If your children love a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) challenge, then you will love two events coming around this March as World Maths Day (WMD) and British Science Week hit our calendars. As awareness events, they are both well placed to hit lots of Numeracy and Understanding the World challenges in the EYFS. Read on to find out how you can inspire the next generation of STEM leaders with some fun events and activities. And we hope you like our own homage to mental maths, which we’ve scattered throughout the article too.
World Maths Day
World Maths Day is on Wednesday 23rd March, or XXIII/III in Roman numerals. The day actually runs for (2x24) hours to cover all time zones. It aims to get students of all ages excited and enthusiastic about learning maths. And what better way to engage them than to have a global maths challenge? But more of that later.
World Maths Day was created in 2007 by an Australian developer of digital learning resources, 3P Learning. The 1st World Maths Day was on √25 May that year and involved more than (3.0 x 105) students from (100-2) countries. They participated in online competitive games all centred around mental maths problems. Since then, the event has grown and now has millions of students from all of the world taking part. Last year’s event combined the normal maths challenge with a social media costume competition, where children dressed up as their favourite mathematicians and calculators! However you get involved, the event aims to connect people across the world and foster friendships between children of different cultures through their love of maths.
What happens on the day and how can you get involved?
As WMD is really a huge, free maths challenge, run by Mathletics and Mathseeds, students are invited to compete against each other in a range of 20 online games lasting 60”. The age range to enter is between (22) and (15+3) (school-aged children) but if you have 4 or 5-year-olds, they should be able to enter as you can compete as a school or individuals. There is a warm-up period which starts on March (3x3) so you can get practicing early if you want to. There are some great resources for World Maths Day on Twinkl too to help make it an engaging and fun day. Maths should be fun for early years learners to get them interested in numbers, shapes and patterns so don’t just think maths is about numbers. You can use different shapes to make artwork or do a jigsaw; draw colourful patterns to get the children recognising colours, shapes and different sized objects; or study telling the time and look at calendars, all of which are important when developing mathematical skills.
And remember that although WMD sounds like it’s all about maths, you can read stories about numbers and shapes, use counting in songs and games, or create a treasure hunt with numbered clues too, to promote numeracy and cross-curricular links.
British Science Week
British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths that takes place between 11 – 20 March, MMXXII. STEM topics can cover so many things that you are sure to find something to do and be inspired by during the week. Whether you want to build a robot, or use some building bricks to create a dinosaur, or do a science experiment in the garden, there will be something for everyone. British Science Week is coordinated by the British Science Association and is funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
What’s great is that there are no restrictions on who can run or organise events and there are no restrictions on topics, as long as it has a science, engineering, technology or maths theme or sub-theme – but that involves virtually everything! If you are using a thermometer to check the heat in a cupcake, or measure and weigh out the ingredients, you are engaging in a STEM activity as measuring and weighing are all related to maths and scientific scales – and you get to enjoy some delicious cakes as well. There is very little in the world today that is not related in some way to science, technology, engineering and maths. Even if you consider things like art and drama, there can be a STEM element to those too, such as the lights and stage machinery in theatres, and the production of art materials such as pencils and paint in art.
Reasons to take part
- It inspires young minds to explore, build, experiment and create
- It celebrates the best of British science
- There are lots of free resources
- You can network with other local groups
- It’s fun and engaging with a lot of hands-on activities
You can run your own events or find organised events in your area by using the online ScienceLive search engine and these events run all year, all over the country so you don’t have to restrict yourself to the dates of British Science Week.
There are also lots of exciting resource packs on the website that are aimed at different ages including a special one for early years. The theme for the 2022 activity packs is ‘Growth’ and there are some fantastic activities based on this theme, including the growth of animals, buildings and how to grow plants on Mars! There are so many ideas in the packs that you will be running science activities for weeks, and you can also enter a poster competition to win some great prizes. You can also still download packs from previous years too, and if you tag your activities on social media with #BSW22 or @ScienceWeekUK, you can let the organisers see what you’ve been up to.
If you want to run and event, there may be some funding available depending on who you are or who you are aiming to reach. The Kick Start Grant is for schools in challenging circumstances and the Community Grants are for organisations working with audiences who are under-represented in science. You can find more details here.
Whatever you decide to do this March, be it with maths, science, engineering or technology, remember to send us your stories and pictures to email@example.com.
Finally, did you get all the maths references? Answers here:
- XXIII/III is 23/3 in Roman numerals
- 2x24 = 48
- √25 = square root of 25 = 5
- 3.0 x 105 is standard form for 300,000
- (100-2) = 98
- 60” = 60 seconds or 1 minute
- 22 and (15+3) = between 4 and 18
- (3x3) = 9
- MMXXII = 2022