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Adventure camp adds up to a fun way to learn

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Instructor Donal Finn and pupil Phillip Neilen hitting the heights on a giant swing as part of the Connemara-based Maths Academy high-octane approach to explaining the principles of mathematics.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy hears about a novel approach to demystify maths for kids over Summer

Summer holidays are the stuff of dreams for young people and teachers alike. Long days of freedom and, hopefully, sunshine beckon. But the reality for young people and their parents is days and weeks where boredom must be kept at bay. Hence the inexorable rise of summer adventure camps offering courses in everything from sports to drama and technology.

These camps are big business, employing hundreds of third-level students and teachers throughout the summer months.

One of the more unusual offerings comes from the Connemara-based Maths Academy, which runs courses for residential and day students based on the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert maths syllabus.

A summer camp focusing on maths might not sound like a great deal of fun to your average student, but the Connemara Maths Academy has a practical and high-octane approach that promises to take the mystery out of this often loathed subject.

Its tutors take the basic school curriculum and teach it using high ropes, giant swings, kayaking and bog challenges to explain concepts from statistics to trigonometry and algebra, explains Aengus O’Connor of the Academy. Creative media, such as 3D animations, film production and music technology are also part of the course.

This approach is unconventional, but according to Aengus, it works, and he has happy pupils and parents who will testify to that fact.

The adventure and technology activities offered by the Maths Academy are fun but they are not an end in themselves. Rather they are an opportunity to let students explore the maths behind what’s involved in these ventures.

For instance, says Aengus, when students are kayaking, they wear a helmet with a camera on it. This allows them to record footage of themselves in action and then edit into a movie.

While the purpose of their film is to tell a story, it also allows them to explore mathematics.

“It’s how you construct a story and create balance,” Aengus says. “Making a film is about what you start with, and what you add and take away, so this gets people to think about the equation of making a story.”

Students also learn about the maths involved in creating digital photography, as well as the music used for the soundtrack.

In other activities, such as orienteering, they learn about mathematical principals such as co-ordinates, showing where they are on the map.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Unique pilgrim talking the walk

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Breandan will give a talk on his pilgrimage this Sunday evening at Clifden's Station House Theatre with all proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – Breandan Ó Scanaill returned to Clifden last month after a six-month pilgrimage on foot from his home on Beach Road to Santiago de Compostela – a journey of some 3,500km that took him across Ireland, Wales, England, France and Northern Spain. In his final column for  The Connacht Tribune, he reflects on his experiences and the people he met.

Having travelled through Ireland Wales and England, by the time I reached central France in mid-Summer, the temperature was getting hotter by the day.

I’d say it topped 40 degrees on several occasions, but was in the high 30s almost every day.  I managed to keep walking, and found myself thinking of the old song, which I changed one word of, “Mad dogs and Irishmen go out in the mid-day sun”. I probably was mad to be doing this but I was being very careful.  I was drinking around six or seven litres of water each day and anywhere I found water I would pour it over my head.  I also had a light towel around my neck which I kept wet at all times, while my wide-brimmed hat kept the worst of the sun off my head and face.  I would shelter from the heat for an hour or so in the mid-afternoon.

This heat the fires which were raging just ahead of me in France were constant worries and on a number of days the paths were closed and I had to take to small roads to move forward.

One of the hottest and strangest days was just north of Bordeaux.  I was walking in a forest which was not closed but which had warnings about the risk of fire.  It had all the feeling of a Hitchcock film.  Nothing stirred, there was no breeze, no insects, no animals and the heat radiated up from the ground.  The grass and leaves below my feet cracked and broke, they were so dry. I was completely alone and I was fully expecting someone to come emerge from the bushes armed with a large knife.

I finally arrived in Bordeaux to be given the expected bad news, all the trails south were closed and it was against the law for anyone to be found crossing that part of the country. There were a number of reasons for this. One was the obvious risk to life, another was that anyone embarking on these trails was putting the fire fighters’ lives at risk and also taking them away from their main task, which was trying to control the blaze.  A further reason was that as thousands of people had been evacuated, homes were at risk of being looted.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A little girl celebrates Sarsfields’ success in the County Hurling Final in 1997.

1922

The ‘pay-nobodies’

The righteous wrath of members of Galway County Council very properly manifested itself against the “pay nobodies” at the meeting on Saturday last.

“I am quite satisfied,” declared Dr. Walsh, “that numbers of people who defend the policy of not paying rates are thoroughly dishonest.”

Mr. Kennedy said the policy to-day was to pay nobody and the people who were in debt themselves “wanted everybody else to be in the same position”.

Mr. Tierney invoked the dictum of the Irish Hierarchy in regard to the payment of just and lawful debts. Verily, “there are greater thieves than Cacus” – men who have such noble and patriotic notions that, to their mind, national freedom is synonymous with freedom from just and lawful obligations. It is time the people paid their rates and debts and gave up their outworn cant.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Guru to the stars to breathe life into seminar

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Patrick McKeown

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Patrick McKeown has some rather high-profile followers. The Galway clinician – who runs one of the largest breathing schools in the world from his Moycullen clinic – can count Coldplay singer Chris Martin and his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow, the Oscar-winning actress turned lifestyle entrepreneur, as followers.

It was the rock star who made headlines when he gave a copy of Patrick’s book The Oxygen Advantage to cricketer Ollie Robinson after the England team saw Coldplay at Wembley before their Test series against South Africa.

Gwyneth, who has over eight million followers in Instagram, last week posted online that she is using Mytotape, the product Patrick invented in his Moycullen practice which aims to train people to breathe through the nose while sleeping rather than through the mouth.

“This is probably the single best wellness tool I have found recently. Breathing through your nose at night apparently creates alkalinity in the body and promotes best quality sleep,” she exclaimed.

Patrick is one of six speakers at the international Functional Medicine Conference (FMC) held this weekend at the Galway Bay Hotel where doctors and nurses, complementary medicine practitioners and students convene to hear from experts, share experiences and network.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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