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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.

Oliver Murphy

Rising numbers in Applied Maths

Date:
16 / 08 / 2019

Good news: the number of students sitting Applied Maths in the Leaving has broken through the 2000 mark: 2104 to be exact. Let’s hope the trend continues well into the future. It is, after all, the best subject in the Leaving. The outcomes were good for those who sat the Higher Paper: 381 of them got a H1 and 420 got H2 with a further 394 getting H3. Not bad! It was a very fair paper. Best wishes to all of those who sat the Leaving – especially to those who sat Applied Maths: it will stand to you – the skills it develops are for life not just for a day in June.

News Bulletin

Date:
16 / 08 / 2019

New syllabus; new textbook.
There will be a new syllabus introduced in September 2021 (for examination in June 2023). Congratulations to the Syllabus Committee at NCCA for doing a great job.

• 60% of the old material remains: Acceleration, Projectiles (Horizontal plane only), Pulleys & Wedges, Collisions (Direct & Oblique), Circular Motion (horizontal & vertical), Differential equations. Gone are Relative Velocity, Statics, Hydrostatics and Moments of Inertia. New material includes Difference Equations and their applications, Networks and Graphs. There are also a few new smaller elements such as Dot Product of vectors, Drag forces = kvn, Hooke’s Law but not for SHM, Integration by Parts and by Substitution. All of these elements will be dealt with in the 3rd Edition of Fundamental Applied Mathematics which will be published early in 2021.

• There will also be a project each year in which each student will be asked to conduct an analysis on a problem. For example: Investigate the role of the conservation of energy on Day 20 of the Tour de France. 20% of the marks go for this project, which will be submitted before the exam (in the same way as the History or Geography projects are managed). Again, this new element will be dealt with in the 3rd Edition of Fundamental Applied Mathematics.

Mistake in 2016 paper!

Date:
14 / 12 / 2016

The statics question on this year's Higher Level Leaving Cert Applied maths paper. In part (a) the system cannot stay static without friction. But the question says the surface is smooth. It's impossible. Students who attempted the question could get all the marks no matter how they approached it. But did it confuse the more discerning student? Impossible to say....

Interesting Trends In LC Results

Date:
15 / 01 / 2016

Applied Maths It's great to see that nearly 2000 students took Applied Maths in the Leaving this year: 1729 took the Higher paper and a further 190 took the Ordinary Level paper. This is a lot healthier than 10 years ago when barely 1000 took this great subject. Let's hope the trend continues into the future. Of those who took the Higher Applied maths paper, 28% got and A and 76% got either A, B or C. This is also very encouraging. Maths Over the years there has been an increase in the percentage of students who take Leaving Cert Mathematics at Higher Level. This is mainly due to the extra 25 points awarded to those who pass Higher Level Maths. It seems that the percentage has now settled (or plateaued) at 27%, where it has been for the last two years. This is a healthy percentage. Much has been made of the fact that 7% of those who took the Higher paper in 2015 failed. This is probably because more students are taking a risk in taking this paper to get the 25 bonus points. There is now talk of allowing students to get points, even if they fail. This seems reasonable, as you get 70 points for getting 40% at Higher Maths but you get zero points for getting 39.5% in the same paper. Is this right?

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