17th September 2020: Maths Week Ireland has been launched by Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD. The annual festival of maths returns from the 10th to 18th October with a range of largely virtual / online events and is set to attract participation by schools and people all over the island. Over 15 years Maths Week Ireland has grown to be the biggest such festival in the world 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.

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. 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 lineup of MathsWeekTV presenters includes Bobby Seagull, popular 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, leading STEM presenter Ken Farquhar 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.

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 Ireland will connect online with each other and with schools in Africa for a maths workshop.
  • Nationwide Daily Maths Challenges will be taking place in schools across the country 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.

Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD said, “I’m delighted to launch Maths Week 2020. We use maths in every aspect of our lives including practical everyday activities in school, at home and beyond. Therefore, engaging children with maths and numeracy from an early age nurtures the skills of inquiry and problem solving, in turn helping them to make informed decisions and to understand the world around them. Maths Week helps to prepare our children for their future lives.

To succeed at any subject area a positive attitude is essential, and Maths Week has been very successful in helping to build a positive attitude towards maths for all. I am delighted to see primary and post-primary schools, universities, institutes of technology and partners north and south working together with government and industry to achieve this. I wish this year’s festival every success, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the various events that will be happening across the island.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to continue its support of Maths Week, which aims to raise awareness and appreciation of maths and numeracy among young people, parents and the general public. I would encourage everyone to get involved in activities during the week. Maths skills form an important part of managing our everyday lives and are also a key driver of future skills and jobs.”

Eoin Gill, 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 all across Ireland.”

Co-ordinated by Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM Engagement Centre, Maths Week is supported by Department of Education and Skills, SFI Discover Programme, Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, ESB and tech firm Xilinx. It is run with more than 60 partner organisations including universities, institutes of technology, libraries, schools, training colleges, visitor centres and employers.

Full programme and details of how to get involved are available on the Maths Week website www.mathsweek.ie with ongoing event and programme updates available in advance and throughout Maths Week via Facebook @MathsWeek2020 and Twitter @mathsweek and #mathsweek20