January - May 2019 Schedule

Friday January 25th, from 7.30 pm, Rathdown School

Registration for the Dublin regional round of Team Maths is now open.  As always, a very enjoyable evening is expected, with useful revision preparing students for their Mocks.  To register your team(s),click here

Wednesday February 6th, 7.30 – 9.30 pm, Blackrock Education Centre

Sheelagh Clowry – “Further explorations on inferential statistics at Leaving Certificate Higher Level”

Sheelagh’s talk will emphasise the use of ICT programmes to aid in the teaching of this particularly challenging section of the course. It is especially suitable for teachers of LC HL maths or those who would like to consider taking up such a position in the coming years.  

Wednesday March 13th, 7.30-9.30pm (Dominican College, Griffith Avenue)

Pam O’Brien and Neil Butler – “Maths Teachmeet”

People who have heard Pam’s and Neil’s presentations know that they will provide us with intriguing practical ideas for use in class.  For the Teachmeet format, we invite people to share their own good practice via brief presentations.

Thursday, April 11th – 7.30 pm, Trinity College Dublin

AGM with keynote speaker Marcus du Sautoy

This event will of course be free for members but – if there is room – available to others at a fee of €20.  Advance registration will be needed; details to be circulated in the next week.

Meeting on 15th November: “Problem-solving with high ability students in the Irish context” at DWEC, 7.30pm

Our November meeting will be held on Thursday, 15th November, in Dublin West Education Centre at 7.30 pm.  The subject is “Problem-solving with high ability students in the Irish context.”  Drawing on his experience as well as his current research at DCU, Aidan Fitzsimons will talk about using problem-solving as content enrichment (rather than content acceleration), and will discuss how it may benefit high-achieving students within a classroom scenario.

This meeting (and similar ones) may be recognised by your Principal as CPD! We can provide suitable certificates of attendance.

Programme for 2018-2019

Monday 10th September:  Blackrock Education Centre, 7.00- 9.30pm (please note start time)

Review of the State Examination Papers – Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate Maths:  The focus is on information from markers that will help teachers prepare their students for the State examinations

Thursday 11th October:  Drumcondra Education Centre, 7.30-9.30pm

JC and learning experiences in 1st year:  As the new Junior Cycle course gets under way, Shane Flanagan, JCT Team Leader for Mathematics, and other experienced teachers will talk about how to approach the new course and share 1st year resources and work plans.

Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st October - 

Maths Week:  see http://www.mathsweek.ie/2018/

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th October:  Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick

MathsFest and IMTA National AGM:  see http://www.mathsfest.ie/

Thursday, 15th November:  Dublin West Education Centre, 7.30-9.30pm


 Friday 25th January:  Rathdown School, from 7.30pm

Team Maths:  The last Friday in January is the date of the regional round of the annual table quiz for Leaving Certificate students.  Application forms will be circulated later.

Thursday 11th April:  Trinity College Dublin, 7.30- 9.30pm

AGM with keynote speaker Marcus du Sautoy:  more details later

We hope to have presentations on the area of working and planning for Gifted Students in our classrooms and on teaching Inferential Statistics for Leaving Cert Higher Level students. Details to follow. 

Marcus Du Sautoy to address IMTA Members


We are thrilled to announce that world-renowned mathematician, Marcus du Sautoy will address members of the IMTA and Irish second level maths students in April 2019. 

Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford where he holds the prestigious Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science and is a Fellow of New College.

Du Sautoy has received several awards for his work including the London Mathematical Society’s Berwick Prize for outstanding mathematical research and the Royal Society of London’s Michael Faraday Prize for ‘excellence in communicating science’. He has been awarded an OBE for his services to science and was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

His mathematical research has covered a great many areas including group theory, number theory and model theory, but he has been equally successful in his promotion of mathematics to the general public. He has published several best-selling, non-academic books and appears regularly on television and radio.

We are privileged to welcome Professor du Sautoy to Dublin On Thursday April 11, 2019 where he will address several second level students in the afternoon. Later in the evening, Marcus will be the key note speaker at the AGM of the Dublin Branch of the IMTA.  

A number of teachers have used du Sautoy's series 'The Story of Maths' in their teaching, particularly with transition year students. More info on that can be found here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00dxjls/episodes/guide. The series is available on Netflix. 

More details to follow over the coming weeks, but for now please ensure you keep Thursday, April 11th free in your diary.

MarcusDuSautoy_FINAL - free to use_ no credit.jpg

Meeting to provide feedback on the State exams

The usual post-State-exams meeting (to provide feedback for the marking conferences) will be held on Monday, 11th June 2018 in DRUMCONDRA Education Centre at 7.30pm.  The focus is on identifying any issues that should be taken into account in finalising the marking schemes. 

Individual teachers have been asked to prepare and report comments on the papers.  You are most welcome to attend and contribute. We and other branches send our consolidated reports to Council so that as representative a view as possible can be presented to the examiners prior to the conferences.

Survey of Mathematics Teachers

We in the Dublin branch of the IMTA would like to get an up to date impression of the needs of mathematics teachers in Irish second level schools at the moment. We are trying to address some, or all, of the following:

  • Are we meeting the needs of mathematics teachers adequately?
  • Are members getting adequate notification of events, talks, seminars and meetings?
  • Are there things that we as a subject association could be doing better/differently to cater for the evolving needs of teachers of mathematics as we approach the end of the second decade of the 21st century?
  • Could we improve our membership and attendance at meetings, and can we ascertain why attendance at some meetings is much lower than one would expect?

As such, we would really appreciate it if you could spend a few moments to complete the following survey. We know that this is a really busy time at the end of a hectic school year, but if you could spend a few moments filling this in we will be able to better provide for the needs of the mathematics teachers in the Dublin Branch for 2018/19 and into the future. 

Please feel free to send this to anyone you know who was a previous member of the association as we really would like to welcome all mathematics teachers back and find out what reasons may exist for leaving the association. 

The link for the survey is here - https://goo.gl/forms/5lJJtACyWGuBVai02

Thank you for taking the time to engage in this survey. The results of this survey will be shared with all members. Please encourage all mathematics teachers in your school to complete this survey to help us improve the running of the association. 

Upcoming Events

1. Audrey Byrne,  a former Project Maths RDO will deliver a seminar on using GeoGebra in the classroom. This will be an interactive workshop so please bring a device along (iPad, laptop etc) if you have one. We will also learn about an alternative graphing package called DESMOS on the night. The seminar will take place on Wednesday March 14, in Dublin West Education Centre at 7.30pm. (More details to follow)

2. The AGM of the Dublin Branch of the IMTA will be held on Tuesday April 24th in Blackrock Education Centre. Our guest speaker on the night will be Harry Freeman - Harry Freeman's experience of providing CPD is extensive, having worked with school leaders and teachers in over 400 schools since 1998. 

Currently Harry holds the position of  Strand Leader of the Positive Behaviour Management strand of the Master  in Education Programme in Trinity College, Dublin. He has designed and developed this course and has been lecturing on it since 2008.

Harry offers consultancy services to support teachers in all areas of classroom practice. He is passionate about, learning, teaching and leadership. 

For more info check out http://www.harryfreeman.ie/


Team Math 2018

Congratulations to all the students who performed so well in this year's Team Math competition in Rathdown School, Dublin.  The questions this year certainly proved challenging right from the very first round but our students persevered and found the problems thought provoking and stimulating with each passing round.

Congratulations to the girls from Mount Anville SC who took the trophy back to Dublin 14 with a score of 11 points from a possible 20. 
Well done also to Wesley College who finished in 2nd after a tie-break decider with Belvedere College SJ.

The girls from Mount Anville led the way from the very first round and seemed to improve with each round. The questions certainly challenged all the contestants, and quite a few of the teachers alike!

We wish all of the students the very best over the coming weeks as they do their mock examinations and hope that the Team Math quiz helped in your preparation for these exams. 

We would like to particularly thank all the teachers and parents for coming along on the night to lend their support to the students. Thanks also are due to our fantastic hosts on the night, Rathdown School and to all of the maths teachers who helped out in any way. 

The teams from Mount Anville and Wesley College will now go forward to the national finals, in Maynooth University on Saturday February 10th and wish them every good fortune in their endeavours. 


Team Math 2018 winners.jpg

Celebrate the New Year with a New Prime

Mathematicians are celebrating the new year with a new discovery – the largest known prime number. Prime numbers, those numbers that are only divisible by the number 1 and themselves, are central to number theory as any whole number can be written as a unique combination of prime numbers. This newly discovered prime has 23,249,425 digits, 910,807 digits more than than the previously known largest prime. According to GIMPS (the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search) if you were to write out the number five digits to an inch every second, then after 54 days you'd have a number stretching over 73 miles (118 km) – almost 3 miles (5 km) longer than the previous record prime.

The beginning of M77232917...

The number is known as M77232917 as it is of the form 277,232,917 - 1. Numbers of this form, 2p-1, where p is a prime number, are called Mersenne numbers, named after the French monk and mathematician Marin Mersenne.


Mersenne numbers have been of interest to mathematicians since they were first discussed by Euclid in around 350 BC. Mersenne made a famous conjecture about which values of pwould result in prime numbers: that only p = 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 31, 67, 127 and 257 would result in a Mersenne prime, and any other prime p under 257 would give a composite Mersenne number. It took over 300 years for mathematicians to resolve his conjecture: he was wrong about 5 of the primes p less than or equal to 257 – 67 and 257 did not result in prime numbers and 61, 89, 107, which he missed out in his conjecture, did.

It is a challenge to prove that large numbers are prime, but some techniques are available for testing Mersenne numbers that arise from their form. GIMPS, the longest running grass-roots distributed computing project, turns these mathematical techniques into ingenious software that breaks the task up into many little pieces, each piece running in the background on volunteers' computers in whatever computing time they have available. This software, Prime95, is available for anyone to download and hunt for Mersenne primes – you could discover the next one!

...and the end of M77232917

Jonathan Pace, from Georgetown, Tennessee, discovered the number on Boxing Day, 26 December 2017. Pace has been volunteering computing time to GIMPS for 14 years, partly through his work as a systems administrator for various community charities. As well as contributing to the hunt for large primes, the Prime95 software helps him remotely monitor the computers he administers as he is emailed if one of the computers on which he is running the software on doesn't check in with GIMPS.

The PC that found the new prime took six days of intense computation to verify that M77232917 was a prime number, and then the result was double checked on several other machines over the next week. Pace is now eligible for a $3000 GIMPS research discovery award for his contribution to the hunt for primes.

You can find out more, download all 23,249,425 digits of M77232917, and join the hunt for primes at GIMPS. And you can read more about prime numbers, including previous GIMPS discoveries, on Plus.

(Reproduced from https://plus.maths.org/content/happy-new-year-happy-new-prime