Pictured at the launch of LearnStorm Ireland are Hannah Leonard, Olivia Sheridan, Colman Shek and Aleksandra Wierzbik from Fingal Community College, Dublin.

LearnStorm maths challenge adds up to €20,000 in prizes

2 Feb 2016

Now in its third year, LearnStorm – formerly known as Mathletes – has officially been launched, with €20,000 on offer for the country’s best young mathematicians.

The all-Ireland maths challenge is in the midst of an exciting rebrand, with LearnStorm the name of the now-international venture that was started back in 2014.

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.

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.

From far and wide

With entrants from 4th class to 5th year in the Republic of Ireland – and from Primary 6 to Year 13 in Northern Ireland – it means the €20,000 prize fund is spread among some of the youngest mathematicians on the island.

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.

Through weekly activities, LearnStorm aims to improve these skills, while also helping students develop effective learning strategies to change attitudes towards maths as a subject.

Critical resource

“With an expanding technology sector driving job growth in Ireland, it is critical that we equip our graduates with the mindset and tools to succeed in STEM fields and careers,” said Kelly Kirkpatrick of the O’Sullivan Foundation.

“Ireland has the potential to be the best-performing country in the world in technical disciplines. Key to this is strengthening young people’s maths confidence and competence and, every year, LearnStorm helps teachers and students to do this.”

Over the next two months, students from across the 32 counties will work to represent their school, county and country for weekly leaderboards and monthly cups, with the project delivered locally by Camara.

The ultimate aim, then, is to earn a place at the All-Ireland in-person celebration events in May – results of the competition can be seen here.

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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