Seek the Evidence with Midlands Forum

Local development company, Midlands Science is pleased to announce the first event which will take place later this summer as part of its new Science Communities project, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme. This initiative is designed to build impactful dialogue and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy.

The first forum which is scheduled to take place online on August 19th will focus on ‘Science in everyday life. Science and scientific evidence.’ As citizens, consumers and patients, we make decisions every day that are affected by science. From miracle anti-aging serums to cures for diseases, this event will open discussion on how we understand science and how to discern evidence so we can make good decisions for ourselves.  Participants will explore different scientific disciplines, the meaning of scientific evidence and whether we can we trust it? It will also look at the quality of research against what is just sensationalised.

Key event speaker, Dr Isabela Aparicio from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland commented,

‘I’m really looking forward to joining the new Midlands Science programme, Science Communities and to virtually engage with this group over the coming months. We are constantly bombarded with scientific information on the news and social media. In particularly over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this information overload, and we have seen rising levels of mixed reporting, misinformation, fake news, and even conspiracy theories, making it very difficult for the public to know on what to trust. We have a pressing need to know how to access the reliable evidence and we hope that in running this forum as part of the overall Science Communities project that we can engage the public and help them to question what they hear in everyday media.’

Other upcoming Science Communities events will include discussions on Sugar, Spice & everything Science – The Science of Food & Alcohol,  Viruses, Vaccines and Immunity – The Science of Diseases and Medicine and Health – Who and how we can trust?

The project will run during the months of August, September, October and November.  If you are interested in taking part in this project please email outreach@midlandsscience.ie 

 

Connecting Communities Through Science

Midlands Science is pleased to announce Science Communities, an exciting new project which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme and is designed to build impactful dialogue and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy. The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how science and science-based decision making has a powerful effect on our future economic and social wellbeing. It has also taught us about the importance of trusting science, fostering connection and having high-quality dialogue and shared learning. 

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman commented,  

 ‘In order to have an engaged public, it is important to recognise that science is not limited to formal education and is not just a collection of facts. It should also allow people to challenge what they read and hear about. Through community forums, we want to create a realistic and open conversation about the science behind decisions, how scientific evidence informs public health advice and how this information is communicated to the general public. We want to explore where there could be misinformation and resistance among the general public and use this as an opportunity for people to become more informed. We will be encouraging open debate and effective conversation between members of the public, experts from the fields of science and health care and the policy makers in our society. We are keen to be as inclusive as possible and we will therefore be aiming to have a broad range of people from across the Midlands taking part in these forums which will explore a range of issues from food and alcohol to diseases and positive psychology and much more.’ 

 These forums, which will feature leading Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology, Luke O’ Neill will explore the following topics: 

Show me the Evidence – Exploring Science & Scientific Evidence 

 Sugar, Spice & everything Science – The Science of Food & Alcohol  

 Viruses, Vaccines and Immunity – The Science of Diseases 

 Medicine and Health – Who and how we can trust? 

 As an additional support, all ‘Science Communities’ participants will be offered free training in LIFT facilitation skills. LIFT is a not for profit organisation which aims to increase the level of positive leadership in Ireland.  This project is a collaborative opportunity for people to enhance their skills and enable themselves to become leaders of science engagement in their communities. It will consist of four public engagement forums and one LIFT training day. Given the current restrictions that are still in place nationwide, these public engagement forums and training days will take place online. The project will run during the months of August, September, October and November.  

 Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: 

“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this Science Communities initiative, facilitating open dialogue at a time when understanding how scientific evidence informs public health advice is so important. This inclusive approach to science outreach will hopefully help members of the public feel more informed and more connected to the science behind public health policy, while allowing policy makers to build confidence and trust, by listening to and engaging with the public.” 

Jackie Gorman continued,  

“We are now seeking people from the Midlands to engage with this project. If you are interested in facilitating discussions and taking in part in open dialogue with others around the topics of health, pandemics, science-based decision making, communication and misinformation, we would like to hear from you. We will be asking a small number of participants to take part in interviews at different stages and this will be crucial to reviewing the overall success of the project but it is not necessary to have any prior knowledge of science in order to partake. We are looking for a broad range of people from the midlands to participate and we are particularly interested in engaging people who would not usually interact with science or STEM in their everyday lives.” 

If you are interested in taking part in this project please email outreach@midlandsscience.ie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Midlands Science Launch 2020 Annual Report

Midlands Science has this week launched its annual report for 2020. This report is presented at a time when there is more global awareness than ever before of the role of science and technology in comprehending and handling infectious disease. Against a dramatically different backdrop and as the world jointly tackles Covid-19, Midlands Science has continued to engage in valuable STEM education development work over the past year.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘So many aspects of life have undoubtedly changed over the past twelve months as we have worked together to stop the spread of the virus. In a time of great disruption and uncertainty, we have seen everyone coming together collectively for the common good. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of Midlands Science trustees, global and Irish partners and sponsors and all other providers and associates for their ongoing support as we work towards a well-qualified and increasingly diverse STEM skills base here in the Midlands region. We had a total of 22, 245 participants last year across all activities. As the whole world is striving to contain Covid-19, one of the things that we can be certain of is the vital role that science is playing in helping to bring this pandemic to an end.”

The ongoing global crisis has really brought an awareness to the way in which we all work, learn and consume information and is having rapidly evolving impacts on global business practices.  Midlands Science is funded by a number of public, private and philanthropic sources including the Ireland Funds Donor Network and Rethink Ireland, which provides funding and vital capacity building supports.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland commented,

‘Midlands Science were awarded a Rethink Ireland grant in 2018. With the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all suddenly virus experts, generating an opportunity to continue generating interest in STEM education among young people. Midlands Science engages and encourages young people to pursue careers in science-related fields and shows them that science can be exciting and meaningful, as well as educational. It has been a privilege to play a part in their journey.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not yet over but as we look towards recovery, Midlands Science will continue to deliver to deliver impactful science education awareness particularly in the Midlands – working in partnership across the outreach ecosystem and with industry, Government and academia.  Details of all activities which were undertaken in 2020 are detailed in the annual report which will be available to view on www.midlandsscience.ie and we look forward to continuing this work with everyone who has a stake in realising future STEM related education development opportunities here in the Midlands in the coming years

#believeinscience

https://online.fliphtml5.com/ydvji/ilyk/#p=1

Midlands Science Deliver Training for Best Practice in Science Outreach

Local development company Midlands Science has been continuing to provide science education outreach work over the past year in spite of the very challenging situation the world now finds itself in. In addition to virtually delivering plenty of science workshops and interactive events since March 2020, Midlands Science has also recently commenced a new project online around building Science Capital in the Midlands with participation from twelve organisations, providing vital capacity building in best practice in science outreach. This initiative is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme and training for the participants is currently underway with University College London and the Science Museum Academy.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said:

“Science Foundation Ireland is pleased to support this Science Capital project, which will contribute towards the development of our nation’s scientific curiosity and literacy. By offering tools and training to understand what influences our engagement with science, we can facilitate more inclusive and diverse conversations, provide equal access to careers in science and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to find personal meaning and connection with STEM.”

CEO of Midlands Science Jackie Gorman commented,

‘Science capital can help us to understand why people from all backgrounds participate in and engage with science and how their engagement can vary through a range of science-related experiences. It also sheds light on why particular social groups remain underrepresented and why many young people do not see science careers as being suitable for them.  We have a diverse group of people on board for this training from fields of local development, youth work and heritage, all of whom interact with a wide range of people in their work. Each participant was were selected in 2020 to take part in this Science Capital training through Midlands Science with University College London and the Science Museum London as part of a Science Foundation Discover Award received by Midlands Science.’

The aim is that this Science Capital training will provide research not only around participation in science but will also focus on the many other important factors that come into play, including gender, teaching, education and culture. This training will be a valuable addition to Midlands Science’ own resources and will hopefully help us to continue to encourage more future generations to choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Miriam Harte from Camara who is participating in the training commented,

‘My experience of the Science Capital Training Programme has been incredibly positive. I’ve learned a huge amount of new information about communicating science, especially with harder-to-reach audiences. The standard of speakers and facilitators has been excellent, each sharing a unique and interesting way of approaching new science capital concepts. This training has definitely changed the way I look at my work and how I communicate with my target audience. I’m really looking forward to finding more ways to integrate my learnings within my own work and to sharing this with my colleagues. I very much felt that, during a time of great adjustment and stress in 2020, it has been reassuring to have this consistent group of peers to brainstorm the educational challenges which we’ve faced and the ways in which we can overcome these challenges with a bit of self-reflection and creativity.’

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘As Covid19 hit a number of our annual programmes, it also impacted the execution of this training. We had to pivot delivery online and as part of additional supports, we then provided science communications training with Dr Niamh Shaw and online engagement best practice with Maebh Coleman of Technological University Dublin. The group also commenced training online with University College London and the Science Museum London and this will run into 2021. A number of participants will also undertake additional portfolio work which will allow them to become science capital trainers and spread their learning further in their networks and communities. The provision of this training is a vital part of Midlands Science work to develop capacity with partners and to provide access to international best practice in science outreach.’

 

 

 

 

Integra LifeSciences partner with Midlands Science for STEPS Engineers Week 2021

Barry W. Fitzgerald, BW Science, author of Secret Science of Santa Claus & Secrets of Superhero Science.
photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Midlands Science is delighted to once again have support from Tullamore based medical technology company, Integra LifeSciences in the local, virtual roll out of events for this year’s STEPS Engineers Week. This annual, national event promotes engineering and the importance of the profession to children in Ireland. Last year marked the largest ever celebration of engineering in the community with over 92,000 participants taking part in 980 activities nationwide. The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students in the Republic of Ireland through a portfolio of projects.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“For this year’s STEPS Engineer’s Week, Midlands Science will come together on a digital platform along with a host of sponsors and presenters to present a range of interactive online activities. Our overall aim is to inspire young people of all ages to think about the vibrancy of engineering as a career and to demonstrate what an important role it plays in so many aspects of everyday life. It’s important to provide thought-provoking activities for children and their parents about engineering and technology, despite not being able to physically attend events or give students a behind-the-scenes taste of engineering as we would have done in previous years.’  

 Here in the Midlands, Engineer’s Week usually offers young people and teachers to engage directly with a variety of inclusive and diverse engineering experiences, so that they can make that important connection between school learning and real careers. In past years, Integra Life Sciences has addressed students in person in schools in the Offaly area to demonstrate the breadth of creative and innovative careers on offer and even though we are not in a position to do that this year due to the pandemic, we feel it is vital to continue to engage with the future generation in a fun and meaningful way that explores engineering in its many forms. The digital events being run by Midlands Science with support from Integra LifeSciences for Engineer’s Week is a really effective way to do this.

John O’Donovan, Plant Manager, Integra LifeSciences Tullamore commented,

“Integra LifeSciences is delighted to continue to support Midlands Science. We look forward to supporting the celebration of all things Engineering in the 2021 STEPS Engineers Week. It is going to be a fun filled event that will develop further awareness of the impact of Engineering on all of our lives and hopefully inspire the next generation to see the potential of a career in an Engineering field.”

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘We firmly believe that now more than ever, we need to continue to encourage young people from all backgrounds to consider a career in engineering and to provide them with the knowledge they need to learn about and to progress into the sector. We are delighted to once again celebrate STEPS Engineer’s Week which shines a light on the profession and helps students to make informed decisions about their education and careers.’

For more information on STEPS Engineers Week and to access free resources and activities, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/schools/engineers-week

 

About STEPS

The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach scheme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and has four industry sponsors including ARUP, ESB, Intel and TII.

 

 

 

 Virtual Events to Inspire Future Engineers

Get Ready for STEPS Engineers Week 2021 in the Midlands

Local development company, Midlands Science has unveiled details of a range of activities which will take place online to celebrate national STEPS Engineers Week 2021, which runs from February 27th – Friday March 5th. The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS Engineers Week is Ireland’s largest celebration of engineering in the community with participants taking part in activities nationwide. This year, it will be a virtual event for the first time ever as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but there will still be plenty of inspiring online engineering workshops on offer in the Midlands.

The programme includes a family event exploring space exploration and engineering with Ireland’s best known science communicator Dr Niamh Shaw who even brough a Stargazer Lottie doll with her during her time at DRMARS, a simulated Mars facility! The week also includes workshops building Marble Runs with Christine Campbell from Anyone 4 Science. Marble Runs are a great way to explore engineering and children have lots of run learning that by making your track just steep enough to overcome friction, you can keep your marble rolling for a long time ! The ever-popular Dr Barry Fitzgerald of Superhero Science will be running workshops on how to build an Ironman suit and how to become an engineer. A special episode of the Midlands Science series Science at Home will explore engineering with Dr Dan Nickstrom. Also, workshops with sensors for air quality, temperature and humidity will be taking place in Abbeyleix as part of a Climate Action project that Midlands Science is involved with, supported by Creative Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“STEPS Engineers Week is a very important week in our calendar every year and one which usually involves teaming up with a number of local and national partners to host career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks. It is usually a packed programme of events in schools and other local venues to celebrate engineering as a profession and to demonstrate to students of all ages just how much engineering is all around us in everyday life. We are looking forward to interactive, virtual engineering workshops . This year will no doubt be different, but we have plenty of activities planned for people to access online and we hope that the move to a virtual platform might actually create greater opportunities for participation than ever before.’

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland commented,

“By engaging in the wide variety of engaging events and activities developed by Midlands Science for STEPS Engineers Week 2021, the fascinating world of engineering will be brought to life in homes across Ireland and will provide students with the opportunity to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the engineering sector can offer. I would encourage families and teachers to sign up for Midlands Science activities and take the opportunity to dream, invent and create like professional engineers.”

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘Midlands Science is passionate about encouraging students to make that important connection between what they learn in class and real-world science and engineering roles. We may not be able to take students behind the scenes of some most successful companies this year to see a real-world glimpse of engineering in practise but we will still continue to continue to build awareness of this diverse and exciting industry and show everyone what a rewarding and creative career choice it can be.’

For more information on STEPS Engineers Week and to access free resources and activities, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/schools/engineers-week

Ends

About STEPS

The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach scheme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and has four industry sponsors including ARUP, ESB, Intel and TII.

 

 

 

Virtual Science Week events in Westmeath with National Museum of Ireland

[6:16] The Ballinderry Sword, Ballinderry, Co. Westmeath.
Ninth century ad.
The sword was the principal weapon used by the Vikings, most of the iron blades with their often carborised steel edges probably being imported to Scandinavia where the hilt ornament was generally added. This iron sword from County Westmeath with its silver mounted handle is the finest surviving specimen of a Viking sword from Ireland and one of the most impressive anywhere. It has an elaborate, pattern-welded blade inlaid with the name of the sword-maker VLFBEHRT. Blades inlaid with the name of Ulfbehrt were exported from the Rhineland and have been found as far east as Russia. Most swords found in Ireland from this era probably originated in Norway and have been found in graves in the Dublin area (at Islandbridge, College Green, Bride Street and Dollymount) where they appear mainly to have been interred with the extended burials of warriors, although some of the ritually bent examples may have accompanied cremations as they did in Scandinavia. The present specimen is from a crannóg excavated by the Harvard Archaeological Mission to Ireland in 1932, a site interpreted as the homestead of a farmer or local king. SA 1928:382. L. 92.5 cm.
Mahr 1928, 204–52; Walsh 1998.

Midlands Science is pleased to announce details of two unique, digital activities in Westmeath which are part of a collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland for Science Week 2020.  This year’s events are also presented in partnership with the Heritage Office of Westmeath County Council.

Siobhan Pierce, Education and Outreach Officer, Archaeology & Natural History at National Museum of Ireland commented,

‘We are delighted to be bringing a special, online virtual event to a school in the Midlands for Science Week and we are also looking forward to delivering a family workshop to wider communities in Westmeath, which will explore our rich Viking heritage.  We will host this event live from the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin where we will interact with Athlone primary school pupils so that they can learn about what archaeology can tell us about the arrival of the Vikings to Ireland and their impact on Westmeath. It is wonderful to have a strong partnership with Midlands Science and the County Heritage Officers of the Midlands counties so that we can continue to make these events happen during Science Week even if this year, they cannot be delivered in person. Our family workshop will be hosted live from the Museum with National Museum of Ireland educator Trisha Ryan and will show Viking material found in Dublin and Viking finds from Ballinderry Crannog, Co. Westmeath, including a sword and gaming board. This event was specially created for children 7-12 years old and we are looking forward to interacting with as many people as possible on the day.’

Melanie McQuade, Heritage Officer of Westmeath County Council said,

‘We were really excited to be partnering with the annual Midlands Science Festival and the National Museum of Ireland for these events which takes place as part of national Science Week. They are a fantastic opportunity to promote science education to Westmeath pupils and families as we examine the archaeological evidence for the arrival to the Viking activity in Ireland and in particular Westmeath. Most Viking finds from Ballinderry and other rural sites reflect everyday activities and include tools used in spinning, weaving and sewing and tools and utensils of wood, iron and bronze. Ballinderry, however, also produced a number of exceptional finds, which we will learn about on the day of the workshop.’

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘Midlands Science is focused on not only providing science and technology activities during Science Week but it is also really important that we explore the link between science and the arts, heritage and culture. Our partnership with the National Museum of Ireland and the Heritage Office of Westmeath County Council allows us to reach a whole other audience, helping us to promote science in a unique way which also helps us to understand and explore our past. Our school event will take place on November 10th during the annual Midlands Science Festival and our family event, Virtual Vikings, will take place on the same date at 3:30pm. Booking is available for this online on www.midlandsscience.ie so join us as we celebrate science and heritage in the Midlands for  Science Week 2020.’

 

 

  Midlands Science Announce Virtual Discovery Day for Science Week  

The Midlands Science Festival  takes place from November 7th to 15th as a week-long, immersive digital event as part of national Science Week and as part of the celebrations, Midlands Science will be offering an interactive, online community event to people of all ages. This event will take place on November 7th and will feature a wide range of interactive workshops, science fun, creative experiments and more. In a time of uncertainty, the Midlands Science  team is conscious that it is more important than ever to provide activities for our audiences to ensure that they keep learning about science in an accessible way.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

“ Excitement is building for our upcoming family Discovery Day which would usually take place in a large venue but it will be different this year with all activities being experienced online. We are confident that this fun and informative event will not only inspire and encourage young minds to think about the many aspects of real-world science in new and different ways but we also hope that it will be a real treat for the whole family. Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Anyone4Science, the Exploration Dome, The Reptile Zoo and Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience are just some of the wonderful activities that we have lined up for the day. More information including the full schedule and how to register will be announced in the coming days. This is a date in the diary which we look forward to every year. It is always so amazing to see the wonder in young faces and to watch as they realise that science is not just about wearing a lab coat but it can be seen in so many facets of our daily lives.”

Jessica Curtis, Senior Fund Manager, Rethink Ireland said,

“The theme of this years’ Science Week is ‘choose your future’ which is apt because when we chose to support Midlands Science we saw an exciting but fairly predictable future. Little did we know that we would have to learn so much about science with the onset of COVID 19 or that Midlands Science would have to create entire festivals and programmes online instead of in person! We are very proud to support these great innovators who have successfully pivoted their work and made science even more accessible and intriguing for their thousands of participants online.”

Jackie Gorman continued,

“This event is free so please do join us in celebrating the many wonders of science this November and keep an eye on www.midlandsscience.ie for more details and for information about our many other events for Science Week 2020.”

 

Midlands Science Festival Goes Virtual

For the first time in its eight-year history, the Midlands Science Festival will be accessible from November 8th – 15th as a week-long, immersive digital event as part of national Science Week. The core theme for Science Week 2020  which is now in its 25th year is ‘Science Week – Choosing our Future’ focusing on how science can improve our lives in the future and in the present. This year’s festival offering will enable schools, teachers, parents and people of all ages to get involved virtually and it will deliver engaging talks, interactive workshops and presentations in a whole new and innovative format. In a time of increasing unease, the Midlands Science Festival team is conscious that it is more important than ever to continue to provide activities to continue to engage our young people, build optimism and help them to explore science and how it relates to everything in our day to day lives.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

“ The theme this year will explore how science can help us to make positive choices that will impact the environment, our health, and our quality of life. We took the time to evaluate the situation as an organisation before deciding that a virtual festival really was the best way forward for Science Week 2020. It allows us to provide most of the events that we had already planned for our audiences, in a safe and secure manner.  This year we are inviting people to step inside a free, virtual science sphere to join top science communicators, workshop presenters, industry experts, science ambassadors and more! This pandemic has really brought an awareness to the way in which we all work, learn and consume information. We have been working diligently over the past seven months to adapt to an online model to continue to raise awareness of science and we would like to thank all of our wonderful partners and sponsors who have supported and encouraged us to do this during such a challenging time. Throughout Science Week there will be a variety of ways for you to get involved through events, social media and much more. You can also use and follow #BelieveInScience online.”

The Midlands Science Festival will this year celebrate science in the Midlands in a number of different ways. Some of the key highlights will include an inspiring journey into Space with Dr. Niamh Shaw, informative public talks on the ‘Science of Resilience’ and the ‘Science of Skin’ which will be available online and we are also really looking forward to delving into the exciting world of Star Wars with Jon Chase. We are also delighted to be providing a range of high-level, virtual career talks for secondary schools with some of our industry and academic partners, which we hope will encourage more and more students to consider science as a future course and career option.

Dr. Craig Slattery, Midland Science Chairperson, commented,

“Sadly, we have seen highly influential public figures around the world openly attempt to undermine or discredit valid scientific information to service their own agendas.  Now, more so than ever, delivering authentic, exciting and informative public science events to the people of the Midlands, young and old, is of the utmost importance.  Under normal circumstances, Midlands Science would organise over 100 face-to-face events during the Midlands Science Festival with a combined audience of over 10,000 people each year. Naturally this year is going to be very different but we are confident that the enjoyment and inspiration on offer will not be!”

This year also includes an exploration into Viking Heritage with the National Museum of Ireland and a family Discovery Day, which will see the return of some of much-loved activities such Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Anyone 4 Science, the Exploration Dome, The Reptile Zoo, Ironman Engineering and Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience.

More information including the full schedule of events, speaker line-ups, and how to register will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

Celebrate Mathamatical Moments with Midlands Science

The Countdown to Virtual Maths Week 2020 is on!

 Maths Week has been taking place in Ireland every year since 2006 and has grown to attract participation from as many as 300,000 people annually across Ireland. We often don’t realise that maths is part of all facets of everyday life. Maths Week 2020 promises to be quite different due to the fact that large scale public events will now not be possible but Midlands Science is delighted to this year team up with Dublin City University lecturer in Mathematics Education, Dr. Aisling Twohill, to deliver our Maths Week activities in a new and virtual format so that we can stay safe while exploring the fun aspects of maths and all that it has to offer.

Aisling Twohill, Midlands Science Board member and lecturer in Mathematics Education, in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at DCU said,

‘I am delighted to collaborate with Midlands Science for Maths Week 2020. We will be utilising stories to make maths more accessible and more enjoyable through a series of videos which will be available on Midlands Science social media platforms throughout Maths Week. Picture-books are a great way to introduce maths concepts in a child-centred way, and two of the videos will develop children’s ideas around spatial relations and fractions through the stories of ‘Winnie the Witch’ and ‘Mama Panya’s Pancakes’. We hope that encountering maths in such attractive, and accessible contexts will develop younger children’s appreciation for maths and encourage them to see maths as part of their everyday lives. For older children and adults, we will focus two videos on the stories of the History of Number and Fibonacci and with these, we will explore concepts such as sequences, place value and the historical connections of  mathematics. Sometimes, the way maths is taught can feel quite repetitive, so we are also taking this opportunity to encourage everybody to have fun with maths through puzzles and games. We are even providing a few suggestions to get you started. Playing the games we’re suggesting will give you a chance to experience maths in a more dynamic and relevant way than you might have experienced through school textbooks!’

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘Maths is a key driver of innovation and growth and it impacts every aspect of life. Maths Week is a co-operative movement with local partners all over Ireland together with schools and teachers changing attitudes towards maths. It is coordinated by Calmast at Waterford IT and is an ideal opportunity for people of all ages to increase their appreciation and understanding of mathematics and it is part of our overall aim to try to make it more accessible to everyone. We are delighted to be working with Dr. Aisling Twohill who has made an enormous contribution to our work in promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) over the past year. We look forward to publicly sharing a number of innovative maths videos which Aisling has recently produced, to help us raise awareness of maths and to demonstrate how wide and varied maths can be as a possible career path.’

Maths Puzzles:

 

These puzzles are all available as apps or to play through a web browser.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘Maths Week, which takes place from the 10th to 18th October, may not be the same this year due to unavoidable circumstances and our original plans for this year’s celebrations have obviously been somewhat impacted, but don’t forget to tune into our brand new maths videos which we really hope will spark an interest in maths and also please check out www.mathsweek.ie/2020 where you will find plenty of engaging maths activities to help improve attitudes towards maths as a subject, build confidence and demonstrate to children the value of maths as a lifelong skill that is linked so many aspects of the wider world around us.’