Kildare before 1970

Maths Ireland Blogs - Kildare and Fermanagh
The 29th bi-monthly regional Irish-focused blog has been released and it highlights 111 mathematical minds associated with Kildare.
29 means that our intrepid maths chronicler, Colm Mulcahy has nearly visited all counties on the island. Although, his work wont be finishing any time soon as he will be revisiting some of the larger centres - Dublin, Belfast, Cork etc. to bring those listings up to the present day. 
Shortly, the 30th blog will feature those born in or working in Fermanagh and it is expected that there will be over 30 people featured. 
To view the latest blog and all previous blogs, visit the Mathematics Ireland website.
The Maths Map of Ireland
The Maths Map of Ireland is an exciting new project from Maths Week Ireland and the ESB. The project has created 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. 

Maths Anxiety with Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleanháin
Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin - Raising Public Awareness of Maths Award winner 2020 - 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:
April 2nd 
IAMTA annual conference, Galway

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

May 4th
Scifest regional young scientist competition, WIT, Waterford

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

Get ready for National Numeracy Day UK

  • National Numeracy aims to challenge negative attitudes, influence public policy and offer practical ways of helping adults and children improve their numeracy in the community, the workplace and formal education.
  • National Numeracy Day takes place on the 18th of May and is looking to get as many schools, workplaces and organisations involved as possible.
  • Schools and communities can sign up and become National Numeracy Day Champions. If you sign up now, in the build up to May 18th you will receive free materials and resources to use and share to join over 2,810 other champions
To sign up visit
SciFest@College Regional Finals
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.
Over the months of April and May the SciFest regional competitions will take place in 15 third-level institutes across the country. There are awards up for grabs in a number of different categories. Waterford Institute of Technology will host its regional final on May 4th. 
SciFest@College is open to all second-level students and is free to enter. More details available 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.

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland

Douglas Buchanan ~ ~ ~ @dcbeagle1

Many are looking forward to the Spring break and several will be on holiday already. This newsletter concentrates on giving you ideas for the summer in the form of projects. Being the most relaxed period in the academic year, after the dreaded assessments, the pupils can be let loose and enjoy the extended work.
Last week, at one of my maths challenges for 10-year-olds, there was a blind young mathematician and she could read Braille. Not many people realise that Louis Braille did not create this system for the blind. He was commissioned by Napoleon to produce a reading system for the soldiers to read instructions and commands in the dark.
Braille combinations            Braille combinations worksheet
Learning by Braille – using Braille in maths problems
A wonderful way to introduce geometry through “art and craft”
Tessellation activities – 2D and 3D
Creating M C Escher’ tessellations – this video demonstration gives clear and effective methods to create Escher-type shapes
11 tessellation projects
Making clocks
Water clock
Sand timer
Candle clock
Straw and marble clock
I find in the formal world of teaching pupils are told the formulae for circles – area, circumference – and introduced a symbol called Pi. But what does Pi represent?
Pi using Pies – Matt Parker.
Pupils can find inventive ways to represent Pi with materials in the classroom or even outside.
Creating board games
Creating a board game brings out the creativity of the pupils but also gets them to appreciate that a great deal of work is required to create a “perfect” game. Pupils must make the games simple!
Board games overview
Board game Ideas from Stem Learning
Final words
Enjoy your Spring break and do come back refreshed for, what I think, is the best term of the year.


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