Festival line-up aims to help people ‘Rethink Maths’

The annual festival of maths returns from October 10 -18 with a range of largely virtual / online events and is set to attract participation by schools and people all over the island. This year’s event is backed by Irish Ladies Hockey captain and Coleraine girl, Katie Mullan. A self- confessed ‘maths fan’ the subject forms a large part of her day job as a biomedical engineer.

Katie says, “I love maths and studied it to A-Level and it was a large part of my mechanical engineering degree and my masters in biomedical engineering. I would encourage more people and especially girls to stick with maths and look at the many career opportunities it offers. Maths skills are a key part of running our everyday lives and are also a key driver of future skills and jobs – now more important than ever given the impact of the global pandemic.”

“I’m thrilled to be a Maths Week ambassador and urge pupils, teachers, parents and the public in general to check out the website, mathsweek.ie and take part in the many activities online and the pop-up Maths Trails in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens and on walls of Derry~Londonderry.”

Now in its 15th year, this year’s celebration will look a little different with health restrictions meaning few physical events can take place. However, the fun and magic of maths week will be replicated in lots of virtual events across the week. An online exciting and fun scavenger hunt to get the whole family involved takes place on Saturday October 10. Running throughout the course of the week will be the new ‘MathsWeekTV’ which will be hosted by a range of engaging and entertaining personalities and be watched by primary and secondary school audiences.

The line-up of MathsWeekTV presenters includes Bobby Seagull, popular British TV presenter, and Maths teacher. Bobby is a regular contributor to Radio Four’s Puzzle for Today and a columnist for the Financial Times and co-presented a BBC TV series Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain.

Other presenters include highest selling maths author Kjartan Poskitt, who has sold over 5 million ‘Murderous Maths’ books, Ken Farquhar, one of Britain’s leading STEM presenters and Caroline Ainslie, who is a co-organiser of the Global STEAM Lesson who aims to teach the mathematical fundamentals of shape, space and measurement with the use of soap bubbles and giant balloons. Being online means Maths Week can bring YouTube star Tom Crawford from Oxford or “Mathematician at Large” James Tanton into schools across the island from his base in Arizona. There will also be many local presenters and fun activities for the schools and the home.

Maths Week Ireland has grown to be the biggest festival of its type in the world and is now replicated in Scotland and England. A fun, all-inclusive celebration, Maths Week promotes and develops a positive attitude towards maths in young people, and a wider awareness of the importance of maths across all sectors of society. Cross-community and cross-border participation is an important part of Maths Week.

Eoin Gill, co-founder of Maths Week Ireland, said, “This year we face challenges across the globe and it would be easy to cancel Maths Week. However, with the disruption to young people’s education, Maths Week is needed more than ever to motivate and encourage pupils. Therefore, we are ensuring that we deliver a blended online and real-world festival for Maths Week 2020. We reached over 400,000 people last year and without face-to-face events we don’t know what the engagement will be this year, but online delivery ensures that everyone on the island can be involved. We are really excited about the programme of events we have planned, and the opportunity to bring the message of Maths Week to people across the island of Ireland.”

Additional highlights of the week include:

  • Maths Week Magic workshops – schools across the island will have the chance to join in online workshops learning about the magic of maths.
  • Online Family Scavenger Hunt with Maths Week enthusiast Steve Sherman. Get the entire family involved and spend Maths Week solving problems in the most unusual ways. Does your family have what it takes to join the adventure?
  • Hands-on Maths – every day Maths Week Ireland will be recommending hands on maths activities that teachers can share with their students and for parents to do at home.
  • Connected Classrooms – primary schools all across the island will connect online with each other and with schools in Africa for a maths workshop
  • Daily Maths Challenges will be taking place in schools throughout the course of the week.
  • Maths Week Ireland Award Ceremony 2020 – The recipient of the Maths Week Award 2020 will be announced for their contribution to Raising Public Awareness of Maths.

For events, resources and the full programme visit mathsweek.ie

Schools can sign up to take part at mathsweek.ie/2020/register/

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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