The Maths Eyes Concept

Maths-EyesMath Eyes is an initiative that was developed by Dr Terry Maguire at the start of the 21st century. The initiative focusses on developing an approach for making real life maths more visible. The first Maths Eyes initiative ‘Looking at Tallaght with Maths Eyes’ took place in June 2011 to coincide with the 18th International Conference Adult Learning Mathematics, which was hosted by the Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland. Since then, many other community initiatives, school activities and collaborative projects based around Maths Eyes have been undertaken. In addition to this, the concept of Maths Eyes as a resource to enhance mathematical numeracy and literacy in schools is currently being disseminated through education centres across the country of Ireland. Hence, it’s evident that the initiative has gathered significant momentum in recent years.


The Maths Eyes Website:

The website has been developed as a resource for Parents, Students, Tutors and Teachers who would like to support and help others to develop their maths eyes. Those running Maths Eyes events are encouraged to contact the Maths Eyes team at so that we can help promote the event via the website, Facebook and Twitter. At the forefront of the Maths Eyes team are Aoife Smith, Ciaran O’Sullivan, Gerard McHugh and Terry Maguire. Any Maths Eyes materials that are developed in local community areas can be added to resources section of the website so that they can be shared with others.


Why is it important to have Maths Eyes?

  • Having Maths Eyes promotes the usefulness of mathematics – everyone has Maths Eyes they just need to be opened. Involves individuals, parents, children, young adolescents, pensioners, teachers, tutors.
  • Having Maths Eyes builds confidence in mathematics.
  • Having Maths Eyes encourages the use of the real world as a starting point for the relevant exploration in the maths world.
  • Having Maths Eyes provides excellent opportunities for linking education (primary, secondary & adult) and community.
  • Having Maths Eyes provides a platform for adults and children to share their Maths Eyes in their everyday life whether they are shopping, walking, driving, at sports events – everywhere. It opens a channel for dialogue about real world mathematics.
  • Maths Eyes provides parents with opportunities to talk about mathematics that are not related to homework.
  • Having Maths Eyes promotes active citizenship and informed decision making.
  • When teachers, and tutors have Maths Eyes they can identify real world starting points for mathematics teaching and learning that are relevant to the social, cultural and educational context of their learners.
  • Developing Maths Eyes helps to create a new inheritance for future generations –‘we are all real world maths people’.
  • Developing Maths Eyes resonates with the philosophy and approach to learning which underpin Project Maths.


Milestones in the Development of Maths Eyes

  • Initial project ‘Looking at Tallaght Through Maths Eyes’ in 2011. Partnership between Institute of Technology Tallaght, South County Dublin Council, South County Dublin Libraries, Dublin West Education Centre.
  • Extended to Inner City Dublin in May 2012 in partnership with the Dublin 8 Community Education Centre and Digital Hub. Website developed to disseminate ideas and resources.
  • Extended to St Dominic’s Campus project (BallyFermot) in September 2012 (this involved 3 primary schools, St Dominic’s Secondary School and parents)
  • Dunlaoighre – Shankill Cluster project 2013. There were 14 schools involved, along with adult and youth centres who developed their Maths Eyes for a celebration. In May 2013 over 800 children completed the Maths trail that they developed collaboratively.
  • The extension of the Maths Eyes approach with GeoGebra free software was promoted (this is a main tool being promoted for use in the new approaches underpinning Project Maths).
  • Professional development of primary, secondary teachers, adult numeracy tutors and home school and community liaison officers is ongoing around the country to help them develop their Maths Eyes.
  • Train the trainer initiative just completed with Dublin West Education Centre.
  • The Maths Eyes project was shortlisted in the Aontas Star Awards 2013 (Leinster Category) ‘for making an outstanding contribution to adult learning’.
  • In 2013 Maths Eyes goes international and is launched in 1000 schools in Austria who ran their own Maths Eyes competition.
  • The project is now being replicated in Scotland, England, New Zealand and Australia and the Washington US.
  • In October 2012, in partnership with Maths Week Ireland, the first ‘Island of Ireland’ Maths Eyes Poster Competition and GeoGebra Competition was organised.
  • The Maths Eyes project is active in around 200 schools and adult education centres nationally.
  • In 2014 Maths Eyes moved from Institute of Technology Tallaght, and is now being led by The National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning, now – The National Centre in STEM Education in the University of Limerick.
  • Evidence – based research has been initiated to investigate the impact of developing Maths Eyes on an individual’s view of mathematics.


The Maths Eyes Competition

Maths Week Ireland is an all-island celebration of mathematics that happens in October every year. In 2012 the Maths Eyes team at Institute of Technology Tallaght teamed up with Maths Week Ireland to extend the successful “Have You Got Maths Eyes” activity across Ireland. There was a great response in the first year and it is encouraging that there was a huge increase in entries in 2013, with more than 600 entries submitted from the Island of Ireland – ranging in categories from under 7 to Adult Education. (This was more than double the entries that were submitted in the first year).

In the 2014 competition the number of entries is still strong with 673 entries submitted. The prize giving and the announcement of the over-all winner in each category will take place on the 23rd April in the morning in the Clock Tower building of the Department of Education and Skills.  Prizes will be presented by Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan TD.

The Maths Eyes competition is a very important part of Maths Week. One of the great things about the Maths Eyes competition is that groups from all around Ireland have access to it and the number of categories makes it very inclusive. It is very important to get people to see maths as part of their daily lives and surroundings rather than something that exists only in a textbook or in school.

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