Maths Week Scotland returns for its sixth annual event with the launch of its biggest line-up yet.
From 26 September – 2 October, an exciting programme of maths-themed events and activities will be taking place in schools, science centres and museums across the country. The theme for this year is the beauty of maths, with events also involving creating art as well as art displays.
Part of the Scottish Government’s drive to encourage positive attitudes to numeracy and maths, Maths Weeks Scotland is developed and delivered by National Museums Scotland. It is supported by winner of The Great British Bake Off 2020, Peter Sawkins.
This year, the week-long event is bigger than ever, with more activities for schools and teachers, as well as a variety of in-person family events to inspire and intrigue people of all ages. In keeping with the 2022 theme of the beauty of maths, many of these will focus on the creative and inspiring side of the subject, and how maths plays a vital role in art, music and design.
The schools programme is core to Maths Week Scotland with over 62,000 pupils from 245 schools taking part in activities. The Small Grants Fund – a partnership between the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, the Glasgow Mathematical Journal Trust and the Scottish Government – has supported 53 different classroom activities for schools across the country, encouraging innovation and participation all linking maths with the arts.
Many of the funded classroom projects focus on interactive learning through engaging practical activities to encourage pupils to think about maths in a creative way. Activities include escape room challenges, creating art through coding, and a virtual mathematical art workshop by mathematician Lucy Rycroft-Smith with a free kit posted to participants.
National Museums Scotland will design a resource on ancient Egyptian maths and renewable energy workshops for primary schools. Maths Week Scotland will also launch a social media campaign, #ShowYourWorking, encouraging people to share the maths they use in their work and careers.
Building on the success of last year’s Large Grants Fund, which has provided an additional £40,000 of funding for large scale projects by eligible organisations, key activities include:
- Free school visits and family workshops at the Scottish Maritime Museum and Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank in Dumbarton
- Interactive workshops to increase curiosity around maths by linking in with the beauty of maths theme and data art displays, including environmental data prints by Rebecca J Kaye, at Aberdeen Science Centre
- STEM ambassadors supporting online content and a resource booklet for teachers
- Free display of maths artwork and tiling with hands-on activities for families at National Museum of Scotland on Sunday 2 October hosted by the Open University
- One-day inter-authority maths conference entitled Beauty & Relevance of Maths at Strathclyde University organised by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in collaboration with Our Lady’s High School Cumbernauld (OLHS)
- Art-based interactive community projects and a mass participation maths artwork at Glasgow Science Centre
- Workshops for adult and family practitioners to celebrate the beauty of maths with Learning Link Scotland
- Workshops for young people to develop an artificial intelligence and decision-making toolkit for Edinburgh Napier University
- Dumfries and Galloway Council providing maths challenges for P1 – S3 age groups, plus family activities with town trails linking to the beauty of maths theme
- Interactive display of illuminated geometric shapes and optical illusions using innovative technology at The University of Edinburgh’s King’s Buildings on Saturday 1 October
Support has also been provided to eleven Scottish museums and galleries to integrate more maths into their programming during the week-long event. Maths Week Scotland and National Museums Scotland will support maths activities taking place in: Glencoe Folk Museum; Lauriston Castle; Scottish Fisheries Museum; Museum on the Mound; National Galleries of Scotland; Carnegie Birthplace; Surgeons’ Hall; R&A World Golf Museum and Glasgow Museums; Summerlee Museum, North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre, Scottish Maritime Museum.
Activity packs are available to download from the Maths Week Scotland website, with ideas of how to celebrate and enjoy the week for early years to secondary school pupils. Last year there were over 13,000 downloads of the packs. Meanwhile, the daily Maths Week Scotland challenges will return, with accompanying BBC Bitesize learning videos setting out how to tackle them.
Activities and materials are also available from STEM Ambassadors Scotland, which has collaborated with Maths Week Scotland to create free, downloadable resources.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, said:
“It’s great to see the return of Maths Week Scotland which will offer a diverse programme of interactive and engaging activities at events across the country.
“Maths is a vital skill for everyone to use and enjoy. I am pleased to see this year’s focus will be on the creative side of the subject and the unexpected ways Maths can be important in a whole range of fields.”
Katie Oldfield, Maths Week Scotland co-ordinator, said:
“We are thrilled to be launching Maths Week Scotland for its sixth consecutive year with such a bang. After two years of a more restricted programme due to Covid-19, we’re so excited to be bringing back more interactive, in-person events at schools and public venues across the country that are suitable for all ages and abilities.
“Mathematicians often refer to the subject as ‘beautiful’, and our aim is to inspire families and schools to view maths in a new way and to find it in unexpected places, such as art and music. We’ve had fantastic feedback over the last few years, and we hope that this year we’ll enthuse even more people as they discover how creative maths can be.”
Peter Sawkins, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2020 said:
“Maths is a fundamental subject, and often goes hand-in-hand with many creative projects- like baking! We often don’t realise just how creative maths can be. When making a cake, for example, the design can feature different shapes and symmetry to create a work of baking art.
“I am incredibly proud to be an ambassador for Maths Week Scotland for a second year, and I look forward to seeing all of the creative challenges throughout the week.”
Maths Week Scotland has a supporting year-round programme for schools, families, adults and community groups. This is part of an ongoing drive to transform Scotland into a maths-positive nation through raising the profile of maths and encouraging enthusiasm for maths across the country.
National Museums Scotland is working with a wide range of organisations and collaborators to support and deliver Maths Week Scotland activity across Scotland. For a full list of contributors and to view the whole programme, visit: www.mathsweek.scot