Maths Week to help alter attitudes

Tue, Oct 2, 2012, 01:00

The forthcoming maths week was a “very important” step in changing attitudes towards maths, the organisers have said.

Details were announced today of the 7th weeklong festival promoting maths across the island which expected to attract 150,000 people.

The events are designed to present maths as “interesting, challenging, rewarding and even fun”, Maths Week Ireland Coordinator Eoin Gill said today.

“This is a very important step to changing attitudes towards maths and when we change attitudes towards maths we can see our maths proficiency start to improve” Mr Gill said.

Mr Gill said there was a mistaken belief that people had to be “hardwired for maths” but said everyone could “learn to enjoy maths” if they could break the “cycle of fear” associated with it.

The festival will include events at primary and secondary schools  but will also have events targeting adults. It was particularly important that parents valued maths and transmitted a positive attitude to their kids, he said.

Minister of State for Innovation Sean Sherlock said that people of all ages “need to understand the importance of maths, not only for their future careers but for their everyday life”.

“If you can get kids to interact in a fun way, that has a longer term effect”, Mr Sherlock said.

Events taking place across the country from October 13th include maths puzzles, maths magic shows,  card trick workshops and an opening day street event called Maths in the City on Dublin’s Grafton Street. It also includes talks such as Mathematics and the Ceide Fields, the Maths in Obama’s Mobile Phone and a lecture on Maths and Sport by Professor John Barrow of Cambridge University.

The event is co-ordinated by Calmast at Waterford Institute of Technology but is run as a partnership of over 50 organisations including institutes of technology and libraries.

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