If you spot groups of children touring Portlaoise today wearing cool glasses and taking photographs, it’s not that tourists are getting younger, but instead a new Irish initiative to improve maths skills.
This Tuesday and Wednesday, 17 groups of children from the four 3rd classes of Scoil Bhride NS will be zipping around the town taking photographs on which they can base maths questions, from geometry to fractions and multiplication.
Each group will be led by a Portlaoise College Transition Year student, as the college bring the innovative ‘Maths Eyes’ project to the town for the second year.
Portlaoise College teacher Sinead Boland says last year was a great success.
“The children were very enthusiastic, and excited to go around their town to see maths, rather than just sitting in the classroom. They put on their ‘maths eyes‘ goggles and realise that maths is all around us,” she said.
The college started the programme last year after meeting the creator, Tallaght IT teacher Dr Terry Maguire, who has made it a success in Tallaght’s community and schools.
“There is a noticable improvement in maths skills. It is too soon to measure in Portlaoise but it has great potential. Kids who didn’t enjoy maths before are loving it, they realise it’s not all in the book, but that we use maths all the time,. We hope to develop it for more Portlaoise schools” said Ms Boland.
The children will visit Laois Shopping Centre, Portlaoise Leisure Centre, the Kyle Centre, and the old Dunnes Stores, along with parents and teachers.
Posters of their photos with fun questions , will be exhibited in Treo Nua on March 20, with an invitation for the community and groups to view them.