Huge numbers of kids competing in €20,000 maths challenge

1 Apr 2016

LearnStorm Ireland, the island-wide maths challenge for schoolkids from 4th class to 5th year, is underway.

With €20,000 up for grabs, 28,000 students from all over the island of Ireland are competing in a maths challenge designed to encourage confidence and competence in the area.

Both The O’Sullivan Foundation (headed by Sean O’Sullivan) and the Khan Academy got together to run the maths project to develop a better understanding and appreciation of maths among students all over Ireland.

Previously known as Mathletes, in its previous editions more than 13,000 students completed more than four million minutes of maths skill tests, with hundreds of teachers across the country giving a dig out. To put a bit of context on those figures, the wonderful BT Young Scientist Exhibition grew to well over 4,000 participants this year.

Since its launch at the start of February, the leaderboards built by the organisers of LearnStorm – which is now an international movement – have been filling up.

“Now in its third year, LearnStorm Ireland has seen more than 28,000 students take up the challenge, up from 3,000 in 2014,” said Kelly Kirkpatrick of the O’Sullivan Foundation.

“This growth is a testament to the hundreds of schools and teachers across Ireland who have supported the challenge’s goal of increasing students’ competence and confidence in maths in Ireland.“

There is constant coverage of kids being turned off by maths, something LearnStorm’s Adam Bargroff is keen to dispute. He said this event proves the opposite, as “students can’t get enough”.

“In Ireland we have been blown away with the level of engagement with maths from students,” he said.

Ireland is ranked 15th in maths and science according to a 2015 report on universal basic skills by the OECD, indicating a critical need to raise performance in numeracy and problem solving. Free events like this can help do just that.

Maths image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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