Maths Week Scotland for Museums: How to get involved

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Maths Week Scotland works with a range of organisations, including museums, to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with numeracy and mathematics.

Maths Week Scotland 2024 will take place Monday 23 September to Sunday 29 September, and the theme this year is Maths Tales.

There are many low cost ways to get involved. It doesn’t always need to be something big or new, it’s the taking part that counts.

1. Reuse something from previous years

Don’t hesitate to reuse a trail, activity sheets or other resource from previous years, if still relevant. You may have different visitors using it this year, or visitors from last year who may enjoy doing it again.

2. Adapt something you already do

Do you have any regular events or activities, that could be given a maths twist to fit in with Maths Week? This is an easy way to do something new, without any great extra costs or resources.

Here are some examples from the National Museum of Scotland, showing how they adapted their existing programme for Maths Week:

Find Out Friday

The National Museum of Scotland has weekly ‘Find out Fridays’ handling sessions during term time, and adapted this for Maths Week with some maths related objects.

Rhyme Time

The National Museum of Scotland also runs regular early years rhyme time sessions, and adapted these with counting songs for Maths Week last year. Several libraries did the same for their regular Bookbug sessions.

Sensory Sunday

Finally, the National Museum Scotland runs monthly 'Sensory Sundays', a series of new sensory play sessions at the museum for children with additional support needs. Last year, this coincided with Maths Week Scotland, so they made that month's session maths themed.

If your museum runs regular crafting sessions, story time or maybe even a Lego club, these can all be adapted for Maths Week Scotland too. We don't have any examples from museums, but last year we had many libraries taking part which all shared examples. You can find a round up of some of the examples in our 'Maths Week for Libraries' post.

3. Put together a simple trail

Put together a simple maths themed trail or scavenger hunt for your visitors to do during Maths Week. You can make it quite general to avoid overcomplicating things. To keep costs down, you could even just offer it as a download on your website (and the Maths Week Scotland website).

Here are some suggestions:

  • A shape hunt: looking for certain shapes around the museum (can you find something square, circle, triangle shaped etc.)
  • A number hunt: looking for certain numbers around the museum
  • Counting things: how many of specific items can you find around the museum (e.g. lamp posts, doors, statues, animals…depends on your collections)
  • Measuring things with your hands or steps, e.g. how many steps long is something (works well for museums with big objects)
  • Other ideas for questions include finding e.g. 4 objects of the same colour, something smaller than your hand, a repeating pattern, a right angle, something that tells the time, something bigger than you…

Here’s an example of a maths trail the National Museum of Scotland did last year - find the images of Dolly the sheep around the museum, each one with a maths question alongside it:

And here's another example trail from last year, from the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage:

Some other museums and organisations developed trails which are available for download, for example:

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