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Applied Maths News

New Syllabus in September 2021

Date:
03 / 10 / 2020

The new Applied Maths syllabus is still on course to start in 5th Year in September 2021, for examination in 2023. The PDST is organising in-service to bring teachers up to speed (or should that be acceleration?) with the new course. The latest Specifications for the new syllabus are on this website. They have been changed with some small but significant additions. Folens plan to bring out their new textbook (Fundamental Applied Mathematics, Third Edition by Oliver Murphy) in the spring of 2021, in time for teachers to familiarise themselves with the new material. There is quite a lot of new material on Networks & Graphs, as well as a chapter on Difference Equations and a few other important items.

IAMTA Annual Conference

Date:
03 / 10 / 2020

The IAMTA has decided not to hold its annual conference in November, due to the Covid restrictions. Instead there will be a Zoom conference, probably on Saturday 9 March 2021. This will concentrate on the new syllabus. There will be no gold medals, as there was no Leaving Cert this year.

Applied Maths Predicted Grades

Date:
03 / 10 / 2020

The predicted grades gave rise to delight in some quarters and heartbreak in others. It looks like good results were given to students who were the only one in their school (or one of a very few) to do Applied Maths. In schools where there is a history of many students getting top grades, the story was very different: these students were often pulled back towards the centre and their marks downgraded. The fiasco with the error in the algorithm by which the worst two JC grades were counted instead of the best two gave rise to 6500 students being further hit. Finally, the CSPE result was included, despite a DES decision to the contrary which gave rise to even more confusion. Let it never happen again. I would rather work for Donald Trump as a Covid Advisor in the White House than go through that debacle again. My own students were treated appallingly. Even though I had a fantastic class of hard-working, interested, enthusiastic, diligent students, they were downgraded to below the national average. It was a travesty. I shall fight on but I'm not sure justice will be done. The courts will decide.

Three Applied Maths Gold Medals won by Cork Students

Date:
01 / 02 / 2020

Every year the Irish Applied Mathematics Teachers’ Association (IAMTA) presents three Gold Medals to the top three students in Leaving Cert Applied Maths. This year, the top three students are all from County Cork. Two of them, Daniel Andrews and Peadar Hennessy, attended Christian Brothers College, Cork. The other winner, Jack Connolly, went to Coláiste Mhuire in Crosshaven.

Gold Medal Winners
Gold Medal Winners

It should be noted that the three winners are not in order (first, second and third) but are all in joint first place. They are nominated by the State Examinations Commission as the three best performers in Leaving Cert Higher Level Applied Mathematics. Furthermore, these students each receive a bursary of €500 towards their studies. The Gold Medals and bursaries are kindly sponsored by the Raymond Kearns Benevolent Fund through the generosity of the Institute of Education in Dublin. Raymond Kearns is a former Maths teacher who founded the Institute of Education which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. He has sponsored the awards since the foundation of the IAMTA in 2006, to encourage excellence in our schools.

The three winners were presented with their awards at the annual conference of the IAMTA which, by coincidence, was held in Cork this year. It has been said that Cork is a particular good place to study Maths and Applied Maths. There is a long tradition of excellence in mathematics in the county, which includes George Boole (1815-1864), the mathematician and logician who was the first professor of Mathematics at UCC, then called Queen’s College. He gave his name to Boolean Algebra – a branch of mathematics which is particularly useful in the workings of computers.

George Boole
George Boole

Applied Maths is a wonderful subject. Students who study Applied Maths take the mathematics which they learn in their maths classes and use it to solve real-life problems. While some of the problems can be challenging, Applied Maths is a particularly satisfying subject, because a student can learn to unravel the problems by thinking as well as by using high-level maths.

The IAMTA believes that Ireland is well served by this subject and that schools should be encouraging their students to take it up. Our country needs thinkers who can solve problems: isn’t that what Google and Facebook and other prospective employers want? Over 2000 students sat Leaving Cert Applied Maths this year. It is hoped that this number will increase over the coming years, especially when a new syllabus is introduced in 2021. This new syllabus is wider than the present one: it includes such topics as the spread of diseases, the growth (or decline) in the population of species, the role of potential and kinetic energy in cycling from Cork to Crosshaven, finance, networks and algorithms to find the quickest way home. George Boole would approve.

You can read more about the IAMTA Gold Medals & Bursaries here.