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May Updates from the world of Maths

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May Updates from the world of Maths



Dear Readers,

It is the start of May which means the start of astronomical summer although it may be a few weeks before we get true summer weather. Enjoy the coming holiday weekend. It also means that exams are coming so we wish all your students the best for upcoming examinations.


If you are out and about enjoying the Spring / Summer weather, don’t forget to use your Maths Eyes, and explore and enjoy the Maths all around us.


We have resources and activities for teachers to do with their pupils on our website and a lot of exciting events coming up for adults like the Robert Boyle Summer School with a Maths and Art session. See below.

There are also a lot of Maths events taking place all over the Island, for details, see the “What’s on Section”.


Keep up to date with us on our social media pages. Click the buttons below to follow our pages and the content we create for you! 

If you have any questions be sure to drop us an email at [email protected]

We’d love to hear from you,

Eoin Gill


In this issue:

  • Spotlight: John Casey, Muriel Wells.

  • Whats On

  • Events This Month

  • Puzzles of the month


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Whats On


This Month

More Courses

Maths Beyond the Textbook

Where are we going wrong?

“Secondary school pupils are so scared of looking stupid in maths lessons they will not tell their teachers if they do not understand, suggests research.


A survey of 1,00010- to 16-year-olds found two-thirds would rather struggle alone or ask friends or family for help. Half of the 15- and 16-year-olds felt they should already know the answer. A government spokes woman said plans to overhaul maths teaching would give children more confidence.


The reasons pupils gave for not asking for help more often were that they were worried about looking foolish, were embarrassed or did not want to draw attention to themselves.”


Puzzle by Henry Ernest Dudeney




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 classroom resources


  • Freshly baked fractions –click here– equivalent fractions for Years 3 and 4

  • Math Cats –click here- a compendium of activities and ideas for Year 3 – 6

  • Engaging maths –click here– covering many areas of maths for Year 3 to 7. There is a good presentation on the properties of a circle.

  • Boardgames which inspire mathematical thinking– click here

When parents ask for “holiday” work the best thing to do is direct them to this website which describes many games which benefit the pupils’ numerical skills and confidence. If you have a Maths Club or activity do get the young mathematicians to explore traditional “board” games which are easy to replicate.


RME– what is it?


The features of RME include the following.

  • Use of realistic situations to develop mathematics

  • Well-researched activities encourage pupils to move from informal to formal representations

  • Less emphasis on algorithms, more on making sense

  • Use of 'guided reinvention'

  • Progress towards formal ideas is seen as a long-term process

In the publication “Using RealisticMathematics Education in UK Classrooms” Paul Dickinson and Sue Hough have observed the following:


·     They stopped asking ‘What is the point of this?’

·     They stopped saying ‘Can we do something different?’

·     I stopped replying ‘We have to do it because you have an exam/test on it’

·     This reinforced for me that learning is a long-term process and that expecting small chunks to be learnt every 15 minutes or so is highly unrealistic.


Much of the material in this article has been taken from the Mathematics Education Innovation website (





As the journey takes five hours, divide the route into five equal distances. Now, when the lady leaves Wurzletown there are four trains on the way and a fifth just starting. Each of these five she will meet. Also, when she has gone one-fifth of the distance, another will start; at two-fifths, another; at three-fifths, another; at four-fifths, another; and when she arrives at Mudville a train will be just on the point of starting. If we assume, as we must, that she does not meet this one "on the way," or meet the one that arrived at Wurzletown just as she left, she will have met altogether nine trains on the journey.



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