Maths Week Ireland Newsletter

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February 2021

Hello and welcome:

Spring is upon us as we head into the second and shortest month of the year, check out this fascinating insight into the statistics of spring from HERE

We're really excited about N.I. Science Festival starting on Monday 15th - there's two weeks of great events and experiences, genuinely something for everyone! Then Engineers Week later in the month promises to be a lively event, with challenges and activities to celebrate the world of Engineering. Calmast will be organising events for the south East, check for details.

We have lots of other things to tell you about, from our own Target Boards competition which has been running for several Fridays now, to an exciting poster competition for International Maths Day!

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 [email protected] 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:

Feburary 15th - 28th

With over 120 events across 14 days, NI Science Festival 2021 will feature a mixture of unforgettable outdoor experiences across Northern Ireland, virtual talks from some of our favourite science communicators from around the globe, online interactive workshops and the biggest Schools & Educators programme we've ever assembled.
Be it online, in person or a mixture of both, in this most unique of years where science has rarely been as prominent in society, as well as our daily lives, we invite all to celebrate the Science of You, The Universe and Everything In-Between.

Feburary 27th - March 5th
Engineers Week

STEPS Engineers Week 2021 takes place from Saturday, 27 February – Friday, 5 March.
Calmast will be organising events for the south East, check for details.
Engineers Week is a week-long festival of nationwide activities celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland.
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

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.

Schools News

Weekly Supports for Remote/Blended Teaching in the Current Context
If you want support with remote teaching of maths sign up for drop-in clinics and remote teaching sessions below.

Drop-in Clinics

Our weekly drop-in clinic provides the opportunity for teachers to obtain individual support on issues arising from the remote/blended teaching of Maths.
You can book a one to one 20-minute time slot with a member of our team at the next drop-in clinic which will be held on Monday, 8th February from 15.30-17.30. A few slots are still available for this date.
Some suggested areas of focus may include:
  • Assessment in Mathematics
  • Digital tools to support Maths teaching
  • Rich tasks & Differentiation
  • GeoGebra
  • Using your VLE to support teaching

Remote/Blended Maths
Wednesday, 10th February

This weekly event starts with a short overview of the designated theme which is related to remote/blended teaching of Maths, followed by a 20 minute Q&A session. Questions around the theme may be asked during the event but we also encourage attendees to submit questions in advance.
To attend this event, register here.
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 HEREThe Leader Board 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

Cancellations of presentations
It is with regret I have had to cancel my weeks of workshops involving schools in Ireland and England. On my website
I have put the link to one of my presentations on YouTube which is appropriate for 9 to 13 year olds and the link to my Puzzling booklets is
We still have Douglas’ regular Column below.



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.

What's on?

Feburary 6th - 7th
International Conference on Mathematics Education and Student Performance, Lisbon

Open Science Research Excellence
The International Research Conference is a federated organization dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program. Events will run over a span of time during the conference depending on the number and length of the presentations. With its high quality, it provides an exceptional value for students, academics and industry researchers.

Feburary 6th - 15th

In 2021 the theme of the International Day of Mathematics is Mathematics for a Better World. Create a poster that shows one way to make the world a little bit better using mathematics. Instead of words, use pictures combined with numbers, formulas, geometric shapes, and other mathematical elements to express your idea. Use mathematics so people worldwide can understand it, even if they don't speak your language.

You have extra time to join the challenge
The guidelines, tips, and examples are now available in Spanish, and six other languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Turkish), so it was decided to provide some extra time for the new participants.
You can submit your poster until March 1.
Full details on

Feburary 15th - 28th

Feburary 15th - 19th
The Virtual Maths Retreat.

Mathematicians Katie Steckles and James Grime are running a week-long series of online workshops for 11-16 year olds this February half term (15-19th Feb), called the Virtual Maths Retreat. Packed with interactive enrichment activities, the sessions will be a chance for keen young mathematicians to discover mathematical topics from outside the school curriculum and develop their problem-solving skills. Tickets cost £45 for five 90-minute sessions across the week, and places are limited! Details/booking at

Feburary 27th
John Hooper Medal for Statistics Competition 2021 Posters to be submitted by 5pm, 26 February 2021 to [email protected]

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

March 14th
Pi Day: International Day of Mathematics

March 23rd
SciFest@College Deadline

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions the [email protected] 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. [email protected] remains free to enter and is open to all second-level students. The closing date for receipt of completed entry forms to [email protected] 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!

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.

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 [email protected] with the subject MATHS MAP.

DCBEAGLE Challenges

BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
November 2020

The home teaching dilemma continues with regards to inspiring the pupils to stay on task and develop their learning skills. I do not envy schools at the moment, but I know with the staff’s creativity, the schools are still benefitting. I witnessed this yesterday when I hosted two of my presentations and the perception was the “wheel” was well oiled.

Cancellations of presentations
It is with regret I have had to cancel my weeks of workshops involving schools in Ireland and England. On my website ( I have put the link to one of my presentations on YouTube which is appropriate for 9 to 13 year olds and the link to my Puzzling booklets  - and still counting - is There is also an archive of these newsletters on the website as well.

Puzzle of the week (another H E Dudeney infamous conundrum)
A Question of Transport
Twelve soldiers had to get to a place twenty miles distant with the quickest possible dispatch, and all had to arrive at exactly the same time. They requisitioned the services of a man with a small car.
"I can do twenty miles an hour," he said, "but I cannot carry more than four men at a time. At what rate can you walk?"
"All of us can do a steady four miles an hour," they replied.
"Very well," exclaimed the driver, "then I will go ahead with four men, drop them somewhere on the road to walk, then return and pick up four more (who will be somewhere on the road), drop them also, and return for the last four. So all you have to do is to keep walking while you are on your feet, and
I will do the rest."
They started at noon. What was the exact time that they all arrived together?

The world of playing cards
I was brought up in a world of playing cards and board games and I am sure it was these activities which developed my reasoning skills and interest in mathematics. Below is a “menu” of resources which I hope you can use now, and in the future when schools are reopened fully.
Playing cards are cheap and so versatile, they can be used in games, naturally, maths skills, magic tricks and “construction”. Ideally investing in two packs of cards will cover most projects and activities. For younger children the mini (patience) cards are ideal.
20 Fun Zoom games for kids
Solitaire card games
10 Amazing Card Tricks for Kids
Building a Card House
The world of paper and pencil activities
Dr Mike’s Maths Games – all printable
The world of pencil sport
Pencil cricket

Pencil football

  • Choose teams who will play in your league – start with 10 teams
  • Create a session’s programme with home and away matches – maybe start just with one match against each team.
  • Prepare a hexagonal pencil by scraping the paint (about 1cm in length) on each side.
  • Label them 0  0  1  1  2  3 (you can have your own values)
  • Roll the pencil for the scores – the first roll is for the home team and the second roll is for the away team
  • Using all the results create a league table – 3 points for a win, 1 point each for a draw
  • For older pupils they may want to create the league table using a spreadsheet

Puzzle of the month solution

A question of transport

The car should take four men 12 miles and drop them 8 miles from their destination; then return 8 miles and pick up four men from the eight who have walked to that point; then proceed 12 miles and drop the second four 4 miles from destination; then return 8 miles and pick up the last four, who will be 8 miles from the starting point; then drive these 12 miles to their destination, where all will arrive at the same time. The car has thus gone 52 miles, which would take 2  hours. The time of arrival was, therefore, 2:36pm.

Final Words

Just to end with a few inspiring quotes:

“Mathematics is the music of reason.” — James Joseph Sylvester, English mathematician

Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.” — William Paul Thurston, American mathematician

Mathematics may not teach us to add love or subtract hate, but it gives us hope that every problem has a solution.” — Anonymous

From me: keep safe, keep well, keep positive.

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 © 2020 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

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