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World Maths Day!

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World Maths Day!Maths-Week



World Maths Day!

You can find lots of activities to do tomorrow at Maths Week Ireland and in Maths Beyond the Textbook at the end of this Newsletter.

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In this issue:

  • World Maths Day.

  • First woman born in Ireland to earn a PhD in Maths

  • SFI Award to Maths Week

  • What’s On: Coming Events

  • Remembering David Singmaster

  • Maths Beyond the Textbook with Douglas Buchanan.


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What’s On

The Mathematics Education for the Future Project

Call for abstracts: A Symposium on Innovative Teaching Practices

Oxford University, UK, Aug 14-18, 2023

The organisers welcome papers and workshops that deal with all aspects of innovation, especially those helping to make our subject more "alive", "realistic" and "accessible" to students. In line with the conference theme, they also welcome papers that show how prior work in the teaching and learning of mathematics has laid the foundation for future directions and innovations. They have an open policy to accept in the programme not only peer-refereed papers, but also workshops and contributions from teachers discussing their innovative work in the classroom.

Possible topics on the theme Innovative Teaching Practices: teaching/learning online and innovative internet apps | self-assessment |group learning | group/class projects |using real life themes for integrated and interdisciplinary teaching | the jigsaw/expert method | Solidarity Assimilation Groups (SAG - Roberto Baldino Brazil) |Exceptional school systems that create and support innovation

Learn More

Interesting Reading

Coming Soon: Mathematicians interred in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.


Remembering David Singmaster

In 2011, we were doing Maths in the City on the streets in the centre of Dublin engaging the general public. A very distinguished man sporting a bushy white beard appeared from the crowd and began showing his own tricks (pictured here). A hushed whisper ran around the many international performers present: “look, it’s Singmaster”. We had only heard the name in connection with Rubik Cubes, and a reputed largest collection of puzzles in the world. It happened that David was a regular visitor to Ireland as his wife Deborah was Irish. The following year for Maths Week Ireland, we invited David over to give a talk on “A Historical Tour of Recreational Mathematics, Through Binary Recreations and Hamiltonian Circuits” at the famous Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.


He was delayed and rang from Heathrow to say he missed his flight. He was determined to come and give his talk and arrived in a taxi directly from the airport, only a few minutes late. He immediately commenced his presentation and won over the audience in minutes with his affable style and expert knowledge. After the talk he explained that he took ill in Heathrow airport and was advised not to travel. In the hotel the next morning at breakfast with other presenters and organisers, he had another turn. While we were on the verge of panic, he was his calm, cheerful self. At the Emergency Room, he produced puzzles and entertained both medical staff and patients. He also told them all to attend Maths Week Ireland events. We were relieved when Deborah arrived from London that evening and he began to recover.


It was a joy to meet David at G4Gs and other events over the years. At the recent European Recreational Mathematics Colloquium / G4G Europe he was mentioned by many. We send our sincere condolences Deborah and Jessica. He will be long and fondly remembered in the recreational mathematics community. As we say in Ireland – Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís – we’ll never see his likes again!


– Eoin Gill & Sheila Donegan




March 2023

Douglas Buchanan ~ [email protected] ~ ~ @dcbeagle1




Inspiration comes in all forms

People ask me why I continue with my maths challenge programme when I could have a quiet life and do things for myself. Well, I recently received an email from a teacher in Norwich saying that her pupils were excited about the challenge, they have decided to organise a weekly Maths Club for the younger ones in the school.

I have been doing some research on maths speakers and presenters and I have come across two videos:

Why Everyone should love maths – a TEDx presentation given by Bobby Seagull of University Challenge fame. I met him during Maths Week Ireland and what an inspirational character.

Maths is everywhere – TEDx student talks given by a 7-year-old. It is remarkable the knowledge and reasoning skills he has.

Puzzle of the Month (a H E Dudeney infamous conundrum)



What are the fewest possible moves?


How are the two trains in our illustration to pass one another, and proceed with their engines in front? The small side track is only large enough to hold one engine or one car at a time, and no tricks, such as ropes and flying switches, are allowed. Every reversal-that is, change of direction-of an engine is counted as a move in the solution. What is the smallest number of moves necessary?


To work on the problem, make a sketch of the track, and on it place counters or coins to represent the engine and carriages.





Easter bunny activities

Maths Whizz - Several activities for 9 to 11 year olds covering fraction work and simple equations.

Primary Resources is always a reliable website to give a wide variety of activities with a theme. All ages.




Websites of the month

Math Playground

A compendium of puzzles, reinforcement, fun for 6 – 11 year olds. Unusual activities with clear graphics and instructions. Ideal to reinforce the four operations for the young mathematicians to gain more confidence, not realising they are doing “proper” maths.

205 Holiday Maths Activities

This is an Australian website and you are going to be surprised at many of the suggestions BUT the holidays is all about resting from the rigours of formal maths and enjoy oneself. “When your kids are on holidays, they don't want to sit down and revise their maths problems. They want to run around and have fun while it lasts!”

28. Teach them a card trick to amaze their friends.
29. Draw a map of your neighbourhood using graph paper.
30. Put together a homemade kite from newspaper and balsa wood.
31. Knit scarves.
32. Learn Double Dutch jump rope.

“Before you start any of these activities, brainstorm with your kids about how to include maths. What can you add? Subtract? Multiply? Find the average? Create a word problem? Count the items”?

Briefing the parents before giving the URL of this website will enhance the objective.

Puzzle solution

Make a rough sketch like our diagram and use five counters marked X, L, R, A, and B. The engines are Land R, and the two cars on the right A and B. The three cars on the left are never separated, so we call them X. The sidetrack is marked S. Now, play as follows: R to left, R to S, XL to right, R to left, XLA to left, L takes A to S, L to left, XL to right, R to A, RA to left, XLB to left, L takes B to S, L to left, LX right away, RA to B, RAB right away. Fourteen moves, because the first and third moves (R to left and XL to right) do not involve a change of direction. It cannot be done in fewer moves.


Final words


More games to look out for your pupils and / or yourself:




Final words

Happy St Patrick’s Day and Happy Easter


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