SOMS Summer Outreach Activities
During Summer 2022, school students from across the country were able to participate in a series of interactive mathematical activities organised by staff and students of the School of Mathematical Sciences. These came as an extension of the UCC Mathematics Enrichment programme, which had run during January – May 2022, with 200 registered participants from secondary schools in the Munster region. The summer activities included two main type of events:
- Maths Camps for Junior cycle secondary school students, run by students Aaron Jacob McGee, Eva Leahy, Thomas Francis Quinlan, Lukas Boschet and David Fox, with planning and support offered by Anca Mustata.
- Mathematics Olympiad Training camps, both onsite and offsite, in preparation for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). These were offered to students in junior and senior cycle who were the top performers in the Irish Mathematical Olympiad. UCC lecturers Anca and Andrei Mustata contributed both onsite and offsite in Norway.
Below is a more detailed account of these events:
Junior Mathematics Summer Camps in UCC.
These were run across two weeks, on 27 June - 1st July and 11-15 July in Western Gateway Building, with 20 participants from between 1st and 3rd year.
During the first week students worked in teams on maths worksheets the based on the Set game, maths topics related to the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton (which included a basic introduction to graph theory and also the refraction of light), many number tricks to help with divisibility, and optimal game strategies. In the afternoon they played board games. Some of the kids didn’t know how to play chess at the start of the week but as the week went on they were playing every day and improving quickly. One of the days there was good weather, so our Erasmus student Lukas taught the kids an outside French game called Béret, which the kids transformed into a wonderful mix of French and Irish culture.
The second week of the summer camp was also very enjoyable. Each morning started with a game of Jenga, some icebreaker games and maths videos. Then the students learnt the rules of indices, studied some tricky maths riddles, optimal game strategies and how to use maths to prove who would win games depending on who started first. They did a lot more maths art and math construction in this week with Origami sets and also Geomag which the kids used as a group to make a 3D Sierpinski’s triangle model, as well as many other interesting constructions.
Both weeks featured team quizzes and mathematical card tricks. At first these were demonstrated by the tutors but in the second week, participants showed them some card tricks in return! Also the tutors greatly enjoyed the Toffee treats brought by Laura, one of the participants, in the first week.
The 63rd International Mathematical Olympiad in Oslo, on 6-16 July 2022.
This is the annual world championship in Mathematics for secondary school students.
In 2022 Ireland was represented by
Fionn Kimber O’Shea, 4th year, Christian Brothers College, Wellington Road, Cork
Taiga Murray, 6th year, St Benildus College, Kilmacud, Dublin 14
James Chen, 5th year, Castletroy College, Castletroy, Co. Limerick
Xiang Lian, 4th year, The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Emily Wolfe, 5th year, Bruce College, St. Patrick’s Hill, Cork
Rory Moore, 6th year, Castletroy College, Castletroy, Co. Limerick
The team training was spread across June and July, with UCC lecturers Anca and Andrei Mustata acting as trainers/organisers. Anca also travelled with the team to Oslo as deputy leader, along with the team leader Mark Flanagan from UCD. Unfortunately Mark Flanagan got a positive Covid diagnostic on 9th July, which forced him to stay in isolation for the rest of the event.
The IMO 2022 Irish team score was the highest ever achieved by an Irish team at the IMO. Five of the team have earned Honourable Mentions, four of whom completely solved 2 problems – a first for Ireland in 35 years of IMO participation.
More about Ireland’s participation at the 63rd International Mathematical Olympiad can be found at Blog | IMT (irishmathstrust.com)
The IMO 2023 Season Kick-Start Training Camp
This intensive maths summer camp took place in Western Gateway Building, UCC on 24 - 27 August. It was attended by 22 students from across the country who were the top performers in the Irish Mathematical Olympiad 2022. The goal of the camp was to motivate and start preparing the students for the next edition of the International Mathematical Olympiad, which will take place in Chiba, Japan on 2-13 July 2023.
The camp was organised by Anca and Andrei Mustata, and included classes in Algebra, Combinatorics, Geometry and Number Theory. Among the guest lecturers were Andrew Smith from UCD, Bernd Kreussler from MIC, Eugene Gath from UL and Declan Manning from MTU, along with former members of the IMO 2022 team.
All the UCC camps were generously supported with funding and logistics by the School of Mathematical Sciences, UCC.