• about us the team

    What we do

    The aim of the Maths Circles initiative is to foster an enjoyment of mathematics in young people, to stimulate and challenge them, and to further develop their problem-solving skills. The Maths Circles initiative is committed to the long-term development of each participant. It creates a community of support involving student peers, teachers, university students and mathematicians.
    Through the Maths Circles initiative we hope that we all can:
    • Offer an outlet for young students with an interest in Mathematics
    • Improve mathematical abilities in a relaxed, non-classroom environment
    • Engender and foster an enjoyment of Maths for Junior Cycle students
    Maths Circles are designed specifically for students who enjoy mathematics and want the added challenge of exciting topics that are normally outside the school curriculum. Maths Circles promote mathematics in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere through a mixture of puzzles, games and hands-on activities. You can find samples of these activities on our downloads page.
  • Meet The Circles Team

    Who we are

    We are a group of maths and science students and teachers based in Cork who encourage students to study and enjoy maths. The initiative is aimed at students aged from 10 to 18, with a wide ranging set of activities aimed at each age group. Each circle runs once per week for an hour and the lesson plans and activities for the circle are prepared by the student in advance of the circle for that week.

    The Maths Circles project is organised by the Maths Circle Team consisting of:

    • Anca Mustata UCC Maths Dept

    • Andrei Mustata UCC Maths Dept

    • Julie O’Donovan Cork Maths Centre

    • David Goulding UCC Maths Dept

    The entire project would not be possible without the help of the UCC students who have given their time and energy to organise and run the Maths Circles in their respective schools.
  • Active Maths Circles Our current schools

    Following initial discussions in relation to the development of Maths Circles in Cork, we decided to run a four week pilot programme in North Presenation Secondary School in Cork City this year. The Maths Circle was run with the help of undergraduate Mathematics students from UCC. The success of the initial pilot scheme encouraged the organisers to extend the reach of the circle and actively seek to expand the project into other schools. At present there are a number of active Maths Circles running in the Cork Region and their locations are listed below.
    • Douglas Community School – Ciaran O’Conaill, JP McCarthy
    • St. Aidan’s Community College – Joan Hough and Gráinne Walsh
    • Nagle Community College – Ciara Twomey, Kathleen Cronin, Sinead O’Sullivan and Meabh Kennedy
    • Colaiste An Phiarsaigh – Sian Joyce and JP McCarthy
    • Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal – Sean Foley, Joe McEniry and Sinead McCarthy
    • Hamilton High School – Eoghan O’Leary and Aodhan O’Leary
    • Bishopstown Community School – Mary Sheehan, Vahid Yazdanpanah and Phillip O’Mahony
    • Mount Mercy Maths Circle – Mary Cowhig, Ann Sullivan, Sophie Daly and Sophie Scannell
    • Gaelcholáiste Mhuire – Valerie Mulcahy and Eoin O’Mahony
    • St. Mary’s Secondary School, Macroom – Sharon O’Connell and Deirdre Van Der Krogt
    • St. Aloysius – Sarah Moore and Sorcha Gilroy
    • North Presentation School (Pilot Scheme) – Julie O’Donovan, David Goulding, Robert Linehan and Patrick Gorman
    Tell me about the people who run the Circles!
  • Contact us

    our locations

    Maths Circles
    School of Mathematical Sciences
    University College Cork
    Office in Cork:
    Tel: +353 021 420 5852
    Fax: +353 021 420 5364
    E-mail: contact@mathscircles.ie

    Use contact form

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  • Junior Cycle CSN Lessons← back

    These are Maths Circle lessons developed at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh for 1st year secondary school students. Some of the topics overlap with the Junior Cycle Handbook, but there are many new topics meant to introduce new mathematical topics and stimulate students’ curiosity.
    Lesson 1: Parity, MagicFigures, EulerGraphs
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 2: Sums-Chessboards-MagicFigures
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 3: Containers-Matchsticks
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 4: Areas-MontyHall
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 5: Zeno’s Paradox – Tower of Hanoi – Platonic Solids
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 6: Mancala Game-KenKen Puzzle
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 7: Futoshiki Puzzle-4 Colour Problem
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 8: Mobius Band-Dice Probabilities
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 9: Sicherman Dice – Napier Bones
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 10: Sierpinski Triangle – Lights Out
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 11: Pascal’s Triangle
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 12: Counting Illusion-Estimating Pi
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 13: Conic Sections
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 14: Card Tricks
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 15: Fibonacci Numbers- Golden Ratio
    Download (PDF)
    Lesson 16: Patterns – Logic – Continuity
    Download (PDF)
  • Primary School Hamilton Lessons← back

    Download 1 lesson plan about the Mathematics of William Rowan Hamilton here
    Here is the Worksheet for the Hamilton lesson
    These lessons are provided by the Irish Mathematical Trust as part of the series Mathematicians in Our Lives. Don’t forget to Register ! Here are the templates to accompany the Hamilton lesson plan
    Quaternions (PDF)

    Museum Circuits (PDF)
  • Primary School Puzzle Stations← back

    Download 1 lesson plan of Puzzle Stations here
    The Puzzle Stations and Magic Figure lessons were developed by Dr Ronan Flatley for the Irish Mathematical Trust and Maths Circles Ireland.
  • Primary School Magic Figures← back

    Download 1 lesson plan on Magic Figures here
    Here are the Slides for the Magic Figures lesson
  • Primary Schools Fractal Lessons← back

    Download 1 lesson plan on Fractals here
    Here are the Students Worksheet templates for the Fractals lesson
  • Boole2School Lessons← back

    Download here the lesson plan on Boolean Logic for third and fourth classes:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the accompanying 3rd-4th class student worksheet:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the lesson plan on Boolean Logic for fifth and sixth classes:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the accompanying 5th-6th class student worksheet:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the lesson plan on Boolean Logic for 1st-2nd years:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the accompanying 1st-2nd year student worksheet:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the lesson plan on Boolean Logic for 3rd-4th years:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the accompanying 3rd-4th year student worksheet:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the lesson plan on Boolean Logic for 5th-6th years:
    Download (PDF)
    Download here the accompanying 5th-6th year student worksheet:
    Download (PDF)
  • 8 Primary School Lesson Plans← back

    Download a set of 8 lesson plans for Maths Circles in primary schools here
    Each lesson plan can be used for one or two lessons of 40-50 min length.
    Please also look into our Boole2School sections for lesson plans on logic for primary schools students.
  • Junior Cycle Lessons← back

    Download the Maths Circles Handbook for 1st year secondary school students here
    Download (PDF)
  • Geometrical approach to counting← back

  • Number Tricks← back

    What’s Involved?

    Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and divison


    Check out some of the coolest number puzzles and understand how number patterns can be easily manipulated using basic algebra.

    Download! (PDF)
  • Teacher Workshop← back


    “I must thank you and your colleagues and students for a very interesting, informative and enjoyable workshop on Maths Circles. It just shows we are all still learning!” 
    As part of Maths Week 2010 Dr. Anca Mustata from the Mathematics Department in University College Cork spoke on the topic of ‘Maths Circles’ and enrichment programmes, detailing her involvement in such programmes ranging from her time as a student in Romania through to her running of the enrichment programme in UCC of late. Her talk sparked a debate among the audience and raised the possibility of starting ‘Maths Circles’ in schools in the Cork region. Read the blog post  
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Go to our volunteer page for more info!
Games, puzzles and hands-on activities
The best way to learn!
Problem solving skills
Analytic skills and problem solving
Check out our events
Find more information about ongoing events


Maths Circles are designed specifically for students who enjoy mathematics and want the added challenge of exciting topics that are normally outside the school curriculum.

Maths circles allow students the space to develop their problem solving skills in an environment that isn't driven by any goal other than the enjoyment of investigation and discovery.
Over the past year we have developed a book detailing the Maths Circle project. The handbook contains 18 sample lesson plans that can be used for running a Maths Circle within a school. Follow the link below to download your digital copy of the Maths Circles Handbook
The initiative is aimed at developing the mathematical ability of Junior cycle students through weekly interactions with undergraduate college students in a Maths Circle. Maths Circles help develop mathematical capabilities through problem solving and activity-based challenges.

Our upcoming events

Maths Circles are run in association with UCC Mathematics Enrichment Programme, School of Mathematics, University College Cork. The initiative is supported by a grant from the National Academy for Integration of Research,Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL).